Women have many options when it comes to birth control – so many, in fact, that choosing the right one for your overall health and life situation can sometimes feel overwhelming. At Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida, we help you understand the differences among various birth control methods and weigh considerations of family planning, reliability, reversibility, convenience and safety.
Questions women should ask themselves about birth control
When trying to decide on a birth control method, it’s important to take into account a number of considerations, such as:
- Might I want to get pregnant in the not-too-distant future?
- Would I be able to remember to take a daily pill?
- Would I prefer a hormone-free solution?
- Do I have another condition that some methods of birth control might help treat?
- Would I like not having regular periods?
- Do I need protection against sexually transmitted diseases or just pregnancy?
After reviewing these questions with you and taking into consideration your overall health – such as whether you take other medications, smoke or are overweight – our providers will help you choose from among various birth control options, including:
- Hormonal solutions such as pills, shots, implants, vaginal rings and IUDs
- Barrier methods, such as diaphragm, cervical caps and condoms
- Sterilization procedures, including tubal ligation, removal of the fallopian tubes and a male partner’s vasectomy
We can also coach you on natural methods such as abstinence and fertility awareness, in which you have to avoid intercourse on days that you are most fertile.
Pros and cons of various birth control methods
- Condoms, which can be for both men and women, are the only birth control method aside from abstinence that protects you against sexually transmitted disease.
- IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and protect you for three or more years, depending on the type you choose. They are also easily reversible with removal.
- Nexplanon®, a small, thin hormonal implant placed in the arm, provides up to three years of continuous birth control and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
- Birth control pills are about 91% effective in preventing pregnancy, but their effectiveness is dependent on your ability to remember to take one every day. They also have advantages not related to contraception, such as making your period less painful and more regular, clearing up your skin, and lowering your risk of some cancers.
- Barrier methods are less effective at preventing pregnancy, with the diaphragm being 88% effective and condoms being 79-82% effective, and they require consistent use to be effective.
- Tubal ligation, which is female sterilization, and vasectomy, which is male sterilization, require surgery and are not necessarily reversible, so before choosing either option you should be sure you are finished with childbearing.
To learn more about your birth control choices, you can request a new patient appointment online. If you are already an established patient, you can book online through the patient portal. Or you can always call (239) 432-5858 to schedule a consultation with one of Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida’s women’s health-care providers in Fort Myers, Cape Coral or Lehigh Acres.