Types Of Birth Control Methods: All Pros And Cons

types of birth control

Introduction

Birth control, or contraception, is any method used to prevent pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control options like condoms, IUDs, birth control pills, and sterilization. Your choice of birth control method depends on various factors like:

  • Current health condition
  • Desire to have children in the future
  • Need to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs)
  • The budget you are working with
  • Your ability to use something on a schedule

Different types of birth control methods will cater to the required factors differently. It is up to you to pick what is most important to you.

Types Of Birth Control

The different types of birth control method are:

Male Condom

A male condom is a thin, rubber sheath that is placed over an erect penis. It acts as a barrier that keeps semen and other body fluids from entering the vagina, rectum, or mouth during sex. Therefore, helping prevent pregnancy and STDs.

A male condom has a 98% success rate at preventing pregnancy if used correctly. This means that 2 out of 100 women whose partners always use a condom correctly will get pregnant every year. If not used correctly, the number rises to 18 out of 100 women. Additionally, a male condom also greatly reduces the risk of getting an STI from your partner during any sexual activity.

Moreover, condoms are easy to acquire as they don’t require any prescription or a visit to a health professional. They can be bought from drugstores, family planning clinics, and several other places.

Pros Of Male Condoms

Using external condoms while having sex has many benefits. A few of those advantages are:

  • Most effective protection against STDs
  • Easily available and inexpensive
  • Do not affect the future fertility of either a woman or a man
  • Variety of options to choose from
  • Easy to use

Since condoms are widely available without prescriptions, they are a great birth control option to consider.

Cons Of Male Condoms

While using an external condom has multiple benefits, it has a few disadvantages too. They are:

  • Might dull sexual sensation
  • Sometimes considered as an interruption during foreplay
  • Can break or leak
  • Failure rates are higher as compared to other birth control options
  • Some people can be allergic to latex (the material condoms are usually made of)

However, there are many other types of birth control options to choose from if the disadvantages of condoms are holding you back from using them.

Female Condoms

Female condoms are condoms that can be inserted into the vagina or anus to act as a barrier against body fluids and semen when a penis is inserted during sex. Moreover, female condoms even prevent the risk of getting STIs from your sexual partner.

Female condoms have a 95% success rate at preventing pregnancies when used correctly. Moreover, they are easily available and can be bought without a prescription.

Pros Of Female Condoms

Besides having a 95% effectiveness rate, female condoms have more advantages such as:

  • No serious side effects
  • Can be worn for up to 8 hours before intercourse
  • Affordable
  • Does not contain latex

Since this device covers a larger area than a male condom, it can provide extra protection against STIs for the labia, perineum, and the base of the penis.

Cons Of Female Condoms

Like all other types of birth control options, even female condoms have some disadvantages. They are:

  • Can be uncomfortable to place
  • Might get pushed far into the vagina during sex
  • Sexual sensation might be reduced
  • Allergic reaction is a possibility

Lastly, you need to get used to wearing a female condom during sex. With a little practice, it might seem easier and more comfortable to use than when you initially started.

Birth Control Pill

Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, are medicines taken by mouth to prevent pregnancy. They are effective at preventing pregnancy 99% of the time when used correctly. There are two types of birth control pills:

1. Combination Pills

  • These pills contain both estrogen and progestin
  • Most pills in each cycle contain hormones
  • There are several options to choose from

2. Progestin-Only or Mini Pills

  • These pills only contain progestin without estrogen
  • They’re a good option for women who can’t take estrogen because of health or other reasons

Depending on your preference, you can take the pill which meets your requirements.

Pros Of Birth Control Pills

The advantages of birth control pills include:

  • Does not interrupt sex
  • Can reduce the duration of your period and reduce the intensity of cramps
  • Reduces the risk of uterine cancer
  • Reduces symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome)

If you remember to take the pill regularly, it is one of the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy.

Cons Of Birth Control Pills

Besides the fact that remembering to take the pill every day can be hard, there are more disadvantages to it, like:

  • May cause temporary side effects like nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness
  • Can increase your blood pressure
  • Does not protect against STIs
  • Not as easily available as it is a prescription medicine
  • Linked to increasing the risk of health conditions like blood clots and breast cancer

Serious problems with birth control pills are very rare. However, if you face any of the mentioned side effects for prolonged periods it is best to talk to your doctor.

Birth Control Patch

A birth control patch or a transdermal patch is a form of contraception that helps prevent pregnancy by sending hormones into your skin. It has the same effectiveness as a birth control pill and works the same way too.

The birth control patch cannot be bought without a prescription. However, it is easy to use. You just need to stick the patch on an area of your upper belly, shoulder, upper back, upper arm, or buttock. As long as you remember to change the patch according to the schedule, you’re good to go!

Pros Of Birth Control Patch

The advantages of using birth control patches are:

  • Allows sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex
  • Doesn’t need to be taken every day
  • Reduced duration of your period and reduced cramps
  • May protect against ovarian cancer

Unlike the pill, birth control patches don’t require you to follow a strict schedule, thus, making them a good alternative for the pill.

Cons Of Birth Control Patch

Patches might not be the best choice for everyone because:

  • No protection against STIs
  • Might cause side effects like nausea, headache, and breast tenderness
  • They’re visible and might become loose or fall off
  • Might cause itching and skin irritation where applied
  • In rare cases, might cause blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes

It is very unlikely for patches to cause any serious problem. However, if you’re over 35 or a smoker, they may not be the best choice for you.

Vaginal Ring

A vaginal ring is a small, soft plastic ring that you place inside your vagina to prevent pregnancy. It works by releasing a continuous dose of estrogen and progesterone into your body.

A vaginal ring can be inserted by yourself and left in the vagina for three weeks. Even though it requires a prescription for usage, it has a 99% effectiveness when used correctly.

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Pros Of Vaginal Ring

Besides the convenience of not having to set daily reminders to take the pill, the vaginal ring has many other benefits like:

  • Doesn’t require a personalized fitting
  • Safe for women with latex allergies
  • Less likely to cause irregular bleeding as compared to pills
  • Works well even if you have vomiting or diarrhoea

Moreover, you can discontinue the use of the ring any time you want to try for a child.

Cons Of Vaginal Ring

There are some reasons the vaginal ring might not be the best option for you, like:

  • Does not protect against STIs
  • May cause vaginal irritation, infections or both
  • Can cause side effects like headaches, bloating, nausea, and mood changes

Additionally, a few women might find inserting or wearing the ring uncomfortable.

Conclusion

Even besides the options listed above, there are many other types of birth control methods like a birth control shot, copper intrauterine device, implant, etc. Even certain lifestyle habits like practising abstinence, outercourse, and fertility awareness methods are possible ways to prevent pregnancy altogether.

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