It’s an amazing time to be alive – self-driving cars are being tested, CoverGirl and Star Wars are collaborating on a make-up line, and there are over a dozen different methods of effective birth control. Never before has it been easier to have safe, hot sex, and carafem is delighted to offer a whole range of effective, modern contraceptives to keep you healthy and satisfied. Whether or not you’ve used birth control before, today’s post is a guide to help you figure out whether you want to start or switch to a method that does exactly what you want, when you want it!
Let’s get started!
Generally speaking, there are two broad categories of birth control – methods that use hormones, and methods that don’t. Of the hormonal methods, birth control pills (also called oral contraceptives) are the most widely used and the best-known. However, there are many different methods that you can choose from, depending on how often you want to think about it, how much effort it takes to use, and even how discreet it is.
Ugh, I don’t want to worry about taking a pill every day!
No problem, girl – lots of people don’t like having to remember taking a pill every day, at the same time. Luckily, you still have lots of options: the NuvaRing is a small, flexible ring that sits around your cervix, and you only have to switch it out every week. Similarly, the patch is a method that you can slap onto your body (usually on the shoulder, stomach, or thigh), and only need to replace it weekly, as well. If even dealing with your birth control every week sounds frustrating, then maybe consider Depo-Provera. Depo is a birth control shot that you get every three months, which means you’d only need to go to a clinic once a season to get your birth control needs covered!
But I seriously never want to think about my birth control – is there any way to set it and forget it?!
Actually, yes! Nexplanon is a small implant that releases hormones and is effective for three years. If you want to go even longer, consider a hormonal IUC (intra-uterine contraceptive, formerly known as an IUD). If you are super-certain that you never want to get pregnant, then you may even consider sterilization. Something to remember, though, is that you’ll still want to get regular STI testing; being on top of your status (not to mention your health!) is good for you, for your partner(s), and for your future.
I don’t like hormones! What about my family planning options?
We get it – some people don’t like hormones, or even have adverse reactions to hormonal methods of birth control. In that case, you still have some great methods available to you. Male condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges are all reliable, non-hormonal birth control methods. (Bonus points to condoms for protecting against pregnancy and STIs!) The Paragard is a non-hormonal IUC, which can be a great option if you’re avoiding both hormones and pregnancy for a while. If you know for a fact that you never, ever want to get pregnant, then sterilization might be something to look into.
What about using my period tracker app as contraception?
For those of you who are personal data junkies, you may even consider natural family planning (also known as fertility awareness). While period tracker apps are really handy, they are not a substitute for modern contraceptive methods! If you are really interested in learning how to chart your cycle and use that information as birth control, then its highly recommended that you find a fertility awareness practitioner who can train you in a method and guide you as you learn this highly-involved set of skills.
So there you have it!
If you’re currently looking for contraception (or want to switch to a method) that fits your lifestyle and priorities, we highly recommend this amazing birth control method explorer by Bedsider. Once you’ve found a method you like, make an appointment with us so that you can come in and walk out with your method the same day! We can’t wait to see you and discuss your birth control options.
If you still have questions, our page about birth control has all this information, and more!
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— carafem (@carafem) September 11, 2015