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BIRTH CONTROL

What are you opinions? When it comes to choosing a birth control method for you, it will can get a little complicating. There are many options and things to consider when choosing the best birth control method for you.

Birth Control: What are my options?

When it comes to choosing a birth control method for you, it can get a little complicating. There are many options and things to consider when choosing the best birth control method for you. The best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy if you are sexually active or are planning on being sexually active is to get informed about your birth control options. At Brampton Women’s Clinic, we offer contraceptive counselling at the time of your appointment to help you choose the best option for you based on your medical history, personal preferences, and the side effects that you may experience. Let’s get started!

Barrier Methods

Condoms

Condoms are disposable tubes that are rolled over an erect penis to serve as a barrier in preventing sperm from entering their partner’s body during sex, as well as protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV.  

Pros and Cons of Condoms

Pros: 

  • Condoms not only protect against unwanted pregnancy but also provide a barrier to protect against STIs.
  • Condoms are available at most places, including pharmacies, convenient stores, and sexual health clinics making them easily accessible. 
  • Condoms come in a range of sizes, shapes, thicknesses, with and without lubrication to ensure safe and enjoyable sex.
  • Non-latex options are available for people with latex allergies or sensitivities.

Cons: 

  • Condoms can break, slide off, or may reduce sensation for some people. 
  • Some people may experience an allergic reaction to latex condoms. There are non-latex options available, but they may be slightly more expensive. 
  • Condoms are not reusable and can only be used one time.

Effectiveness:

With typical use condoms are approximately 85% effective

Spermicide

Spermicides are contraceptive foams, jellies, tablets, suppositories, or films that are inserted into the vagina before sex making it more difficult for sperm to pass through and/or kill sperm.

Pros of Spermicide

Pros: 

Contraceptive film is very small and discrete and can be easily carried with you.

Spermicides do not contain any hormones. This is a good option for people who do not feel comfortable using hormonal birth control methods.

Spermicides do not require a doctor’s prescription and can be purchased at pharmacies.

Cons of Spermicide

Cons: 

  • Some people may experience irritation inside the vagina or on the penis when using spermicide due to the main ingredient nonoxynol–9. This irritation can increase the risk of STIs. 
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  • Some people may find spermicides to be a little bit messy or difficult to insert.
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  • Spermicides need to be inserted at least 15 minutes before having vaginal sex to work effectively.
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  • Spermicides do not protect against STIs. So, it is important to use another barrier method, such as a condom to protect yourself and your partner(s).

Effectiveness:

When used with a condom, spermicides are about 99% effective

Hormonal Birth Control Methods

Birth Control Pill (The Pill)

The birth control pill comes in packs that contain one pill to be taken once a day at the same time each day. The pill contains hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg, causes a thickening of the cervical mucous, and thins out the uterine lining making it difficult for sperm to pass through or for an egg to implant, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. 

Pros of the Birth Control Pill

Pros: 

  • The birth control pill is highly effective if taken everyday at the same time. 
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  • It can regulate or reduce your menstrual period for those who experience heavier or irregular periods and may also minimize period cramps.
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  • Depending on the birth control pill prescribed it may help clear acne. 
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  • There are many different brands with higher or lower dosages of hormones. If one brand doesn’t work for you that doesn’t mean another won’t. 

Cons of the Birth Control Pill

Cons: 

  • You need a prescription from a doctor to use the birth control pill. 
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  • Some people may experience bothersome side effects or may not be able to use them at all because of the hormones.
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  • It can be difficult to remember for some people and effectiveness may decrease if not taking regularly. 
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  • It does not protect against STIs. So, it is still important to use condoms or another barrier method to protect yourself and your partner(s).
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Effectiveness:

The pill is 92% effective with typical use and 99% effective with perfect use

The Patch (OrthoEvra Patch)

The contraceptive patch is a small, square patch that can be worn on the upper arm or on the butt-cheek, abdomen, or thigh if you’d like it to be more hidden. The patch is worn for one week and is changed each week for three weeks in a row. The fourth week you do not wear the patch, and this is when you’ll get your period. Similar, to the birth control pill the patch prevents pregnancy by causing a thickening of the cervical mucous making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

Pros of The Patch

Pros: 

    • It is highly effective in preventing pregnancy when used as directed. 
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    • It is a little easier to remember than taking a pill everyday. You only need to remember to change the patch once a week.
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    • It can regulate or reduce your menstrual period for those who experience heavier or irregular periods and may also minimize period cramps.

Cons of The Patch

Cons: 

  • You need a prescription from a doctor to use the patch.
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  • Some people may experience bothersome side effects that may affect their ability to use the patch.
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  • There is only one type of patch containing the same amount of hormones in each one. If you experience side effects that are bothersome there is no other patch that can be used, and you may need to explore other birth control options.
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  • The patch may be less effective depending on your body weight.
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  • Although, the patch is changed on a weekly basis there is a chance you can forget to change it, or the patch can fall off.
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  • It does not protect against STIs. So, it is important to use condoms or another barrier method to protect yourself and your partner(s).
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Effectiveness:

The patch is 92% effective with typical use and 99% effective with perfect use

NuvaRing

The NuvaRing is a small, flexible ring that contains hormones. The ring is inserted into the vagina and is left in for three weeks in a row. During the fourth week, you will remove the NuvaRing and at this time you will get your period. During the fourth week, you will remove the NuvaRing, and you will get your period at this time. For the next month, a new ring is inserted, and the cycle is repeated. 

