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Thanks to technology and medical advancements over the past couple of years, sexually active people now have a considerably wide range of birth control methods at their disposal. However, while all methods are meant to achieve the same goal, they don’t all work the same way. Here are a few crucial factors to pay attention to when choosing a birth control method:
1. Whether or not you want kids in future
While most birth control methods are temporary, some are permanent. The permanent options may prove cheaper and more reassuring for someone who has made up their mind about not having children at all. Note that some of the permanent options, such as vasectomy in men, need to be conducted by a reputable surgeon, as procedural oversights can lead to reversal complications in case you later change your mind about having kids. DrSnip is an example of a vasectomy practice that pays attention to that and uses the no-needle technique—a popular choice among men.
2. Ease of use
Given that some of the most popular birth control methods require regular injections or pills, you might want to ensure you choose an option that won’t prove to be an inconvenience over the period of use. Ideally, this consideration should be made after narrowing down your list of options based on effectiveness, side effects, and risks.
3. Protection against sexually transmitted infections
Pills, injections, patches, and vasectomies are all tested-and-tried birth control techniques, but only condoms can prevent STIs such as herpes, chlamydia, and HIV. If you have more than one partner or are wary of getting an infection via sex, condom use is the way to go. You can supplement it with a birth control method such as oral contraception for good measure.
Birth control can cost as low as two dollars, or as high as $6,000, depending on the method you choose. You might want a method at the pricey end of the spectrum, such as sterilization surgery, but that is only possible if you can afford it. If you are operating on a tight budget, one of the cheaper options might work for you as long as you use it per your healthcare provider’s instructions.
Age is often overlooked when choosing a birth control method, but that’s usually because it doesn’t hold as much significance when compared to popular contraceptives. However, if you have reached menopause or suspect you have, it is best to keep away from hormone-based pills as they might pose health risks. You may also need to approach contraception with caution if you have health problems or are on medication. Some medications may lower the potency of birth control pills or cause adverse effects.
6. Side effects
Like most medications and medical procedures, several birth control methods have some risk of complications and side effects. While most of these side effects are temporary and minor, they can sometimes have devastating effects. For instance, hormonal birth control might lead to changes in your mood, menstrual period, and weight, among other aspects of your health. Using a copper IUD may result in heavier and more painful menstrual periods. You should consult your pharmacist or doctor to learn more about the potential risks of various contraceptives. Sometimes your medical history may increase the risk of certain complications.
It’s important to remember that birth control methods only help to lower your chances of getting pregnant; they don’t prevent it entirely. However, there are some birth control methods that are almost 100% effective. They include:
● Birth control implant
● Hormonal or copper intrauterine device (IUD)
● Surgical sterilization
Every one of these methods is more than 99% effective. Other effective birth control methods include:
● Skin patch (91%)
● Control pills (91%)
● Vaginal ring (91%)
● Birth control shot (94%)
In comparison, condoms are only 85% effective, but they are the only birth control method that can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
8. Underlying health conditions
Some birth control methods may be unsafe for you if you have some underlying health conditions. Hormonal-based birth control increases your risk of heart disease if you are a smoker and over 35 years. You should also avoid hormonal-based birth control if you have a history of active liver disease, blood clots, and breast or uterine cancer. Be sure to inform your doctor about your health conditions before using birth control methods.
If you are breastfeeding, your chances of getting pregnant are low, but you may still need some type of birth control. If that’s the case, you will need to choose a method that won’t affect your breast milk.
10. Religious beliefs and moral values
Your religious beliefs and moral values can affect your choice of birth control method. If you are religiously or morally opposed to certain birth control methods, you can opt for natural birth control methods. The most popular natural birth control methods include withdrawal and avoiding sex where the egg is available to be fertilized by a sperm. While these methods are cost-effective and have no risk of complications or side effects, they are difficult to use correctly. They are not very effective birth control methods.
11. Additional benefits
Apart from preventing pregnancy, some birth control methods offer additional benefits. Some of these benefits include more predictable, lighter menstrual cycles, minimized risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, and decreased risks of some types of cancer. These additional benefits may influence your choice of birth control method if they are important to you.
The number of birth control methods for both men and women keeps increasing by the day. This means you have a wider range of options and have an increased chance of finding something that fits your budget and delivers the goods, but it also means you may have a hard time choosing one due to the many options. Make sure to keep the above factors in mind when making your contraception decision. Most importantly, prioritize your health and comfort.