Choosing the “Best” Birth Control Option for You

The first records of birth control methods date as far back as 1850 BCE in Egypt and Rome, when pessaries containing acacia gum were inserted in to the vagina to prevent pregnancy. Since then science has offered us an expanded range of birth control options and varieties.  Whether you take birth control to maintain a regular period, fight hormonal acne flare ups or to hold off on your family planning choosing the right option for you may prove to be difficult. If you are a young woman who is struggling with traditional birth control methods, here are some that may work for you.


If You Struggle with Weight Gain while Using Hormonal Birth Control Pills and Methods:

  • Yasmin/Yaz/Ocella– These birth control pills contain a combination of both drospirenone and estrogen. Drospirenone is a synthetic hormone that also acts as a mild diuretic that helps women shed the water weight traditionally associated with other forms of hormonal birth control. It is also considered to be a highly effective treatment for adult acne.

If You Don’t like Having to Remember to Take a Pill:

  • Depo-Provera– The shot contains the hormone progestin and is effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 3 months while offering the same amount of protection as a birth control pill. The negative side to Depo is that if there is an adverse reaction, the body must naturally flush out the hormones and it can not be instantly reversed
  • Nuvaring– This flexible, clear plastic ring is inserted in to the vagina and slowly releases a combination of progestin and estrogen over a period of 3 weeks. After 3 weeks the ring is removed and the woman will then have her menstrual cycle. The Nuvaring can be taken out for intercourse up to 3 hours at a time and still maintain effectiveness.
  • Mirena– If you want to have a true, care-free birth control that is effective for up to 5 years, the Mirena IUD may be the best option. The plastic T-Shaped device slowly releases amounts of a synthetic hormone to prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years post insertion. It should be noted that IUDs are generally not recommended for women who have not had children due to a high risk of expulsion and complications, however many women who have never had children opt for a IUD due to convenience.
  • The Patch– Also known by its pharmaceutical name “Ortho Evra”, is a square-shaped sticker that could be mistaken for a band-aid, but its discrete fleshy color may be a good option for women on the go. The sticker is placed on the surface of the skin (commonly on the buttocks or somewhere else it won’t be seen) and releases hormones directly on to the skin for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks the patch is removed and a menstrual cycle will begin

If You Don’t Want to Use a Hormonal Birth Control Method but Don’t like Condoms, Spermicides or Other Barrier Methods:

  • Copper IUD– similar in shape to the Mirena IUD, the copper IUD is usually composed of a plastic T-shaped IUD wrapped with thin copper wire. Copper is naturally toxic to sperm, and has a failure rate of 0.8%- the lowest of all non hormonal birth control methods. Condoms, with perfect use have a failure rate of approximately 2%.  Risks of expulsion range from 2.2-10%

Safety Information

It’s important to note that all hormonal birth control options come with risks of negative side effects. Common side effects of birth control include: spotting or irregular bleeding, bloating or weight gain, nausea and loss of libido. Initial studies by the FDA found that women who took birth control products containing Yasmin and Yaz were more than 290% more likely to experience blood clots. Smokers and those who are overweight or over the age of 35 are most prone to this risk. IUDs like Mirena and the Copper IUD have also been linked to a variety of dangerous side effects, including depression, infertility  perforation of the uterus and nearby organs, birth defects and ectopic pregnancy.

Mike Bomberger

Jackie is part of the outreach efforts for Estey & Bomberger, LLP- an award winning California based personal injury firm specializing in dangerous consumer and medical products.

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