Exploring Your Options for Birth Control

Exploring Your Options for Birth Control

With the wide range of birth control options available, which one is right for you? In this DocTalk video, Tajana Kundacina, DO, with Valley Women’s Healthcare gives an overview of birth control methods, risks and side effects, reasons someone might use birth control other than pregnancy prevention, and more.

An abbreviated summary of the conversation can be found below the video.

What types of birth control are available?
Birth control methods range from highly effective to less effective options. Devices like the IUD (Mirena, Kylina, and non-hormonal options) and implants (such as Nexplanon) offer the most effective protection with less than a 1% chance of pregnancy. Surgical options include tubal ligation (having your “tubes tied”) and vasectomy, also providing strong pregnancy prevention. Other options you can get by prescription or at your provider’s office include birth control pill, the Depo shot, patches, and rings. These methods have about a 92-99% effectiveness depending on regular usage.

What are some other birth control options?
For those seeking non-prescription methods, condoms (both male and female), spermicides, and natural family planning techniques are available. Condoms provide 85-100% effectiveness when used correctly. Natural family planning works well for those with regular menstrual cycles and involve tracking ovulation.

Can birth control pills be bought over-the-counter?
Yes, over-the-counter options such as the O-pill became available in 2024. This progesterone pill does not require a prescription and is generally safe for most individuals, including those with chronic conditions. It offers a convenient alternative to prescribed birth control. (Editor’s note: the O-pill is available at Valley’s Prescription Pad pharmacies.)

What are common side effects of birth control?
Common side effects include irregular bleeding, nausea, breast tenderness, and mood changes. Most side effects improve within three months. There are some misconceptions about birth control causing weight gain, but we don’t have evidence that supports this.

Are there risks associated with birth control?
The risks of blood clots or cancer from birth control are very low, with the risk of clots being less than a quarter percent and no significant increase in breast cancer risk. Long-term use can actually reduce the risk of certain cancers like uterine and ovarian cancer.

Why might someone use birth control beyond pregnancy prevention?
Birth control can also aid in managing menstrual pain, heavy bleeding, and symptoms of conditions like endometriosis and fibroids. It can help regulate periods and decrease the discomfort associated with menstruation.

How should one choose a birth control method?
Choosing a birth control method should be based on personal medical history and lifestyle. It’s important to discuss different options with a healthcare provider to find the options best suited for you.

Who can provide birth control advice?
For birth control advice, if you have a gynecologist, you can start there or with your primary care provider. Other providers who are helpful in women’s health are our nurse practitioners and our midwives at Valley Women’s Healthcare Clinic. They can help to explain your options and hopefully get you the best fit for your birth control needs.

Understanding Our DocTalk Videos
The information shared in the video above represents the opinions of the individual healthcare provider(s) featured. Our DocTalk presenters will sometimes give a general overview including risks, symptoms, and treatments for the medical conditions they are addressing. Therefore, they may not cover specific details that would be available in other resources or in an appointment with a provider about your own healthcare conditions. Please also note that the written summary may not capture every detail contained in the video, and additional information might only be in the video format. Our goal is to inform, educate, and inspire healthier living. If you have any questions about the video content, please contact us HERE.

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