Health Choices

Understanding Your Birth Control Options



The article summarizes information about the most common birth control options

available today. From birth control pills to cervical caps and diaphragms, to

birth control implants and injections, women now have more options in preventing unwanted


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Today, there are a lot of available birth control options for women to choose from. But before

picking the right one, a woman must know more about these birth control options, and think about

what is best for her current health condition, as well as her lifestyle. From understanding all

the pros and cons of each method, to choosing what’s best and right for her needs — interested

women should look further and deeper than the packaging of the product, or from word of mouth.

Next to the condom, the most commonly used birth control option would be birth control pills.

This usually contains both estrogen and progesterone to suppress ovulation. The pill is something

that needs to be taken everyday for approximately the same time everyday. There are also options

with regards to the pill. Some only contain progesterone, given to post-partum women or those who

have trouble in tolerating estrogen. But due to lack of estrogen, this pill has a slightly lower

efficacy rate compared to the normal pill containing both hormones. The latest versions of the

pills have fewer side effects as compared to older ones. Old version contraceptive pills have

side effects such as acne, weight gain, bloating, and nausea. On the positive side, birth control

pills reduce painful periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, and ovarian cysts. If taken properly,

these pills have a very good rate of effectiveness in pregnancy prevention.

Another birth control option for women would be the use of birth control implants. The most

common of which is Norplant, which are small matchstick like implants that are surgically placed

inside a woman’s upper arm. These implants contain progesterone and can be left in for up to five

years. The advantage of this option is that one does not have to take it everyday, but its

disadvantages include headaches, irregular menstrual bleeding, nausea, and dizziness.

Depo-Provera injection is another birth control option that only contains progesterone, and is

given every 12 weeks. As compared to the previous birth control pills and Norplant implants, both

the advantages and disadvantages are quite similar. But one relevant disadvantage for

Depo-Provera is that it can take up to six months to a year before one’s fertility and menstrual

cycle goes back to normal after using the said method. Vasectomy, on the other hand, is a

surgical procedure that is performed on men to prevent their semen from coming out during

ejaculation. Usually done by an urologist, this is a relatively easy procedure. The patient can

go home after a very short stay in the clinic or hospital. Considered to be a fairly permanent

birth control, attempting to reverse such a procedure is not always successful.

Cervical caps are very similar to the diaphragm but are smaller and covers the opening of the

uterus to prevent pregnancy. The advantage of this birth control option is that one can insert it

anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours prior to intercourse. Meanwhile, diaphragms are silicone,

round shaped semi-dome materials that are smeared with spermicide. It is inserted into the

vagina. This does not contain any hormones, but inserting it can cause an interruption during


From caps to pills, injections and implants, women can now choose what birth control option is

best for them and their lifestyle. Remember to consult with the doctor for more information

regarding the safety and effectiveness of these various contraceptive options.