If you just tried a traditional birth control pill for the first time and decided it was "not for you," then you may wonder what your alternative birth control options are and which may be best for you. While traditional birth control pills that contain the hormones estrogen and progesterone in synthetic form work well for many women, others find that their side effects interfere with their lives, find it inconvenient to take a pill every day at the same time, or would rather use non-hormonal contraception.
Read on to learn about four methods of contraception that differ from traditional birth control pills, so you can decide which is right for you.
1. The Mini Pill
If you didn't mind having to take a birth control pill every day, yet just found the side effects of the traditional "combination" pill to interfere with your life, then you may want to consider trying the mini pill. Unlike traditional combination birth control pills that contain both synthetic estrogen and progesterone, mini pills contain just synthetic progesterone.
If you have not spoken to your gynecologist about the side effects you experienced while taking a traditional birth control pills, you should. You may have been one of the women who have a sensitivity to the synthetic form of estrogen. You may find that the side effects you couldn't take when taking combination birth control pills, such as weight gain, mood changes, or headaches, are virtually non-existent when taking a mini pill that contains only progesterone.
2. A Cervical Cap
If you would prefer to try a contraceptive that is completely non-hormonal, then a cervical cap may be a great option for you. A cervical cap is a small device made of silicone that you must insert into your vagina before intercourse. The cap must be filled with a contraceptive gel before insertion to improve its accuracy at preventing pregnancy.
This cap covers your cervix, which prevents sperm from traveling into your uterus and fertilizing an egg. Cervical caps come in several sizes, and it is important for it to fit well to work correctly. You must visit your gynecologist to be fitted with the correct cervical cup size and to receive a prescription that is needed to obtain the cap. A cervical cap is very affordable and can be re-used many times before it needs to be replaced.
3. An IUD
If you like the idea of a a cervical cap, but think you will find having to insert it before intercourse a hassle, then you may prefer an IUD. There are two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal. Both must be inserted by your gynecologist and once inserted, can stay in place three to ten years without having to be inserted before intercourse and removed after. Insertion is quick and easy and typically takes just a few minutes.
Non-hormonal IUDs have copper coils in them that release copper into your uterus that kills sperm on contact. Hormonal IUDs contain a synthetic form of progesterone that is slowly released into your uterus over time.
4. A Diaphragm
Diaphragms are another common form of barrier contraception. They are small devices that must be inserted in your vagina before intercourse, similar to how cervical caps are used. They can be made of either rubber or silicone. While cervical caps are shaped like small "hats," diaphragms are flatter. Like cervical caps, diaphragms must also be covered with spermicide before insertion.
While cervical caps and diaphragms are very similar devices, your doctor may recommend one or the other based on the shape of your female anatomy.
If you tried a traditional combination contraceptive pill for the first time and disliked the side effects or inconvenience of taking a pill every day, then consider your alternative birth control options and speak to your gynecologist, someone like George L Stankevych, MD, about which may be right for you.