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Birth Control Questions We Get Most Often

Birth Control Questions We Get Most Often

Dr. Jerome Washington and our team at LUNA MEDSPA & WASHINGTON OB-GYN, P.A., in San Antonio, Texas, offer a range of birth control options, and we know you have questions. To help you navigate the different types and find the one that works best for you, here are some of the most common questions we hear from our patients. 

1. What should I consider when choosing my birth control?

When choosing your birth control, taking these three factors into account can help:

Your health and medical history

Most forms of birth control are safe and effective for most women, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you have a history of blood clots, you should steer clear of hormonal birth control containing a combination of progesterone and estrogen. Dr. Washington goes over your health history to make sure your birth control is safe for you.

Your preferences 

For many women, taking a daily pill is a comforting routine that makes them feel in control, but some women find it an annoying chore that they sometimes forget. If you have sex infrequenctly, a barrier method that you use only when you need it may be better for you than methods that prevent pregnancy 24/7 all year long.

Bonus features

All birth control methods share the same goal of preventing pregnancy, but some come with additional benefits. For instance, some hormonal contraceptives can regulate your periods, relieve menstrual cramps, and even reduce acne.

2. What’s the most effective birth control?

Only abstinence is 100% effective, although most birth control methods are very close. The most effective one is the one you use correctly. 

For example, if you miss doses of your oral birth control pills and have unprotected sex, you may get pregnant. And even when their partner uses a condom, about 15% of women get pregnant either because of product defects or user error.

3. Hormonal vs. nonhormonal birth control: Which is best?

Nonhormonal birth control — such as condoms, diaphragms, copper IUDs, and spermicides — offer on-demand protection, have fewer side effects, and are safe for people with certain health conditions and for people who smoke. And condoms are the only way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. 

Hormonal birth control provides continuous pregnancy protection. In addition to an oral pill, you can recieve hormonal birth control in the form of a patch, implant, injection, vaginal ring, or IUD. Although it offers non-stop protection, hormonal birth control methods also have some side effects that may affect your health if you have migraines, hypertension, or a history of blood clots or breast cancer. 

4. When does birth control start working?

If you choose a barrier method of birth control, you’re instantly protected against pregnancy. 

Birth control pills can take two days to a week before they kick in, so it’s important to talk to Dr. Washington about the first day of effectiveness. Hormonal IUDs and implants take about a week to start working unless you start them on the first day of your period, in which case they’re immediately effective.

5. Can anything make my birth control less effective?

Yes. Aside from incorrect use, some medications and supplements can interfere with your hormonal birth control.

Certain antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control. And the supplement St. John’s wort may do the same. Dr. Washington makes sure you know about all possible drugs and supplements that don’t mix well with your birth control method.

6. Does my birth control have any side effects?

Nonhormonal birth control methods have almost no side effects. The exception is the copper IUD, which may cause painful periods for some women.

Hormonal birth control methods have potential side effects, but not every woman experiences them. They may include:

Some hormonal birth control methods also put you at greater risk for:

It’s important to talk to Dr. Washington about your health history, your family’s health history, and all medications and supplements you take so he can guide you toward the safest and most effective birth control method.

7. Will birth control affect my fertility if I want to get pregnant later?

No. As soon as you stop your birth control method, you can start trying to get pregnant right away. Studies show that 83% of women get pregnant within the first year after ceasing their contraception, which is on par with the rate of conception for all couples regardless of prior use of birth control.

For more help navigating your birth control choices, call LUNA MED SPA & WASHINGTON OB-GYN, P.A., today or book an appointment online.

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