On World Contraception Day, Know Your Options!

Almost all (99%) of women between the ages of 15-44 who have ever had sex have used at least one birth control methods. Birth control, sometimes called contraception, is not always about preventing pregnancy. Some people with a uterus use birth control to lessen their period cramps, clear up their skin, or make their periods more regular. But, no matter what someone is using it for, there are many different methods of birth control and each one is different to suit different people! Yesterday, September 26, was World Contraception Day -- a great opportunity to learn about all of the options available to you!

Long Term Birth Control Methods

There are two types of long-term birth control methods, IUDS and the Implant. The IUD is inserted into the uterus by a doctor or health care provider in order to prevent sperm from making it to the egg. There are two types of IUDs, one with hormones and one without hormones. IUDS can last for 3-12 years depending on which one is used. IUDs work better than all of the hormonal methods listed above. ParaGard is the IUD with no hormones and lasts up to 12 years. Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta all have small amount of the hormone progestin. IUDs with progestin also help to lighten periods or even stop them. One thing all IUDs have in common is that they don’t protect against STDs. You need to use a condom with an IUD to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

The implant is small plastic rod that is inserted in the upper arm by a clinician. The implant can last up to three years. It also works better than the ring, the shot, the Pill and the patch. Like IUDs, the implant does NOT protect against STIs. You can use condoms with an implant to protect against pregnancy and STIs.

These methods all last for a long time and can be removed at any time if someone finds they do not work for them or if someone wants to get pregnant.

Hormonal birth control
There are four types of hormonal birth control methods -- the Pill, the ring, the shot, and the patch. They are called hormonal methods because they prevent pregnancy with hormones that are released in the body. These methods are all used by people with a uterus.

  • The Pill, which is also called oral contraception because it is taken by mouth, is effective if taken every day.
  • The Ring is a plastic ring that is worn in the vagina and must be replaced every month. It’s sometimes called the NuvaRing.
  • The Shot, also known as the “Depo shot,” is a shot you get four times a year.
  • The Patch is worn on the skin and looks like a Band-Aid. It works for one week. The patch is changed every week except the fourth because that’s when someone gets their period.

All these birth control methods are between 92%-99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal birth control can be used to make periods regular and make cramps less painful. These methods can cause irregular bleeding or spotting in some people, but if that happens it will disappear over time. All are good at preventing pregnancy, but they do NOT protect someone against STIs. They should be used with a condom to prevent both pregnancy and STIs!

Barrier Methods

Condoms are a type of birth control called barrier methods. There are two types of condoms, one that goes over the penis and is called an external condom, and the other that goes inside the body and is called an internal condom. Both condoms are known as barrier methods because they block sperm from entering the body, coming into contact with an egg to cause a pregnancy. But that is not the only thing condoms do, they also are a barrier to help protect you from getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs)!  Sometimes the external condom is called a male condom because it goes over the penis and the internal condom is sometimes called a female condom because it goes inside the body. You can find FREE external condoms at TeenSource!

Find A Clinic To Get The Right Method For YOU!

Remember: While condoms are the only method of birth control that is used by a guy, or someone without a uterus, it is important for everyone to know about all methods of birth control!  And no matter what method you or your partner choose, they are available for free at a clinic near you!