When it comes to birth control, you have lots of diverse options. Though it’s always great to have choices, making the best decision can feel overwhelming. That’s where Daniel Esteves, MD, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, can help.
Whether this is your first time choosing birth control or you want to switch to a new method, we take plenty of time to talk about your options and explain the pros and cons of the different contraceptives.
The following contraceptive concerns are the key factors to think about when choosing the best birth control for you.
Of all the questions our patients have about birth control, the first thing most women want to know is how well their contraception prevents pregnancy. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Permanent birth control (tubal ligation): nearly 100% effective
- Intrauterine device: nearly 100% effective
- Implantable rods: nearly 100% effective
- Birth control pills, shots, patches, and rings: 91-99% effective
- Diaphragm with spermicide: 88-94% effective
- External (male) condoms: 85-98% effective
- Internal (female) condoms: 79-95% effective
Why are some effectiveness ratings a sure thing, while others fall in a range? It comes down to user diligence.
Birth control methods that require you to do something on a daily or weekly basis — or that you must use in the heat of the moment — depend on your diligence for their effectiveness.
If you forget to take a pill, fail to replace a patch or ring at the prescribed time, or occasionally skip using a condom or diaphragm, their effectiveness takes a dive to the lower range.
By comparison, you don’t need to worry about your birth control on a daily, weekly, or situational basis when it’s implanted inside your body. That brings us to the next issue that factors into birth control decisions: convenience.
The most convenient methods, called long-lasting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), are also the most effective. We insert your contraceptive device during an appointment in our office and then it continuously prevents pregnancy for 3-10 years.
Your LARC choices include:
- Hormonal IUDs – last 3-5 years
- Copper IUD – lasts 10 years
- Implantable rods – last 3 years
LARCs are just as effective as getting a tubal ligation, but they’re completely reversible. We can remove them at any time using a quick and easy in-office procedure. As soon as the device is gone, you can get pregnant.
Effect on your health
Before you decide which type of birth control is best for you, we perform a well-woman exam. We review your medical history and complete a breast and pelvic exam to determine if you have any health concerns that rule out a specific type of birth control.
Most women can choose from all the different contraceptive options, but there are some gynecological and general medical conditions that can affect your decision.
For example, a pelvic infection temporarily rules out an IUD. And chances are you need to avoid hormone-containing contraceptives if you have high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, or a history of thromboembolism or breast cancer.
All types of birth control have a small risk of side effects. We explain the possible concerns for the methods you might want to choose.
On the other hand, some birth control methods can improve gynecological problems. Birth control pills and some IUDs reduce abnormal bleeding and relieve cramps.
External and internal condoms are the only types of birth control that can lower your risk of getting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you’re concerned about STDs but also want a more effective or convenient method of birth control, you might want to consider dual protection and use a condom together with another contraceptive.
If you need help deciding about birth control, call our office or request an appointment online today. We’re here to help you navigate your choices.