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Hormonal Contraceptives

Pregnancy Prevention 

To help reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy, there are many options for hormonal methods of birth control. These methods work similarly - they use synthetic hormones to both prevent ovulation (no egg is released from the ovaries) and thicken cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to traverse the vagina and uterus. Some methods contain both estrogen and progestin, while others are progestin only. These methods can also be used as hormone therapy for trans women. In addition, hormonal contraceptives can help regulate your menstrual cycle, treat acne, make periods less painful, relieve symptoms of endometriosis, PCOS and menstrual migraines, and more! 

Hormonal methods of contraception DO NOT prevent STIs. None of these methods are available over-the-counter at this time. Please speak with your healthcare provider if you are interested in trying any of these methods. 

See below for a brief overview of each type. 

 Hormonal Birth Control Options: 

  1. Birth Control Implant
    1. Brand name: Nexplanon
    2. A tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. 
    3. Must be inserted by a healthcare provider (under the skin in your arm). 
    4. Good for up to 5 years. 
    5. About 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
    6. Check with your insurance company to see if it's covered.
  2. Intrauterine Device (IUD)
    1. Brand names: Paragard, Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla
    2. A small piece of flexible plastic that is T-shaped. 
    3. Must be inserted by a healthcare provider. An IUD is placed into the uterus. 
      1. Must also be removed by a healthcare provider.
    4. Good for 3 to 12 years, depending on the type. 
    5. Two types - hormonal IUDS and copper IUDS
      1. Paragard is made of copper, and does not contain hormones. This is the IUD that can last up to 12 years. (The copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception.)
      2. Hormonal IUDS are progestin-only. 
    6. About 99% effective.
  3. Birth Control Shot
    1. Brand name: Depo-Provera
    2. Injection you receive once every 3 months by your healthcare provider. 
    3. Contains progestin. 
    4. About 94% effective. 
  4. Birth Control Vaginal Ring
    1. Brand names: NuvaRing and Annovera
    2. Small, flexible ring that is placed in the vagina, around the cervix. 
    3. How does it work? 
      1. Each NuvaRing can last up to 5 weeks. You replace it about once month, dpending on the ring schedule you choose. 
      2. Each Annovera rings lasts up for 1 year. You leave it in your vagina for 21 days (3 weeks), then take it out for 7 days and safely store it. After 7 ring-free days, put Annovera back in your vagina. 
    4. Contains both estrogen and progestin.
    5. About 91% effective.
  5. Birth Control Patch
    1. Brand names: Xulane and Twirla 
    2. The patch is transdermal - you wear the patch on certain parts of your body and it releases hormones through your skin. You wear the patch on your belly, butt, or back. You also wear the Xulane pill on your upper arm. 
    3. Uses estrogen and progestin. 
    4. You change the patch once every week. 
    5. About 91% effective.
  6. Birth Control Pill 
    1. Most common form of hormonal contraception. 
    2. Hundreds of brand names available. 
    3. Two types:
      1. Combination pill - contains both estrogen and progestin
      2. Mini pill - contains progestin only. 
    4. Taken orally every day around the same time. Mini pills must be taken at the same time every day to ensure effectiveness. 
      1. Helpful hint - set a daily alarm on your phone! 
    5. About 91% effective. 

To learn more about these different types, and for more information on other forms of pregnancy prevention, visit Planned Parenthood's website

Like all prescription medication, there are risks of side effects. Most are short term and will eventually cease. However, it's important to work with your healthcare provider to decide what works best for you. 

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