Blog

Contraception Methods - Pros and Cons

There are many different types of contraception, and they vary in how effective they are at preventing pregnancy, how much they cost, how easy they are to use, and whether they also protect against sexually transmitted infection (STI). Together, you and your partner should figure out the best choice for the two of you. Whatever type of contraception one of you uses can influence the health of both people in the relationship. 

As with most things, there are pros and cons to all forms of contraception. Here are some of the most commonly used forms of birth control and their benefits and downfalls:

Birth Control Pill (*Success Rate with Typical Use: 91%)

Pros

  • Very effective against pregnancy if used correctly
  • Makes menstrual periods more regular and lighter
  • Decreases menstrual cramps and acne
  • Makes you less likely to get ovarian and uterine cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, and anemia
  • Doesn’t interrupt sexual activity

Cons

  • Doesn’t protect against STIs
  • Depending on your insurance, your birth control may be free or there may be a co-pay.
  • Need to remember to take every day at the same time
  • Can’t be used by women with certain medical problems or by women taking certain medications
  • Can occasionally cause side effects such as nausea, increased appetite, headaches, and, very rarely, blood clots
  • Need a prescription
  • Still need condoms to lower the risk of STIs

Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) (*Success Rate with Typical Use: 99%)

Pros

  • Very effective against pregnancy
  • Provide protection against pregnancy if in place in your uterus- protects as soon as inserted (so don’t need to remember to use contraception if you have sexual intercourse)
  • Doesn’t need daily attention- just need to check to make sure in place at least once a month at time of menstrual period
  • Comfortable- you and your partner cannot feel the IUD, although you partner may feel the string
  • The levonorgestrel IUD (Mirena, Skyla) lessens menstrual flow and can be used to treat heavy periods
  • Can be removed at any time and you can get pregnant right after removal

Cons

  • Doesn’t protect against STIs and shouldn’t be selected if high risk of STI
  • Needs to be inserted by a health care provider
  • Can fall out or can rarely puncture the uterus
  • The copper IUD can have side effects such as menstrual cramping, longer and/or heavier menstrual periods, and spotting between menstrual periods
  • Slightly higher risk for infection in the first 20 days after insertion

Hormonal Implants (*Success Rate with Typical Use: 99%)

Pros

  • Long-term method of birth control (protects against pregnancy for 3 years after insertion–it can be removed by a health care provider when you want, or you can wait for 3 years when it’s time for a change of implant)
  • Very effective against pregnancy
  • May cause light or no menstrual periods

Cons

  • Doesn’t protect against STIs
  • Requires minor surgery and insertion of the tiny rod(s) underneath the skin
  • Requires minor surgery to remove device
  • Can cause side effects such as irregular menstrual periods, depression, nervousness, hair loss, and weight gain
  • Could get infection at area where capsule is implanted
  • Can’t be used by women with certain medical conditions and by women who use certain medications

These are only a few of the contraceptive methods available. If you are interested in starting, changing, or exploring your options for birth control, schedule an appointment with any of our doctors. We can help you find the right solution that fits your unique needs.

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