Birth Control Choices
Certainly, women today have many options for hormonal methods of birth control. While hormonal contraception certainly doesn't prevent STDs, it is quite effective for preventing pregnancy. There are three main ways that these methods work. They can prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs; they can cause the cervical mucus to become thick and thereby make it hard for the sperm to penetrate the egg; and they can thin the lining of the uterus to make it hard for the egg to implant in the uterus.
Most people are familiar with birth control pills, and this is certainly the most popular method of hormonal contraception. Most birth control pills are taken daily, and they often need to be taken around the same time each day. There are also injections like Depo-Provera and Lunelle, which are injections that can last anywhere from one to three months.
The NuvaRing, or vaginal ring, is inserted directly into the vagina for three weeks and then removed for one week. A new ring has to be replaced each month.
There is also a birth control patch which you place on your skin like a band-aid. The hormones are infused right into the woman's hip, buttocks or upper arm. The patch is worn for three weeks and is then left off for one week.
The IUD, which stands for intrauterine device, is a small plastic fixture which contains either copper or hormones, and is inserted into the uterus by a physician. It doesn't stop the sperm. Rather, it makes the cervical mucus thicker, thereby decreasing the chance of fertilization. It also changes the uterine lining to prevent implantation.
Advantages of Hormonal Birth Control Methods
These methods of birth control have many advantages. They are non-invasive, meaning that they don't interrupt intercourse like a condom does. Many of these methods don't even need to be thought about each day, making them even less difficult and time consuming. Many women enjoy the freedom that these methods offer.
Of course, one major disadvantage to these birth control methods is that they don't prevent STDs. They also do tend to have some side effects including weight gain, tender breasts, nausea and more. Another disadvantage is that the woman is completely responsible for the birth control. Some women complain that this places all of the burden on them.
Learn more about hormonal birth control methods to become an educated consumer. Speak with your doctor, as well, so that you'll know all of your choices and can make the best decision for yourself and your body.