For many young women across the world, the subject of birth control is still quite taboo and the information given dated to almost non existent. With many innovations being made in the field of contraceptives, the pill is no longer the ultimate form of protection and there are other options to suit your needs or preferences. Here is a list of the newest forms of birth control you should know about because knowledge is power.
1. Intrauterine System (IUS)
A great birth control option would be to get an IUS inserted in your uterus. This small T-shaped frame contains levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone that is a naturally occurring sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Once placed by a doctor, the IUS slowly releases the hormone which thins the lining of the uterus and thickens the cervical mucus, that in turn prevents the passage of sperm through the cervical canal.
A great option for those who can’t remember to take their pill on time, it must be replaced every 3 or 5 years depending on the device. The side effects of this contraceptive can include irregular or increased bleeding in the first months and hormonal side effects like depression, acne, headaches and breast tenderness.
2. Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)
A form of birth control very similar to the IUS, the Copper Intrauterine Device is a small T-shaped device with a copper wire placed in the uterus by a doctor. Usually referred to as an IUD, once inserted it changes the chemistry in the uterus and prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg.
Another great long acting, non-daily contraceptive for those who don’t want to have to think about it, it is usually replaced every 3-5-10 years depending on the brand. The side effects can include irregular or increased bleeding in the first months after insertion and menstrual pain or device-related pain insertion.
3. The Ring
This next birth control option is labeled as a short term contraceptive and should be changed monthly. It is a flexible, plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina where it slowly releases the estrogen and progestin hormones for three weeks.
This prevents pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg, similar to the pill. Also similar to the pill, you must remember to change the ring out for a new one every month for it to work effectively. The side effects can include irregular bleeding, spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches and increased risk of blood clots.
4. Hormonal Injection
Another short term birth control option would be to get a hormonal injection every 12-13 weeks. This method contains a progestin that is administered by a healthcare practitioner and is injected in the muscle of the arm or buttocks.
Just like other forms of contraceptives, it stops your ovaries from releasing an egg every month. The risks can include irregular menstrual bleeding or cessation of periods, weight gain, headaches, acne, decreased libido, nausea and breast tenderness.
5. The Patch
Birth control in a patch is something most people probably don’t know about or don’t feel interested in trying. But it can be a useful option for some girls out there who don’t mind the weekly reminder. Fairly easy to use, just stick a new patch to clean, dry skin on your upper outer arm, stomach, buttocks or back.
What it does is it continuously releases estrogen and a progestin into the bloodstream, which stops the ovaries from releasing an egg. Wear for seven days then take it off and replace with a clean, new one. The side effects can include irregular bleeding, spotting, breast tenderness, headaches and is not suitable for smokers or women with migraines over the age of 35.
6. Male Birth Control
Many of these birth control options are still in the works but are seen as several promising leads that researchers are currently pursuing. A topical gel that blocks sperm production is furthest along in development followed by a male birth control pill, which shuts down sperm production, that is currently about to enter phase two of its clinical studies and finally a nonsurgical vasectomy.
In the mean time however, the use of a condom during intercourse coupled with your personal birth control option (patch, pill, IUD, etc) is still the best way to protect from an unplanned pregnancy and STDs.