HORMONAL METHODS


  • Birth Control Pill
  • Who uses it?
  • How do you use it?
  • Where do you get it?
  • How effective are they?
  • STD Protection
  • Pros
  • Cons

The birth control pill is what most people think of as “the pill”. The pill is the most common BC method and is highly effective if taken every day. It contains two hormones.

Females who have the strong self discipline to remember to take a pill at the same time every single day.

Birth control pills are taken by swallowing the pill once a day, every day, for four weeks. For some brands of birth control pills, the last week of the pill pack has no hormones –a “reminder” pill to keep you in the habit of taking a pill each day-for these brands the fourth week of pills does not have to be taken, however you must consult with your clinician about your brand of pills before doing this. The fourth week of your pill pack is when you will get your period. There are also pills you can take to not get your period at all. Talk to your provider about what kinds of pills are best for you.

You can get a prescription for BC pills at a clinic near you.

BC pills are 92-99% effective. They are most effective when taken every day. If you skip a pill during a pill cycle, you may be at higher risk for unintended pregnancy.

NO. For STD protection use condoms with this method.

  • 92-99% effective
  • Can make periods more regular and cramps less painful
  • Can improve acne and PMS
  • Helps protect against uterine and ovarian cancer
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV
  • May cause irregular bleeding. These side effects often disappear over time, or can be helped by changing to a different pill with a different amount of hormones

  • Depo-Provera (Birth Control Shot)
  • Who uses it?
  • Where do you get it?
  • How effective are they?
  • STD Protection
  • Pros
  • Cons

The BC shot (also called Depo-Provera or just Depo) is given at the clinic every 12 weeks to prevent pregnancy. Depo has only one hormone in it, not two like some other methods. This hormone stops the ovaries from releasing an egg so you can’t get pregnant.

Females who don’t mind going to a clinic for a shot every 3 months and are not afraid of needles; people who want completely hidden BC.

You can get the Depo shot at a clinic near you.

The Depo shot is 97-99% effective.

NO. For STD protection use condoms with this method.

  • 97-99% effective
  • Only 4 shots per year and forgettable between shots
  • Private and hidden
  • Initially, women have irregular(even heavier)periods. But after one year on the shot, more than 70% of women have light periods to no period at all
  • Some women may have undesirable side effects while using the birth control shot. But many women adjust to it with few or no problems. Serious problems do not occur often.
  • Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect, especially in the first 6 to 12 months of use.
  • Some women have longer, heavier periods.
  • Some women have increased spotting and light bleeding between periods.

  • Patch
  • Who uses it?
  • How do you use it?
  • Where do you get it?
  • How effective are they?
  • STD Protection
  • Pros
  • Cons

The patch is worn on the skin, similar to a band aid. It has two different hormones in it. Each patch works for one week, then is changed for a new patch. During the fourth week you don’t wear a patch and your period comes.

Females who may have trouble taking a pill every day but can remember to change a patch once a week; people who don’t mind wearing a visible patch on their body.

The patch is worn on the skin like a band aid and releases hormones through the skin. A new patch is worn each week for 3 weeks. During the fourth week no patch is worn and you will get your period. The patch will not fall off during showering or swimming or even with exercise.

You can get a prescription for the patch at a clinic near you.

The patch is 92-99% effective.

No. For STD protection use condoms with this method.

  • 92-99% effective
  • Convenient—easy to use, just apply one patch once a week
  • Can make periods more regular and less painful
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV
  • May cause spotting during the first 1-2 months. Some people don’t like that the patch can be visible

  • Vaginal Ring
  • Who uses it?
  • How do you use it?
  • Where do you get it?
  • How effective are they?
  • STD Protection
  • Pros
  • Cons

The ring is a thin, flexible, plastic ring that is worn inside the vagina to prevent pregnancy. It is sometimes referred to by its brand name, NuvaRing. It comes in one size that works for most women. The ring has two hormones in it: estrogen and progestin. The hormones slowly go into the body through the skin in the vagina. The ring works on a 4-week cycle. A new ring is inserted once a month.

Females who don’t want to take their BC every day but don’t mind changing out a ring once a month; people who are comfortable with inserting a ring into their vagina (similar to tampon insertion).

Insert a new ring into your vagina every month to prevent pregnancy. The hormones in the ring go through the body to prevent ovulation, or release of an egg. The ring must be removed after 3 weeks. During the fourth week you will get your period. After that fourth week a new ring is inserted to protect against pregnancy for one more month.

You can get a prescription for the ring at a clinic near you. A prescription normally covers several months’ worth of rings.

The ring is 92-99% effective.

NO. For STD protection use condoms with this method.

  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Very effective and private
  • Can make periods more regular and less painful
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV
  • May cause spotting during the first 1-2 months

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