Understanding Your Birth Control Options

A woman at doctor's appointment being consulted by a gynecologist.

Everyone is unique, and so is every phase of a person’s life. During the times when you do not want to become pregnant, birth control is an essential tool in your life-management toolbox. While most people think of oral contraceptives as the default family planning option, this is far from the case. When you want to prevent pregnancy, you have a host of both hormonal and non-hormonal options from which to choose.

What is the Difference Between Hormonal and Non-Hormonal Birth Control?

There are two categories when it comes to contraception, and all options fall under one or the other: hormonal birth control or non-hormonal birth control.

Options for non-hormonal birth control are largely made up of the front-line drugstore interventions like barrier methods, though copper IUD placement and permanent tubal ligation are included as well. Things like cervical caps, diaphragms, spermicides and condoms help to prevent pregnancy without hormonal interference. Many barrier methods also provide STI protection, which is important to remember as the conversation shifts to hormonal birth control.

On the hormonal side of contraception is where you’ll find things like birth control pills, vaginal rings, patches, injections and hormonal IUD devices. These all provide protection against pregnancy with very high effectiveness rates, but they do not provide any protection from sexually transmitted infections. Hormonal birth control can also be a go-to option for regulating irregular periods, reducing menstrual pain and the likelihood of ovarian cysts.

Should I Use Hormonal or Non-Hormonal Birth Control?

Just like there are no two bodies that are exactly the same, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question. For some patients, the birth control aspect of some hormonal interventions can be secondary motivators, while improving menstrual experiences, treating acne and mitigating painful cysts take a front seat. For other patients, preventing pregnancy is the only and most important goal.

What works best for you, your body and your lifestyle depends on many factors. Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A. offers not only a variety of contraception options, but also compassionate and considerate care that takes all your concerns into account. Call or contact Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A. today to schedule an appointment to discuss the pros and cons of all birth control methods and find the one best suited to your unique needs.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Carlos Alarcon, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.