Birth Control Options

Oral Contraceptives

Advantages: Continuous protection when taken correctly, reversible, non-contraceptive health benefits.

Disadvantages: Must be taken on daily schedule; side effects may include nausea, breast tenderness, changes in menses; cardiovascular risk in smokers greater than age 35

Effectiveness: > 99%

Patch

Advantages: Applied weekly, rapidly reversible, continuous protection when correctly used

Disadvantages: Cardiovascular risk in smokers greater than age 35; side effects may include nausea, breast tenderness, changes in menses

Effectiveness: > 99%

Ring

Advantages: Inserted monthly, rapidly reversible, continuous protection when correctly used

Disadvantages: Requires comfort with self-insertion; Cardiovascular risk in smokers greater than age 35; side effects may include nausea, breast tenderness, changes in menses

Effectiveness: > 99%

Oral Progestin Pill

Advantages: Option for women who are unable to tolerate estrogen

Disadvantages: Strict adherence to daily dosing necessary; changes in menses

Effectiveness: 95%

Injectable Progestin

Advantages: Continuous protection for 3 months; convenient

Disadvantages: Delayed return to fertility; irregular or absent menses; weight gain

Effectiveness: > 99%

Implant (progestin)

Advantages: Continuous protection for 3 years; reversible; convenient

Disadvantages: Unpredictable bleeding pattern; rare risk of infection at site of insertion

Effectiveness: > 99%

Intrauterine Device (IUD) Nonhormonal)

Advantages: Continuous protection for 10 years; reversible; convenient

Disadvantages: May increase monthly bleeding and cramping; rare risk of uterine perforation or pelvic infection

Effectiveness: > 99%

Intrauterine System (IUS) (Hormonal – Liletta)

Advantages: Continuous protection for 5 years; menses lighter, less painful; convenient, reversible

Disadvantages: Small possibility of hormonal side effects; rare risk of uterine perforation or pelvic infection

Effectiveness: > 99%

Sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy, Essure)

Advantages: Continuous contraception, convenient

Disadvantages: Permanent method; surgical procedure

Effectiveness: > 99%

Condom

Advantages: Easily obtained, inexpensive, offers some STD protection

Disadvantages: Less spontaneity, may cause irritation

Effectiveness: 80-97%

Diaphragm

Advantages: Easy to use, may be inserted up to 6 hours before sex

Disadvantages: Requires comfort with self-insertion; risk of bladder infection

Effectiveness: 80-94%

Fertility Awareness (periodic abstinence)

Advantages: Minimal cost

Disadvantages: Requires careful planning and motivation; intercourse prohibited for up to half of cycle; not for women with irregular cycles

Effectiveness: 75-99%

 

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