I’m looking into birth control right now and don’t think I understand all my options. Please shed some wisdom!
Hi Readerface! As a sexual health educator, I am obligated to tell everyone that the only for sure guaranteed one-hundo percent way to avoid pregnancy is by abstaining from sex. There are a zillion other fun things to do with people, but sometimes we just wanna fuck. To stay safest, we should combine any method below with CONDOMS, which I cannot plug enough. That’s because they are 98 percent effective when used correctly. Please take advantage of their magical powers.
To break it down, there are really two types of birth control: Hormonal and non-hormonal. Let’s dive in!
Many people prefer hormonal because it’s less to worry about “in the moment” and can have benefits like acne reduction and breast enhancement (for real!). However, they can cause complications and can be super hard to physically get used to.
Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Ninety-nine percent effective in preventing pregnancy, the Mirena is a plastic, “T-shaped” device that is inserted into the uterus where it can remain for up to five years. Mirena IUDs can be taken out at any time and do not affect fertility in the least.
A note on IUDs: The Dalkon Shield, an IUD no longer available, caused many problems for its users, including infertility. Dalkon Shield gave IUDs a bad reputation, but luckily researchers and scientists have lowered the chances of complications to almost zero percent.
An inch-long, super skinny rod that is implanted in between the biceps and triceps and releases hormones consistently throughout the body preventing pregnancy. The insertion can be a little painful, but for three years worry free it and 99 percent efficacy, it can be totally worth it.
The birth control patch uses similar hormones to other methods and prevents ovaries from releasing eggs. It sticks like a Band-Aid and only needs to be changed once a week. The patch comes with some baggage—the sticking spot needs to be changed each week (from hip, thigh, shoulder, etc.), and can leave a reddish residue. The other flaw is that the patch only comes in beige, making it less accessible for people with any other skin color.
The Depo-Provera Shot
The shot is just like any other shot, but it’s full of hormones that prevent pregnancy! One shot is effective for three months and shots should be scheduled meticulously to avoid unwanted pregnancy. “The Shot,” as its often referred to, is available from University Health Services at 333 East Campus Mall.
For people who are sensitive to changes in hormones, non-hormonal methods are the way to go. Some people experience side effects like migraines, vomiting and a lessened libido. Below are the most effective options for people who prefer a hormone-free birth control. Most non-hormonal birth control methods should be used alongside condoms for maximum efficacy.
A little outdated, diaphragms are like little shallow bowls that we fill with spermicide and tuck under the cervix inside the vaginal canal. Diaphragms have to be sized so they fit perfectly over the specific cervix they’re serving. Sizing and obtaining a diaphragm is a service available to all students at UHS.
Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Similar in form to the Mirena, this IUD, called ParaGard, uses the element copper to stave off spermies. Its efficacy is similarly high to its hormonal counterpart, however some people with Copper IUDs report having a heavier period than people who use the Mirena.
It’s a chemical that kills sperm! Insert it into the vag or use it with a sponge or diaphragm to stave off those spermies!
The Pullout Method
Not something I would recommend for maximum safety, but withdrawal, or the pullout method, can be effective when done correctly. Withdrawal requires the penised person to pull out of the vag before ejaculating, leaving us to jizz all over other fun body parts!
The issue with the pullout method is precome, which dribbles out of penises during intercourse or head or excitement or just a general arousal kind of time. One drop of precome can contain millions of little spermies and IT ONLY TAKES ONE to get a person preggers. Guys just like please use condoms.
In conclusion, use condoms every time you have sex. Other methods can seriously help out in preventing pregnancy, but there’s nothing like a one-two punch to knock out the possibility of pregnancy.
For more information about each of the above birth control methods, check out bedsider.org and plannedparenthood.org. Their resources are amazing! If you have any questions for Alex, email her at email@example.com.