There are so many different types of birth control that you may feel a little overwhelmed when deciding which one is right for you.
Some birth control methods use hormones to prevent conception. These hormone-based birth control methods provide very effective protection from pregnancy.
However, you may be wondering whether birth control without hormones might offer you a safer alternative.
Before you can choose the right birth control for you – whether it’s hormone-based or hormone-free – you need expert advice from medical professionals who understand your personal health profile, your sex life, and your family-planning goals.
Here at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, our all-female team of women’s health specialists can help you make a safe, healthy choice that is best and safest for your body and your life.
Hormonal vs. nonhormonal birth control
Hormonal birth control methods prevent pregnancy through the use of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These include the birth control pill, implants, injections, patches, and vaginal rings. Some types of IUDs also contain hormones.
Nonhormonal birth control methods help you avoid pregnancy by preventing sperm and egg from meeting or by preventing conception from occurring. These include male and female condoms, one type of IUD, diaphragms, cervical caps, and contraceptive products such as sponges. Surgical procedures also count as nonhormonal forms of birth control.
Benefits of hormonal birth control methods
Hormonal birth control methods can be very effective. For example, implantable hormonal birth control is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancies, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Hormonal birth control can also be simpler to use than nonhormonal methods. Having an implant that lasts for several years or taking a pill every day, for example, is easier than remembering to put your diaphragm in before sex or making sure to always carry condoms in your purse.
What’s more, hormonal birth control may provide relief for certain menstrual symptoms. Some women who experience heavy periods or severe PMS find that hormonal birth control can lead to lighter, shorter, less painful periods.
Downsides of hormonal birth control methods
Hormonal birth control does have some potential downsides. For example, using hormonal birth control can cause side effects in some women. These may include:
- Bleeding between periods
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of blood clots and high blood pressure (especially for smokers)
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Sore breasts
- Spotting between periods
- Weight gain
Another important downside of hormonal birth control methods is that they do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HPV, herpes, HIV, chlamydia, and syphilis. If you have multiple partners or if you have sex with someone with multiple partners, using hormonal birth control alone may not be safe for you.
Only male and female condoms can protect you from STDs. However, condoms are only about 80% effective at preventing pregnancy. Women who want to optimize for both pregnancy prevention and STD protection may choose a dual protection approach, which means they may use both a hormonal birth control method and a condom.
Making the choice that’s right for you
As you can see, many considerations go into deciding which birth control to use, and whether to opt for hormonal vs. nonhormonal methods. No one form of birth control is best for every woman.
Here at Women’s Health Care of Princeton, we can help you make the birth control choice that’s right for you. To set up a consultation with one of our caring providers, please call our clinic in Princeton, New Jersey, at 609-246-5541 or schedule an appointment using our online booking tool.