Tahoe Women's Care
Gary Willen, MD, MBA
Gynecologist located in Carson City, NV
With all the options available, it can be difficult to navigate birth control. Gary F. Willen, MD, takes a shared decision-making approach to birth control, offering his best guidance according to each woman’s values and needs. Dr. Willen and his staff at Tahoe Women’s Care can help steer you in the right direction. If you want help weighing your birth control options, contact the Carson City, Nevada, location to schedule an appointment with Dr. Willen. Dr. Willen also services the surrounding communities of Southlake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Minden, and Gardnerville.
Birth Control Q & A
What birth control options do I have?
Birth control comes in many physical and chemical forms. There are hormonal and non-hormonal options, as well as various permanent and temporary solutions. Some common forms of birth control include:
The three categories of temporary birth control include hormonal, barrier, and behavioral methods. Hormonal birth control changes a woman’s body chemistry to prevent fertilization. Hormonal birth control options include the pill, some IUDs, implants, patches, and injections.
Barrier methods of birth control are meant to block the sperm from reaching the egg. Condoms, sponges, spermicide, diaphragms, cervical caps, and cervical shields create a physical barrier between the sperm and egg.
Behavioral birth control methods include the pull-out method and fertility tracking. These methods are less effective than hormonal or barrier birth control, but, when done correctly, can provide some protection against pregnancy.
Permanent birth control options include hysterectomy, sterilization implant, and tubal ligation. These treatments involve either removing or blocking your reproductive organs. These are the most effective birth control methods, aside from abstinence.
Which birth control methods are the most effective?
Aside from abstinence, the most effective birth control is the one that works best for you. A birth control pill that you regularly forget to take might not be as effective as an IUD, for example.
It’s important to discuss your lifestyle habits and concerns with Dr. Willen to choose the most effective birth control for you.
From there, you can explore which birth control options offer the most reliability. Here’s a list of birth control methods, ranked from most effective to least:
- Permanent methods: hysterectomy, tubal ligation, and sterilization implant
- Hormonal implant
- Progestin and copper IUD
- Vaginal rings and patches
- Pill and mini pill
- Diaphragm and spermicide
- Withdrawal and fertility tracking
- Sponge with spermicide
- Cervical cap with spermicide
What options do I have for emergency contraception?
Although you shouldn’t use emergency contraception as regular birth control, it provides a backup measure if your regular birth control fails (i.e. a condom breaks, forgotten pills). Your first option is the morning-after pill, which helps prevent your egg from either leaving the ovary, becoming fertilized, or attaching to the uterine lining.
You can also use the copper IUD (Paragard®) to prevent pregnancy. It’s the most effective form of emergency contraception if placed within five days of having unprotected sex. You can then use it as long-term birth control, as it offers 10 years of pregnancy protection.
If you’d like to discuss your birth control options with Dr. Willen, make an appointment online or by phone.
*Individual results may vary
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