choosing your method

There are many different options when choosing a birth control method. Some people want to only prevent pregnancy, others wish to decrease symptoms associated with menstruation while other methods are used to help prevent STIs. 

Whichever method you decide to use is your own personal choice. 
You will know which method is ‘right’ for you and should not be afraid to try different options. Take my personal case for example, I was on the pill for 8 years and felt that it was taking a toll on my body. I decided to make the switch to a copper IUD and could not be happier with the results from this hormone free method.
Check out this break down of the most popular birth control options. Remember, there is no “best” method as each has its own pros and cons. 

1. OCP (Oral Contraceptive Pills)
= “The Pill” most often contains the hormones progestin and estrogen in varying doses.  It is taken every day around the same time to ensure the ovaries do not release an egg. It also changes the lining of the uterus and the cervical mucus to keep the sperm from joining the egg. Antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of the pill.

Effectiveness: 96-99% if taken properly
  • Reversible
  • Often decreases menstrual cramps
  • Protects against ovarian and uterine cancer

  • Needs to be taken daily 
  • Risk of increased blood clots, stroke, depression, mood swings, migraines and yeast infections
  • Can cause vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and folate deficiencies
  • No protection for STI’s
  • Caution if you smoke, are older than 35 years old or have a history of blood clots

2. IUD (Intrauterine Device)
= Copper or plastic device inserted into the uterus for 5-10 years
Copper (Non-Hormonal) (eg. ParaGard) – releases a small amount of copper into the uterus, which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.
Hormonal (eg. Mirena) – Releases progestin which keeps the ovaries from releasing an egg and it also causes the cervical mucus to thicken so the sperm cannot reach the egg.

Effectiveness: 97-99%
  • Inexpensive
  • Reversible
  • Lasts for 5-10 years
  • No planning
  • Can cause decreased cramping or bleeding

  • Must be inserted by a medical doctor
  • Increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • Can cause increased cramping or bleeding
  • Can increase the risk of PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
  • No protection for STI’s

3. BBT (Basal Body Temperature)
BBT is based on the fact that a woman’s temperature decreases 12-24 hours before an egg is released. However, the temperature drop is only about 1 degree F or 0.5 degree C.
A woman should refrain from having sex from the time her temperature decreases until at least 48-72 hours after her temperature increases.

Effectiveness: 90% if done properly
  • No drugs
  • Free
  • Increases awareness of your body

  • No protection for STI’s
  • Must remember to record temperature every day
  • No sex during ‘fertile’ time

4. Barrier (Cervical Cap, Diaphragm)  
=Blocks sperm from entering the cervix and reaching the egg   
You must add spermicide (kills sperm) to the device before having sex

Effectiveness: 82-94%
  • Non-invasive
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be inserted up to 6 hours before sex

  • When used improperly has a 20% failure rate
  • Must be fitted by a doctor initially
  • Must be left in for 8 hours after sex
  • No protection for STI’s
  • Increases chances of UTI (urinary tract infection)
  • Higher failure rate if having sex more than 3 times a week

5. Vaginal Ring (eg. NuvaRing)
=Plastic ring inserted into the vagina every month that releases estrogen and progestin

Effectiveness: 92%
  • Reversible
  • No daily pill
  • You insert it yourself

  • Have to remove it after 3 weeks and replace it one week later
  • Increases risk of vaginal infections and irritations
  • No protection for STI’s
  • Can cause weight gain or loss, headaches, nausea, bloating, decreased libido, vomiting and depression
  • It can fall out; if it is out of place for 3 hours its effectiveness is compromised

6. The Shot (Depo-Provera)
= Injection of progesterone (progestin) every 3 months by your doctor
This works the same way as an OCP

Effectiveness: 99%
  • Continuous protection if the shots are kept up
  • Mostly reversible
  • Do not need to take a daily pill
  • Reduces risk of endometrial cancer

  • Injections 4 times a year by MD
  • Increases appetite, weight gain, bleeding, headache and depression
  • Stops menstruation after 1 year of use and it can take a year for fertility to return
  • Decreases bone mineral density
  • No protection for STI’s

7. Condoms
Never use a male and a female condom at the same time.
Keep condoms in a dry and cool place because the latex can break down and can tear/break if kept in a hot place (ie. wallet, pocket or glove compartment).

Effectiveness: 88-98%; depending if used properly
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Protects against STIs and HPV

  • They break
  • Some people have a latex sensitivity
  • Decreased spontaneity 

Always talk to your primary healthcare physician about which option is best for you. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions!

best in health, 
kate kokoski 



Anonymous said...

I have heard great things about the Lady Comp. It is expensive as an up front cost, but from what I have heard, very effective if used properly and no drugs!

Could you comment on your thoughts about it?


Kate Kokoski said...

Thank you for your comment and question!

The Lady Comp is a way to measure and keep track of your basal body temperature. I personally have never used this machine or this method of birth control.

It has the same setbacks and advantages as any basal body temperature method of birth control as stated in the post.

Hope this is helpful!

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