When it comes to birth control, there is a host of options that meet every lifestyle and goal, from temporary measures to longer-term fixes. Dr. Heather Leslie-Brown, OB/GYN at Brown’s Women’s Care in Monroe, North Carolina, offers solutions that take the guesswork out of birth control and help you find a birth control method that’s best for you.
Birth Control Q & A
In general, birth control for women falls into two categories: hormonal and barrier. Hormonal birth control methods use hormones to regulate and control your ovulation, preventing pregnancy. Barrier control methods hinder the fertilization process by preventing the sperm from reaching your egg. Under each classification, there are several options.
Hormonal Birth Control
- Birth control pills
- IUDs with hormones
Barrier birth control
- Cervical caps or shields
- IUDs with copper (which kills sperm)
In addition to these temporary measures, more permanent forms of birth control are available, such as a tubal ligation or a hysterectomy.
Choosing the right birth control method will depend entirely on your situation and your goals. It is important to note upfront that condoms are the only form of birth control that protects against sexually transmitted diseases. The other types of birth control help prevent unwanted pregnancy but not the transmission of infections.
In deciding upon a birth control method, you will want to take into account your habits, your lifestyle, and your medical history. For example, if you don’t do well with hormone regulation, you may want to look at the different forms of barrier control, which range from situational to more permanent.
At Brown’s Women’s Care, Dr. Leslie-Brown offers most forms of birth control, including:
- NuvaRing®: a vaginal ring that releases hormones
- Depo-Provera: a hormone shot
- Mirena® IUD: an IUD that releases hormones
- Paraguard® IUD: A hormone-free IUD
- Implanon®: an implant inserted under the skin that releases hormones
- Essure®: inserts placed inside your fallopian tubes that form a permanent blockage
Dr. Leslie-Brown will review all the available options with you to help you choose the right solution.
Birth control is only as effective as how you use it. For example, using a sponge without spermicide lowers its effectiveness by up to 20%. Hormonal birth control methods can offer up to 99% protection, but if you skip a pill or a shot, you may lower this number considerably.
Dr. Leslie-Brown will ensure that you understand the efficacy of each birth control method and help you choose one that offers the best protection for your situation.