With so many types of birth control on the market, choosing the right one for you and your lifestyle can be tricky. There are various factors to consider when picking a contraception to ensure that it is as effective as possible. If you want to know the best contraception for you, this guide will help.
There are five main categories of birth control methods, each working in a different way to either prevent sperm from reaching the egg or preventing the egg from being released. It’s important to remember when you’re choosing a contraception that not all contraceptives prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
Therefore, if you need STI prevention as well, you will need to use condoms in combination with the other method you choose.
Choosing the Best Option for You
The right contraceptive is different for each person, depending on their lifestyle, goals and whether they have sex regularly or not. It can also depend on whether they are in a relationship or not. Another important consideration to make is whether you can make contraception part of your daily routine or not.
An option such as the birth control pill requires consistency in order to work – if you’re someone who would forget to take it or struggle to take it at the same time each day, it may not be the best option for you. An option that you don’t need to worry about day-to-day can be a great option if you want or need a method that is convenient and low-maintenance, while still offering protection against unwanted pregnancy. Express Pharmacy makes the process even more convenient as you can have your contraception delivered straight to your door.
Likewise, if you are someone who does not have sex on a regular basis, you may be more comfortable with a barrier method that you only need to remember at the time of sex, such as the male or female condom.
These factors should all be taken into account when choosing a birth control method – it can be a good idea to discuss your options with your GP before making a decision, so you can be sure it’s the right one for you.
Short-Acting Hormonal Contraceptives
This type of hormonal birth control works by adjusting the body’s natural levels of oestrogen and progesterone. It’s between 91% and 95% effective in terms of preventing pregnancy.
Common methods of short-acting hormonal contraception include the vaginal ring, which is changed every month, birth control pills which are taken daily, the patch which is changed on a weekly basis or shots which are administered by your GP every three months. Short-acting hormonal contraception requires a prescription, so you will need to speak to your GP in order to use this variety of birth control.
Long-term contraception includes an implant which is inserted into the top of your arm or an intrauterine device or IUD which is inserted into the uterus. These options work for up to three to ten years respectively and are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
They work by adjusting the body’s progestin levels over time, in the case of an implant, and by utilising copper to stop sperm from fertilising the egg in the case of the IUD. Long-term contraception is great for women who want a low-maintenance contraceptive, as they are inserted by a doctor and then left for several years before being changed.
Barrier contraception is a one-time option and includes condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges and spermicide. These don’t require a prescription and have the added benefit of being able to protect against STIs in the case of condoms.
In order for the barrier method to be as effective as possible, the contraception needs to be used every time you have sex – they prevent pregnancy between 71% and 88% of the time for this reason. But barrier methods can be used in conjunction with other methods for added protection, so they are a versatile option.
For those who are certain they don’t want children in the future, there are permanent options including tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men. These are surgical procedures that are simple to carry out and almost 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.
This method of contraception offers quick recovery time, usually within a few days, and won’t hinder your sexual function. It’s a great option for convenience as once the surgery has been performed, you can continue with your day-to-day life without having to worry about contraception.
If you have sex and don’t use birth control or the method you choose fails, there is the option of emergency birth control. This can include pills or a copper IUD, but both need to be used as soon as possible after the sexual encounter in order to be most effective. This shouldn’t be your main method of contraception – it’s only a back-up in the case of an emergency.