Birth Control Methods

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Introduction to birth control methods

The choice of birth control method depends on many factors, such as the desire for reversible birth control (preserving future fertility) or permanent birth control methods (sterilization). The choice also depends upon a woman's lifestyle, overall health status, and personal preferences. Some birth control methods, such as barrier methods, may offer some protection against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), while most methods do not. No method is 100% effective in preventing STDs. Some birth control methods have higher success rates than others, but no method of birth control is 100% effective in every case.

Birth control methods can be broadly classified into barrier methods, that prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg, such as condoms and diaphragms, methods that prevent ovulation such as the pill, and methods that allow fertilization of the egg but prevent implantation of the fertilized egg inside the uterus (womb). An example of the latter type of birth control is the IUD or intrauterine device.

A brief summary of the different types of birth control methods follows. Please refer to the individual articles for more information.

Hormonal birth control methods (including oral contraceptives pills)

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Hormonal methods of birth control involve the use of hormones to prevent ovulation in a woman. Although oral contraceptive pills are the most widely used hormonal method, other methods are available including the vaginal ring, hormone patches applied to the skin, and injections of progestin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/9/2015

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Birth Control Methods - Types Question: What type of birth control do you find most comfortable and effective?
Birth Control Methods: Hormonal Question: What type of hormonal birth control are you taking, or have you taken in the past; and what if any side effects did you experience?
Birth Control Methods: IUD Question: Please share your experience with the IUD birth control method.
Birth Control Methods: Surgical Sterilization Question: Please share your experience with tubal ligation or vasectomy.

Birth Control Types

Doctor's View on Birth Control Types

Birth control can be permanent or temporary. The woman and her partner, taking into consideration the ease of use, side effects, costs, and effectiveness of each method, must weigh the pros and cons of various birth control types.

  • Reversible methods of birth control
  • Permanent methods of birth control
  • Emergency contraception