Although birth control is something that all women may need to consider, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution for women trying to choose between birth control methods. Choosing the right birth control method is a complex decision that requires much thought and research. Finding birth control that makes the most sense for your needs depends on a number of factors including your age, certain medical conditions, and whether you want to become pregnant in the future.
For women who seek a dependable, long-lasting form of birth control, we sometimes recommend intrauterine devices (IUDs). IUDs work by acting as a barrier that blocks the fertilization of eggs in the uterus. The device itself, “T”-shaped and small (roughly the size of a quarter), is physically inserted into the uterus by a board-certified gynecologist during an in-office appointment. Even after you have decided that an IUD is the way to go, the decision-making process doesn’t stop there. There are different types of IUDs on the market and understanding the differences between them is an important part of finding the one that works best for you. That’s why we have provided the following tips to help you narrow down your choice:
Understand Your IUD Options
- Most IUDs are hormone-based (similar to birth control pills) and work by thickening organic materials that prevent sperm from reaching the eggs. However, these hormones can affect a woman’s period and may not appeal to everyone. There are some non-hormonal IUDs that act as a mechanical barrier to prevent fertilization and release copper ions which can prevent sperm from fertilizing the eggs.
Decide How Long You Want Your Birth Control to Work
- IUDs are considered long-acting forms of birth control, but “long-acting” is a broad term, not a defined amount of time. Hormonal IUDs can last anywhere between three and seven years, whereas non-hormonal forms may last up to ten years. Of course, all IUDs are reversible, meaning they can be removed by a board-certified gynecologist at any time.
Consider Potential Effects on Your Menstrual Period
- Hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs can both affect a woman’s period, but not in the same way. Many women who choose hormonal IUDs experience lighter periods and reduced menstrual cramps, or no period at all. Although the idea of lighter, or nonexistent, periods may appeal to some women, others may find this odd or alarming. Conversely, nonhormonal IUDs can lead to heavier periods that may last longer (typically a week or longer).
With so many options available, settling on one form of birth control can be a tough decision. If you’re still having trouble choosing between birth control methods, we invite you to contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to request an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine E. Gould. During your appointment, Dr. Gould will discuss all the relevant factors in the decision-making process including your medical history and overall health, and answer your questions to help determine the right birth control method for you. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, updates, and news on our upcoming Health and Wellness events.