What is birth control?
In a nutshell, birth control reduces your risk of getting pregnant. Certain types of hormonal birth control also have the added benefit of reducing some of the uncomfortable symptoms you may get around your period, and can make your period lighter and more regular.
You can take birth control for as long as you want to. Or you can switch methods or stop using it if you want to have a child. Some types of hormonal birth control are better for specific health issues or age ranges. So it’s good to check in with your clinician every now and then to make sure your birth control is still right for you.
Hormonal contraception is only available by prescription in the US. Our clinical team will help you narrow down the best option because there are quite a few out there, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of deal.
What types of birth control are there?
There are four types of hormonal birth control that you take by yourself, and a few others where you’ll need a bit of guidance from a clinician or nurse before you use them.
At Treated, we carry both the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), which contains progestin and estrogen, and the progestin-only pill (POP), also called the mini pill. Pills need to be taken every day at around the same time to be most effective.
We also have the patch, which is applied to the skin like a sticker and changed once a week, and the vaginal ring, which is inserted once a month.
Other types of birth control include the depo shot, the IUD (hormonal and non-hormonal) and the implant. You can’t use those without a clinician or nurse though so we don’t offer them. There are also condoms, female condoms and the diaphragm, which you can get at a pharmacy and are great back-up options if you’re ever worried about your protection.
Which birth control is best?
It depends on you, really. If you like the security of taking something every day and knowing you’re protected, we recommend the combined pill or mini pill. If you’d like a more low-maintenance option, the weekly patch may be better. And if convenience is your thing, the monthly ring might be the way to go.
Formulations make a difference too. Some women prefer pills with a higher estrogen dose, because it helps them with symptoms like vaginal dryness or low sex drive. Others prefer a lower estrogen dose, because they’ll be less likely to get water retention or heavy periods.
The progestin-only pill is good for women who can’t take estrogen because of health factors, or who are breastfeeding.
So it’s very much a case of personal preference, and your health background. But we can talk you through all your options.
This page was medically reviewed by Ms Laurenmarie Cormier, Nurse Practitioner
on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.
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