Deciding which method of birth control is right for you can be difficult. You may be comfortable with a barrier method, like male condoms, or you may be interested in a hormonal method, like the pill.
Beyond the most commonly known methods, though, there are multiple other forms of contraception that you may find more suitable to your particular needs.
Here is a basic summary of the lesser known types of birth control:
- Birth control implants – hormonal method, a flexible piece of plastic that’s inserted under the skin of your arm and releases the hormone progestin, preventing ovulation; works for up to three years
- Birth control patch – hormonal method, a thin plastic patch that’s attached to your skin and releases estrogen and progestin, preventing ovulation; must be replaced weekly, with one patch-free week in a four-week cycle
- Birth control shot – hormonal method, an injection of progestin that prevents ovulation; works for three months
- Birth control sponge – barrier method, a foam sponge that’s inserted vaginally and works by covering the cervix, preventing sperm from entering the uterus; also releases spermicide to keep sperm from moving; can be inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse, must be worn for at least six hours past intercourse, and should not be worn for more than 30 hours
- Birth control vaginal ring – hormonal method, a small, flexible ring that’s inserted into the vagina once a month and releases estrogen and progestin, preventing ovulation
- Cervical cap – barrier method, a silicone cap that’s inserted vaginally to block sperm from entering the uterus; should be used with spermicide and lasts for up to two years
- Diaphragm – barrier method, a shallow, silicone, dome-shaped cup that’s inserted vaginally to block sperm from entering the uterus; should be used with spermicide and lasts for up to two years
- Female condom – barrier method, a plastic pouch with flexible rings at either side; the end that is inserted into the vagina before intercourse is closed, preventing sperm from entering the uterus
- IUD (intrauterine device) – hormonal method, or hormone-free copper, a small, t-shaped device made of plastic that’s inserted vaginally; hormonal form releases progestin, preventing ovulation for up to five years; IUD containing copper prevents sperm from joining egg, and works for up to 12 years
These are just some of the available methods of contraception. To learn more, use Vitals to find the right OB/GYN for you, and make an appointment today.