Understanding Your Birth Control Options

If your goal is to prevent pregnancy, the good news is that you have plenty of options. In fact, you might find the sheer number of choices overwhelming.

At Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen and our compassionate staff of women’s health care experts offer birth control options that suit every lifestyle and goal.

To help you better determine which birth control option is right for you, here are a few things you should know.

Many approaches to birth control

The most common birth control options can be divided into three categories:

Barrier methods

Barrier birth control methods are those that prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing your eggs. 

The most common forms of barrier birth control methods include:

The last item on this list is a surgical procedure, and one you should only consider when you’re sure you don’t want any more children.

Hormonal methods

This approach to birth control regulates your hormones to regulate your ovulation. When it comes to this method, your decision largely boils down to delivery method, which includes oral pills, patches, implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), vaginal rings, and injections.

Natural methods

If you’d prefer a more natural approach to birth control, you can try abstinence, fertility awareness, or outercourse.

Ease of use

Another point to consider is ease of use. For example, if you choose an oral contraceptive, you need to remember to take your daily pill, as skipping even one or two pills can lower your protection rate considerably. In these cases, you may want to explore an IUD or an implant, which don’t require daily attention.

As another example, using sponges or diaphragms with spermicide is effective, but you need to make sure that you optimize their efficacy by using them correctly. If you use a sponge or diaphragm without applying spermicide, for instance, you leave yourself open to pregnancy.

Our point here is that you need to be realistic about your ability to use the birth control properly and choose one that best fits your lifestyle. Rest assured, we can always change methods if you find yourself struggling.

What type of protection

While preventing an unwanted pregnancy may be your primary goal, you may also want protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If this is one of your goals, there are only two methods that accomplish this: condoms and abstinence. Of these two, condoms can still break, so abstinence is really the only way to ensure full protection against STDs.

Efficacy rates

Another important consideration are efficacy rates. There are several options that offer 99% effectiveness, such as a birth control implant or IUD, while others hover in the 70-90% ranges, including diaphragms, spermicide, and cervical caps. 

To get a clear picture of your protection rates, we recommend clicking here for a complete rundown of the birth control options and their efficacy rates.

If you have more questions about your options in birth control, please contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, to schedule a consultation.

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