Birth control comes in a dizzying array of choices these days, from condoms and birth control pills to implantable devices and even tubal ligation. While so many options can be overwhelming, considering these three critical aspects of contraception can help you find the best solution.
Dr. Lyndon Taylor is a leading birth control specialist in the western suburbs of Chicago. When it comes to finding the perfect birth control that fits your lifestyle, Dr. Taylor can help at Healthcare for Women in Oak Park, Illinois.
Your birth control can only prevent pregnancy when used correctly. So, it’s essential to think about how your birth control works.
When you choose condoms, for example, you need to use them each time you have intercourse. You have to take oral contraceptives, like The Pill, every day at the same time for maximum effectiveness. If you use birth control patches, you reapply them on a weekly basis, compared to Nuvaring® that you insert vaginally each month.
If you’re looking for highly effective birth control that doesn’t require any additional attention once in place, Dr. Taylor usually recommends intrauterine devices (IUDs) or birth control implants, like Nexplanon®, placed in your arm. After Dr. Taylor inserts these types of contraceptives during an office visit, you can leave them in place for 3-12 years, depending on your specific device.
The easiest, permanent form of birth control is surgical sterilization. In men, this procedure is a vasectomy, and in women, tubal ligation. Dr. Taylor might recommend sterilization if you’re looking for a long-term birth control solution.
Unlike birth control methods like condoms that require regular attention, IUDs, birth control implants, and sterilization are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy because they’re mistake-proof once in place.
Implants, IUDs, sterilization, and abstinence have the highest success rates for pregnancy prevention. But, they don’t help with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
If you’re looking for birth control that offers protection against STDs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, your only options are male and female condoms. These contraceptives use latex, plastic, or animal membranes to avoid pregnancy by keeping sperm from entering the vagina and fertilizing an egg.
When you choose latex and plastic condoms, they also prevent contact with vaginal fluids and semen and limit skin-to-skin contact, which reduces your risk of contracting or spreading STDs.
You can get condoms without a doctor’s prescription, so they’re also readily available. But, the male condom is only effective 85% and the female condom 79% with pregnancy prevention. To play it safe, use condoms to protect yourself from STDs in addition to another form of birth control that prevents unwanted pregnancy.
If you think you'd like children in the future, it’s crucial to choose a birth control solution that’s easy to reverse.
The easiest birth control method to reverse is condoms. That’s because they use a barrier method to prevent pregnancy, so you can become pregnant as soon as you stop using them. Forms of birth control like oral contraceptives, The Patch, and Nuvaring prevent pregnancy with hormones.
While you can become pregnant when you discontinue using these forms of birth control, it can take six months or longer for your hormone levels to return to normal and for pregnancy to occur.
When it comes to reversible forms of prescription birth control, you can expect your fertility to return the fastest with IUDs and implants. In most cases, after Dr. Taylor removes these devices during a routine office visit, you can become pregnant again within a month.
Birth control solutions that involve sterilization are considered permanent, so they shouldn’t be considered if you’d like to have children in the future. While these procedures are sometimes reversible, they don’t always guarantee that you’ll have restored fertility.
For more tips on choosing the perfect birth control for your lifestyle, call Healthcare for Women or schedule an appointment with Dr. Taylor online today.