When it comes to birth control, Westmed Family Healthcare offers numerous ways to help you prevent pregnancy. But, each option comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. So how can you choose the right one for you? These five questions can help you and your health care provider select the perfect birth control for your unique situation.
How effective is it?
Not all birth control is equal when it comes to pregnancy prevention. The most reliable forms of birth controls are 99% or more effective, such as:
- Sterilization, including tubal ligation and vasectomy
Additional birth controls that are over 90% effective include the birth control shot, vaginal ring, the patch, and birth control pills.
Does it protect against sexually transmitted diseases?
When it comes to protecting your health against sexually transmitted diseases, latex condoms are your best option.
Male and female condoms are a barrier method of birth control that prevents sperm from reaching your egg. While condoms are only 85% effective against pregnancy prevention, this barrier method is the best way to protect yourself from HIV and other STD infection. Condoms are available without a prescription.
If you have multiple sexual partners—or a single sexual partner who has multiple partners—condoms play a crucial role in your reproductive health.
What kind of side effects can it have?
Many forms of birth control use hormones to prevent pregnancy, which can lead to a variety of side effects, both good and bad.
Some birth controls can improve your skin and make your menstrual cycle more reliable while reducing cramps and bleeding at the same time. Your provider may also recommend birth control to treat medical conditions like endometriosis, anemia, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
In other cases, birth control can cause unpleasant side effects like:
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Bleeding between periods
- Heavy menstrual flow
Hormone-based birth control can also come with increased health risks if you’re older than 35 or smoke.
Your Westmed Family Healthcare provider can help you select the best birth control option based on their potential side effects and your overall health.
Is it reversible?
When thinking about pregnancy prevention, it’s essential to think about your reproductive plans for the future.
Some forms of birth control, like sterilization, are considered a permanent solution to preventing pregnancy. While sterilization may be reversible, it can be a difficult process that doesn’t guarantee restored fertility.
Other forms of birth control, such as The Pill, are easier to stop but can take six months or longer for pregnancy to occur. When you use barrier methods like condoms, there are no physical or hormonal changes in your body, so you can become pregnant immediately.
Prescription birth control options that offer the fastest return to fertility include implants like Nexplanon® placed in your upper arm and IUDs (intrauterine devices). When your Westmed Family Healthcare provider removes these birth control devices during an office visit, your fertility should return within a month.
Will it fit my lifestyle and personality?
Your birth control is only effective if you use it correctly. That means selecting a method that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and personality.
Many types of birth controls require regular attention. You have to take The Pill on a daily basis, apply birth control patches weekly, or insert a new Nuvaring® vaginally once a month. If you use condoms, you need to use them every time you have sex.
Many women enjoy the ease and convenience of IUDs and birth control implants. Your Westmed Family Healthcare provider inserts these devices during an office visit and, depending on your device, they remain in place for 3-12 years. Because these methods don’t require any action from you once in place, there’s no human error in pregnancy prevention.
For more information on which birth control is right for you, call Westmed Family Healthcare in Westminster, Colorado, or schedule an appointment online.