Birth Control Options

If you want to start using birth control, you should know that various methods offer different effectiveness and risk levels. Understanding each option is crucial. Choosing the correct birth control depends on factors such as your health condition, lifestyle, future plans and sexual partners.

Different Types of Birth Control

Different birth control methods work in various ways. Before choosing contraception, consider the following options.

Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control releases hormones into a woman’s body, stopping ovulation and thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching eggs. Hormonal birth control is available in the following forms.

Hormonal birth control methods can increase the risk of some cancers by releasing synthetic hormones that can stimulate cancer development and growth. Hormonal birth control can also increase the risk of developing a blood clot.

You can visit a doctor to obtain a hormonal contraceptive prescription or discuss your options.

Copper IUDs

Copper IUDs

Intrauterine devices are devices placed inside the uterus to kill sperm or prevent its movement. An IUD is a small, plastic, T-shaped device that comfortably fits inside a woman’s uterus.

Copper IUDs are non-hormonal options that can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. A copper IUD contains wire that triggers a toxic inflammatory reaction to eggs and sperm, and it is 99.2% effective at preventing pregnancy.

A copper IUD lacks the risks of hormonal birth control such as blood clots, but it can present dangers for women with the following conditions:

In some situations, IUDs can cause infection or uterine perforation. An IUD can also slip out of its position in the uterus, increasing the risk of pregnancy.

Once an IUD is in place, you don’t have to do anything else to prevent pregnancy. Still, you can use a barrier method such as a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases if needed. 

Hormonal IUDs

Doctors insert hormonal IUDs into the uterus like copper IUDs, but hormonal IUDs release various amounts of hormones instead of copper. They are typically 99.6% to 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal IUDs vary in duration, size and the hormones they release based on their type.

Hormonal IUDs can present the same risks as other hormonal birth control methods and copper IUDs.


Barrier birth control methods block sperm from reaching eggs, and some of these can also prevent STDs. Different types of barrier birth control consist of the following options.

You can purchase condoms, sponges and spermicide over the counter, but diaphragms require a prescription. A doctor must fit you to prescribe the correct size.

Natural Birth Control

Natural birth control is also known as family planning or the fertility awareness method. This approach requires women to track their menstrual cycle to know when they are likely fertile. When practicing this method, you should avoid unprotected sex during days you believe you are fertile. 

FAM has an approximate 76% pregnancy prevention rate when implemented correctly, but it depends on your ability to track your cycle to accurately determine when you are fertile.


Sterilization is a surgical procedure that permanently prevents pregnancy. 

A vasectomy presents minimal risks, but men may experience discomfort, bruising or swelling following the procedure. Infections and hematomas are also possible. Men should see a health care provider if they experience swelling and bleeding under the skin or scrotal tenderness and redness combined with a fever.

Tubal litigation presents a small risk of pregnancy if a procedure does not fully close the fallopian tubes, and there is a small risk of nearby tissue or organ injury during surgery.

How to Choose Birth Control

The best birth control for you depends on your lifestyle, sexual partners, health condition and desire to have children in the future. Before choosing a method, consider the following factors.


If you lead a busy lifestyle and find it difficult to maintain daily habits, you should avoid oral contraceptives and opt for a long-term option such as an IUD or hormonal implant. These devices eliminate the risk of forgetting to take a daily pill.

Sexual Partners

If you engage in sexual activity with one exclusive partner, hormonal birth control or an implant are excellent options. However, you should also consider barrier protection, such as condoms, if you have multiple sex partners.

Health Condition

Avoid hormonal birth control if you are older than 35 and smoke tobacco, because this can increase the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots. Also, you shouldn’t get an IUD if you have uterine abnormalities or have had cervical or uterine cancer. A doctor can review your complete medical history to help you determine your best options. 

Future Plans

Before choosing a birth control method, think about how many children you may want in the future. For example, you can immediately stop taking birth control pills if you decide to start a family.

Sterilization is an effective option if you don’t want children or already have children and don’t want to add to your family. However, you should only choose this approach if you don’t expect to change your mind. 

Contact Hamilton Health Center to Discuss Your Birth Control Options

Contact Hamilton Health Center to Discuss Your Birth Control Options

With birth control, you can take ownership of your wellness and future. Hamilton Health Center can help you make an informed decision based on your needs and medical history. Our caring providers deliver affordable, quality care to individuals in a welcoming environment. Contact Hamilton Health to learn more about our services and how we can help you choose and start a birth control method.