Unhappy With Your Current Form of Birth Control?

By Larissa Beecher with Katie Beecher

Here is some information on options and effectiveness that you might not be aware of

When people consider their birth control options, they often just think about the pill, condoms, or the withdrawal method (pulling out).  However, there are many other different forms of contraceptives!  They are organized into two groups – hormonal and non-hormonal.  Therefore, if your body does not like artificial hormones, or if you do not want to change your hormones, then you are not limited to only condoms.  If you would like more information, I recommend bedsider.org.  I would also urge you to look into the side effects of each method and see how it may positively (i.e. reduce acne, lighter periods) or negatively (i.e. weight gain, lethargy, nausea) effect your body.


Pill: When used perfectly >99% effective, usual use (skipping pills sometimes) 91% effective; must take it every day

Intrauterine devices (IUD): > 99% effective; placed into the uterus for 3-5 years and forget about it. There is also a copper, non-hormonal IUD but copper toxicity can produce side effects like headaches, anxiety, depression, issues with sleep, hypothyroid, allergies, anemia, hair loss and more. Everyone who uses a copper IUD may not have side effects, but if you are sensitive, the risks are real and I know of clients who have had to discontinue use. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/holistic-psychiatry/201709/copper-toxicity-common-cause-psychiatric-symptoms

Nuvaring: When used perfectly >99% effective, usual use 91% effective; place it inside for three weeks and take it out for a week to get your period.  May increase the risk of negative side effects related to tobacco use

Patch: When used perfectly >99% effective, usual use 91% effective; change it once a week, may be less effective if you weigh more than 198 pounds

Shot: When used perfectly >99% effective, usual use 94% effective; one large dose of hormones that last three months

Implant: >99% effective; implanted into the inside of your arm and lasts three to five years depending on the brand. It can be removed if you are not happy with the effects


Condoms: Perfect use 98%, usual use 82%; also reduces the transmission of STIs

Internal (female) condoms: Perfect use 95%, usual use 79%; placed inside of the vagina before intercourse, reduces the transmission of STIs

Sponge: Perfect use 80-91%, usual use 76-88%; placed inside of the vagina with spermicide up to 24 hours before intercourse

Cervical cap: Usual use 71-86%, placed inside the vagina with spermicide up to 6 hours before intercourse

Spermicide: Perfect use 82%, usual use 72%; a sperm-altering cream, when used alone the failure rate is quite high

There is also the calendar rhythym method or ovulation tracking method, where you keep track of ovulation and abstain from sexual intercourse before, during and for a certain time after ovulation. You can use an ovulation kit to help determine when you are ovulating. This is tricky because menstrual cycles are not always the same length, therefore it is estimated to be accurate only 80 to 87% of the time.

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