Pros of the NuvaRing

Pros: 

    • It’s a highly effective in preventing pregnancy when used as directed. 
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    • You may experience fewer side effects from it because it contains a lower dosage of hormones than some other hormonal methods. 
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    • It can regulate or reduce your menstrual period for those who experience heavier or irregular periods and may also minimize period cramps. 
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    • You only need to remember to change the ring once a month. 
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Cons of the NuvaRing

Cons: 

    • You need to visit a doctor to get a prescription to use a NuvaRing. 
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    • Some people may experience bothersome side effects or may not be able to use it at all.
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    • The NuvaRing does not protect against STIs. So, it is important to use condoms or another barrier method to protect yourself and your partner(s).

Effectiveness:

The ring is 92% effective with typical use and 99% effective with perfect use

The Injection (DepoProvera)

The injection or DepoProvera contains a hormone called progestin that is injected into your arm or buttcheek once every 12 weeks. The injection prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs and from sperm fertilizing an egg, causing a pregnancy.

Pros of The Injection

Pros: 

The injection is highly effective

You only need to remember to get your injection every 12 weeks. 

The injection only contains progestin and may be a better option for those that react badly to estrogen containing birth control methods.

While using the injection, you may have a light period or no period at all. This may also help to alleviate period cramps for some people.

 

Cons of The Injection

Cons: 

To use the injection, you must see a doctor for a prescription and every 12 weeks for it to be injected.

Not suitable for people that have a fear of needles.

You may experience a light period, or no period at all while using the injection.

If you do not end up not liking the injection, you must wait 12 weeks for the hormone be completely out of your system. 

Prolonged use of the injection has been linked with osteoporosis. 

The injection can cause significant weight gain for some people.

The injection does not protect against STIs. So, it is important to use condoms or another barrier method to protect yourself and your partner(s).

 

The Hormonal IUD (Mirena or Kyleena)

An intrauterine device or IUD is a small piece of flexible plastic that is shaped like a ‘T’. It is placed inside the uterus by a doctor to prevent unwanted pregnancy. These devices are a long- term and reversible birth control method that stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs. Hormonal IUDs work by releasing levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of progesterone. This hormone works by thickening cervical mucous making it difficult for sperm to pass through. It also thins out the uterine lining making it difficult for an egg to implant in the uterus, causing a pregnancy. There are two different brands of hormonal IUDs: Mirena and Kyleena.

Pros of The Hormonal IUD

Pros: 

It is a more long-term option. The hormonal IUD lasts for up to 5 years but can be taking out at any time by a doctor.

The hormonal IUD is highly effective with a 99% effectiveness rate.

The hormones in the IUD may cause people to experience light to no period at all.

It is a safer option for people who are unable to use birth control containing estrogen, including those that experience migraines or at a higher risk for blood clots or stroke.

In the long-run the IUD is inexpensive when compared to other non-permanent forms of birth control. It also avoids frequent visits to your doctor and/or pharmacy for more prescriptions.

You don’t need to remember to take it. Once the IUD is placed, the only thing you need to remember to do is your ‘string check’ by reaching inside the vagina to make sure you feel the threads or strings at the end of your IUD after each period.

Once the IUD is placed, no one will know it is in place besides you. You should not be able to feel it nor should your partner(s).

Cons of The Hormonal IUD

Cons: 

The hormonal IUD is slightly more expensive than the non-hormonal IUD depending on your insurance coverage. Without insurance coverage the hormonal IUD can cost upwards to $450.

Some women may experience side effects, such as spotting, irregular periods, or cramping after getting a hormonal IUD. This usually goes away with 3-6 months once your body has had time to get use to the IUD.

Do not protect against STIs. So, it is important to use condoms or another barrier method.

Needs to be inserted by a doctor.

In rare cases, the IUD may cause a pelvic infection to develop

Effectiveness:

Hormonal IUDs are over 99% effective and are slightly more effective than the non-hormonal or copper IUD.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods

The Copper IUD

Like the hormonal IUD, the copper IUD is a small piece of flexible plastic that is shaped like a ‘T’ with copper coiled around it. It is placed inside the uterus by a doctor to prevent unwanted pregnancy. These devices are a long-term and reversible birth control method that stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs.

Non-hormonal or copper IUDs do not contain any hormones. The copper coiled around the IUD interferes with sperm getting to the egg. The copper also prevents any fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus. Some women, who choose the non-hormonal or copper IUD may experience periods that become heavier, last longer, and more painful. This may not be a good option for people who have painful or heavier periods to begin with, endometriosis, and/or anemia. At Brampton Women’s Clinic, we offer the non-hormonal IUD (MonaLisa 5 NT Cu380), which can be left in for 5 years.

Pros of The Copper IUD

Pros: 

It is a more long-term option. It lasts for up to 5 years but can be taking out at any time by a doctor.

Because copper IUDs do not contain hormones, they are a safe option for people who cannot use hormonal birth control methods.

Although slightly less effective than the hormonal IUD, copper IUDs are still over 99% effective.

The non-hormonal IUD is a less expensive option costing upwards to $150.

It avoids frequent visits to your doctor and/or pharmacy for more prescriptions.

You don’t need to remember to take it. Once the IUD is placed, the only thing you need to remember to do is your ‘string check’ by reaching inside the vagina to make sure you feel the threads or strings at the end of your IUD after each period.

Once the IUD is placed, no one will know it is in place besides you. You should not be able to feel it nor should your partner(s).

Cons of The Copper IUD

Cons: 

Some women may experience heavier, longer lasting, and crampier periods with the non-hormonal IUD.

Do not protect against STIs. So, it is important to use condoms or another barrier method to protect yourself and your partner(s).

Needs to be inserted by a doctor.

In rare cases, the IUD may cause a pelvic infection to develop

Effectiveness:

Copper IUDs are over 99% effective

CONTACT US

Get in touch with us. Call our office to speak with one of our staff members about your options now.

We are located in Brampton, Ontario. Just north of Mississauga, west of York Region (Vaughan, Markham, etc.), east of Guelph, and south of Barrie.