The pill might be the most well-known birth control option available, but it’s far from the only option. Hormonal birth control includes the pill, ring, patch, implant, and some intrauterine devices (IUDs). They prevent ovulation or change conditions in the uterus to make pregnancy less likely.
Hormonal birth control is often very effective at preventing pregnancy, but it can come with side effects, such as weight gain and mood swings. Nor does hormonal contraception protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And, if you take the pill, you have to remember to take it at the same time every day.
Patricia Nevils, MD, and our team at Vibrant Woman Health Center know that finding the birth control that’s right for your body and your lifestyle is a personal decision and that hormonal options aren’t always the best choice. We offer a range of contraception solutions for women of all ages, including non-hormonal options.
If you don’t want to use hormonal birth control methods for personal or medical reasons, learn more about your options here.
Barrier methods of birth control
Barrier methods get their name because they physically stop sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. To be effective, barrier methods must be used correctly every time you have sex. Depending on your sexual habits, barrier methods can be a good option for non-hormonal birth control.
Condoms are a popular option for birth control, and they’re the most effective way to protect against the spread of STDs. Male and female condoms are available, depending on your preferences.
It’s important to wear a condom every time you have sex if you’re using it for birth control. When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Plastic foam contraceptive sponges are placed inside the vagina before you have sex. Most sponges come with spermicide, which kills sperm before it can reach an egg. The sponge method may be less effective for women who have previously given birth.
A diaphragm is a small, removable silicone cup that fits into the vagina. It prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm from entering your uterus. Getting a diaphragm requires getting fitted at the doctor’s office.
Spermicide improves the efficacy of most barrier methods. It’s a chemical that comes in a gel, foam, or cream, and it kills sperm. Be sure to follow product guidelines if using spermicide, and talk to Dr. Nevils if you notice skin irritation or discomfort with use.
Copper intrauterine device (IUD)
The copper IUD has the convenience of many forms of hormonal contraception, but it’s hormone-free. Copper naturally repels sperm, so the IUD blocks sperm from reaching an egg and stops fertilized eggs from implanting in the lining of the uterus.
The copper IUD is one of the most effective non-hormonal birth control options available. Some women find that the copper IUD makes their periods heavier or more painful, but symptoms can lessen over time. Copper IUDs may cause serious side effects, so talk to our team to learn about the risks and benefits to find out if it’s a good birth control option for you.
Natural family planning
It’s possible to track your menstrual cycle and avoid sex on your most fertile days to reduce your chances of getting pregnant. Most women’s menstrual cycles last 26-32 days, and ovulation — the time when an egg is released to be fertilized — is somewhere in between.
The only time during your menstrual cycle that you can get pregnant is during ovulation. By tracking your menstrual cycle, you can determine when you’re ovulating and avoid sex on those days. There are even phone apps available that can make it easier to track your cycle.
If you don’t like taking hormones or you can’t for medical reasons, a non-hormonal option could be right for you. Non-hormonal birth control is also a popular option for women who need birth control only occasionally.
Talk to Dr. Nevils to find out more about your options for contraception. Together, you can find a birth control method that fits with your lifestyle. Call us at (337) 234-6838 or request your appointment online today. You can also send a message to Dr. Nevils and the team here on our website.