If you’re having issues with your birth control pill, know that you have options — you probably don’t even realize how many! There are patches, shots, IUDs, lots of different pill formulas (just for starters) so if you’re not 100% happy with your current birth control method it’s time to consider them. Want a different schedule, fewer side effects, or some other birth control feature? We’ve collected some of the most common birth control pill complaints and suggested alternatives.
Issue: “I can’t be bothered with a daily pill”
If you often forget to take your pill, whether because your schedule makes it tricky or you’re just forgetful, then consider a birth control method that doesn’t require daily attention. For example, the birth control patch, which you only have to change once a week. Just place it on your stomach, back, upper arm, or another area of your choice, replace it once a week for three weeks, then remove it before repeating the cycle. Like combination birth control pills it contains both progestin and estrogen to prevent your body from ovulating, and is 99% effective when you use it right.
For an option you only need to think about once a month, try the NuvaRing, a small, flexible plastic ring you place inside your vagina that releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. You leave the Nuvaring in for three weeks, then remove it and wait a week (when you’ll have your period), then insert a new Nuvaring. Want an even more low-effort option? The birth control shot is a great choice. Also called Depo-Provera or depo, the birth control shot is given only once every three months and includes progestin, a hormone that prevents you from ovulating.
Whenever you switch to a new hormonal birth control method like the patch, NuvaRing, or birth control shot, you will need to use a backup method of birth control for up to seven days after starting.
Issue: “I don’t like my pill’s side effects.”
If the birth control you currently take causes unpleasant side effects — whether too much spotting, headaches, water retention, or other problems — know that there are many pill varieties to choose from, and a different formula might make you feel better. If your side effects are caused by the hormone estrogen, you might try a progestin-only pill (or “minipill”) instead. Or you might experience fewer side effects on a triphasic pill (which changes the hormone levels each week), or a low-estrogen pill. Nurx offers more than 50 different types of birth control pills including Yaz, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and Camrese Lo, and we can guide you to the formula that’s ideal for you. Just reach out to the Nurx health care team for help.
Issue: “My period is still too much.”
Although all hormonal birth control methods should result in lighter periods and fewer PMS symptoms, if your period still brings too much hassle or suffering, consider a birth control pill option like Seasonique, which allows you to have just four periods a year, or a pill with a shortened placebo week, which will reduce the length of your period. If you suffer from premenstrual polymorphic disorder (PMDD), an extreme form of PMS, consider trying the birth control pills Yaz, Ocella, or Beyaz, all of which have been approved for the treatment of PMDD.
Issue: “I don’t want to think about birth control for years.”
If you’re looking for a more long-term solution than even the shot, consider an intrauterine device (IUD), a small T-shaped piece of plastic that a health care provider implants in your uterus. Five brands offer FDA-approved IUDs, some of which use hormones and some of which do not. A hormonal IUD can stay in for 3-7 years, depending on the brand, while a copper IUD can stay in for up to 12 years. Once the IUD is in, you don’t have to do anything until it’s time to replace it. If you want to get pregnant during that time period, you can always have the device removed by a provider. Although some spotting is normal while your body adjusts to a new birth control method, many women find that this side effect diminishes quickly with a hormonal IUD, and their periods often disappear entirely.
Deciding on a birth control method is a personal decision that can impact how you feel, so make sure to consider all your options before you move forward. If you don’t love the one you’re currently using, talk to one of our health care providers at Nurx to find the method that will work best with your body and your life.
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