The Varying Forms of Birth Control

Did you know that if you want to prevent unwanted pregnancy, you have a lot of different options? There are actually quite a few different ways to go about doing so, but each one carries its own risk. Here are some of the more popular forms of birth control, and the most common side effects associated with each one.

The Pill

The most popular form is still a birth control pill, also called a combination pill. This pill gives the female body a little hormone boost to trick it into thinking that it isn’t time to ovulate. It can help even out a period cycle, make cramping less severe, and it’s 99% effective when taken properly. There are many different types of “the pill.”

The problem with the pill, however, is that many women find as though they don’t quite feel themselves while on it. They are irritable, have trouble focusing, and overall just don’t like those extra hormones. In addition, the pill can cause dangerous blood clots in smokers and those over 35 years old.

Vaginal Ring

A vaginal ring, often called by its brand name of NuvaRing, is a small flexible ring that fits inside the vagina. It delivers essentially the same type of hormone burst as the pill does, but it is slow release and there is no need to worry about taking a pill at the same time each month. After 3 weeks it is removed and the cycle completes naturally.

The biggest problems are similar to those as the pill. It can cause irritability and blood clots if not used properly. Some who have certain cancers shouldn’t use it.


This is similar to the ring, but totally enclosed. It is fitted over the cervix and literally stops the sperm from reaching the egg. To be effective it must be used with a spermacide.

Those who are prone to weight fluctuations, bladder infections, or who have had toxic shock syndrome should avoid using this product.

Intrauterine Devices

Commonly called IUD’s, these devices are implanted in the uterus. They are either copper (a natural spermacide) or have slow-release hormones that help prevent pregnancy. They can actually be placed inside the female and be effective for years on end.

They cost a lot to have inserted and removed, and they can have some serious side effects. There are reports of an IUD tearing or perforating the uterine wall, and other reports that it actually is expelled from the uterus.


Other than the pill, the condom is likely the most popular form of birth control. It is the only birth control that is used on the male, and it is only used when needed.

Most side effects are rare, but they do happen. Condoms can break and be ineffective, and the wearer may have an allergic reaction to the latex rubber used in their production.

Other Forms of Birth Control

There are actually a number of other forms, but they are increasingly rare. How a person decides to protect against unwanted pregnancy is up to them, and should be discussed with their doctor. Keep in mind that no form is 100% effective, and most do not stop the transmission of STD’s.