Hormonal birth control is a great option for a lot of people. It provides high reliability and efficacy with ease of use. But not everyone wants to use a hormonal birth control option. Some women are worried about the effects a hormonal option might have on their body. The good news here is there are some great non hormonal birth control options for you.
If you’re not sure what’s out there that’s okay. Sometimes doctors don’t readily present these options or down play them for their hormonal counterpart. So, let’s talk about what options you have and what makes them great or not so great. Here are five non hormonal birth control options you should try. (If you want to.)
A diaphragm is a dome shaped piece of flexible silicone that you insert prior to having sex. It forms a barrier around your cervix that prevents sperm from getting in. You will usually want to fill the diaphragm with spermicide to make it as effective as possible.
Diaphragms work really well, but they do require practice to get it just right. If you need something that is going to be more infallible, this may not be an option for you. It does have a failure rate of up to 20% with typical use, which is high compared to other methods.
Spermicide comes in many forms, but most commonly can be found in gels and films that you insert into your vagina. They work by killing the sperm that enters your vagina during sex. It’s a great option if you don’t want to use condoms and trust that your partner doesn’t have an STD.
Keep in mind that spermicide can’t be used during oral sex so if that’s part of your foreplay, you’ll want to put the spermicide in after that. It can break up the flow of your fun a little sometimes, but all birth control options have their drawbacks.
There are several brands out there and you can find most of them over the counter. If you aren’t sure what would be right for you, try asking your doctor. They can help steer you away from anything that might cause you problems based on your health history.
3. Cervical Caps
These are kind of the same idea as a diaphragm but you can leave them in for longer. They’re also not the same shape as a diaphragm. While a diaphragm is more of a dome shape, the cervical cap is shaped more like a top hat. It still covers your cervix to prevent pregnancy, though.
You can insert it up to six hours before sex and leave it in for up to 48 hours. Just make sure you talk to your doctor about this option. It’s not prescribed as often as other things in the US and it can take some practice to use it perfectly.
4. Copper IUDs
A copper IUD is a good option for anyone wanting long lasting pregnancy prevention. Once inserted by your doctor, the copper IUD (also know as ParaGaurd) lasts up to 10 years. It works by making your uterus a toxic environment for sperm to live in.
They’re highly effective. In fact, once you have it inserted the ParaGaurd IUD is over 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. That’s a pretty awesome track record. Just make sure you talk to your doctor about potential side effects and risks.
Inserting the IUD is uncomfortable and keeping it in does carry some risks. Some women also report having heavier and longer periods with a copper IUD. An open conversation with your doctor about these things will help you figure out if this is the right option for you.
It might seem obvious but sometimes we don’t talk enough about how great condoms are. If you’ve been with someone before it might be tempting to forget the condom and just have fun without it. Condoms do prevent STDs unlike other birth control options. But they also prevent pregnancy.
Condoms are highly effective and pretty easy to use. They’re also very affordable and 98% effective when used correctly. Just because they’re one of the most basic options doesn’t mean you should brush them off. They’re non-hormonal, easy to carry around, and you don’t have to plan ahead. Just open when needed and go for it.
Final Thoughts On Non Hormonal Birth Control
Non hormonal birth control gives you the chance to start trying to get pregnant as soon as you want to. They’re a lot more flexible than other options on the market. Some are even available without a prescription. Just make sure you’re still asking questions if you aren’t sure what’s right for you.
Your doctor still can help steer you in the right direction even if they don’t have to write a prescription for the choice you make. Once you figure out what works for you, get down and dirty as much as you want. You’ll be protected and ready to have all the fun you can.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.