Best Types of Birth Control Options for Women

No matter which angle you look at it from, birth control is an absolute necessity for both women AND men. Not only does it allow members of either gender to enjoy sex without incurring the risk of the woman becoming pregnant, but ensuring access to it is extremely important for global welfare interests that impact us all. There are many different types of birth control, and women will usually choose a birth control treatment that works best for them given the nature of their sexual activity, as well as any specifics related to responses they have to the medication.

For a young woman who is enjoying her sexuality and is weighing the different types of birth control for the first time may be wondering - how effective is birth control? Abstinence is the only 100% reliable method of all the types of birth control, but of course it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to completely abstain from having sex. Most women take birth control pills as their birth control treatment of choice, and the majority of birth control pills are reported to be 90+% effective in preventing pregnancy.

That’s fairly assuring, but not entirely assuring. So let’s have a look at all the types of birth control available to women these days, as well as information about where to get birth control pills if you’re a young woman who’s seeking to be as informed as possible about an important part of her well being going forward.

All Types of Birth Control: Choosing One Best for You

Hormonal Birth Control

If you require a prescription to get your birth control treatment, then it can most likely be categorized as a hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control involves hormone-mimicking medication that ‘tricks’ the body into thinking it’s pregnant. It creates conditions in the woman’s reproductive system where an egg isn’t released and as such there’s not an egg present for the sperm to fertilize.

Hormonal birth control methods include all birth control pills, birth control patches, vaginal rings, and birth control shots and birth control implants. The last two there are much less commonly used by women, but they are alternatives and some women do prefer them for their longer lasting effectiveness. Hormonal birth control methods are easy to use and quite reliable, and for this reason they’re the method of choice for most women.

Some women, however, will be hesitant to use any type of chemical formulation for fears that interfering with their hormone balance may have other unintended and unwanted side effects. This is a fair concern, as these types of birth control can cause many of them – from mood imbalances to acne.

Barrier Birth Control

If you’re one such woman who’d prefer not to mess with her endocrine system, then choosing a barrier method as your birth control treatment may be preferable. It’s a fact that the most commonly used of all the types of birth control is a barrier method, and that’s the male condom that goes over the man’s penis to create a barrier preventing semen from moving forward.

Some of you might be surprised to learn that there is a female condom too. It’s a thin, flexible, plastic tube that is inserted in the vagina and creates a barrier that functions to block sperm in the same way the male condom does.

Contraceptive sponges are another non-prescription one of the types of birth control. These are small foam pieces containing spermicide that are placed in the vagina and work to kill sperm as they move up the opening towards the fallopian tubes. Do be aware that contraceptive sponges are not as reliable as hormonal birth control methods of the use of condoms as barrier methods.

Diaphragms, cervical caps, and cervical shields are also types of birth control that can be classified as barrier methods too. While they are also regarded to be in that 90+% effective range, you will need a prescription to get them.

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Another alternative for women who don’t want to use birth control pills is an intrauterine device (IUD). Be aware that if you choose this birth control treatment it will require a minor medical procedure. These small plastic devices must be inserted into your uterus by a doctor or nurse who is trained for the procedure. It’s not a complicated procedure, however, and IUDs provide reliable long-term protection against pregnancy. They’re 99% reliable, and the copper T-versions of them can be good for up to 10 years. As a long-term birth control treatment, IUDs are a good option for many women

Birth Control Pill Best Practices

It’s likely best to conclude this discussion of the different birth control types available to women by adding some information on being smart about using these products. Always make sure you:

  1. Check expiration dates - especially for birth control pills and for barrier methods like condoms as well.
  2. Store products as directed and properly – light and heat can damage condoms, for example, and some birth control pills can also be negatively affected by prolonged heat exposure.
  3. Follow directions exactly as provided on the product packaging – this includes any instructions regarding the regularity of your dosage, or how to properly put a product in place.
  4. Open condom wrappers carefully – use your fingers to tear away from the seam only, and don’t do it roughly or with pressure applied on the soft centre walls of the packaging. Doing so may risk tearing the condom and rendering it ineffective as a birth control treatment.