Honu Women’s Health approaches all care with an understanding that women are unique, and it takes individualized care to ensure that all patients are making the best, most informed choices for their unique health situation and lifestyle.
Our board-certified OB/GYN, Dr. Aya Sultan, brings more than 20 years of experience and understanding to all of her patient interactions. When it comes to birth control options, she is here to offer expert information, answer questions and help you select the best fit for your life, even if it means working through a process of trial and error.
Understanding Your Birth Control Options
There are many different options for birth control and deciding on which method is best for you can be overwhelming. As our patient, we will help you narrow down the best contraceptive options for your unique situation and answer any questions that you may have about birth control.
Long-Acting, Reversible Contraception
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are long-term, reversible contraception options. These methods are considered relatively low maintenance, as they can be implanted or inserted, and typically do not need to be replaced for several years. Both forms of birth control are also reversible.
- The birth control implant is a small rod that is inserted into your arm and regularly releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. It is 99% effective and lasts up to five years.
- IUDs are small devices that are put into the uterus, just past the cervix, and work to prevent pregnancy. There are hormonal and non-hormonal IUD options available (Dr. Sultan can help you determine which option may be best for you). IUDs last between 3-12 years and are 99% effective.
Short-Term, Hormonal Contraception
Hormonal contraception works by releasing hormones that prevent pregnancy and there are a variety of options available:
- Birth control pills are one of the most commonly known birth control methods and they are effective when taken daily and on a regular schedule. The pill comes in many different forms and hormone levels, depending on your needs, which makes them one of the most customizable forms of birth control.
- The vaginal ring is a small plastic ring that is placed inside the vagina and replaced monthly.
- The injection, or birth control shot, is given once every three months and contains hormones that prevent ovulation.
Find Your Inner Health and Outer Beauty™
The barrier method is a form of birth control that may involve using internal and external condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and contraceptive sponges. Although less effective in preventing pregnancy, they are a good option if you have not decided on other birth control methods yet. These options are put on or inserted every time you have intercourse and act as a barrier to prevent pregnancy. They sometimes utilize spermicide to kill sperm. And remember, condoms are the best in preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, so they should be worn with all sexual encounters.
Fertility awareness is a form of birth control also called “natural family planning” or the “rhythm method.” This involves tracking ovulation and avoiding sexual activity on more fertile days in order to prevent pregnancy. While it is a birth control method, it is not as effective as other methods on this list.
Permanent contraception includes surgical procedures that permanently prevent pregnancy. This includes tubal ligation for women and vasectomies for men.
Choosing the Right Birth Control for You
Selecting a birth control option is a personal decision involving the consideration of multiple factors. When you talk with Dr. Sultan, she can help guide you to the option that best fits your lifestyle and needs. This conversation will include a discussion about your personal and family health history, your general health, and long-term planning factors, including whether or not you want children, or if you want more children in the future. Through a hormone analysis, Dr. Sultan can also help you determine if hormonal birth control is the right option to help with other health needs, such as severe menstrual cramps or acne. A lifestyle analysis can also pinpoint if a daily pill is the right match or if long-term, lower maintenance options better fit your needs.
Birth Control and Your Health
In addition to preventing pregnancy, hormonal birth control can be utilized to treat symptoms related to hormones, such as the inability to lose weight, severe acne, excess facial hair, or intense menstrual cramps. Birth control can also be used to regulate periods, reduce ovarian cysts, and lower the risk of some cancers. It is also important to remember that only condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as pregnancy. When selecting a birth control option, it is important to communicate with your health care provider about all of your needs and concerns. This is why an OB/GYN who looks at your total body health and considers a variety of factors in your care is central to your overall health and wellbeing.
To begin taking steps to determine your best birth control fit, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sultan today.