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What is Hormonal Birth Control?

Hormonal birth control refers to any contraceptive that works by regulating the changes in hormone levels throughout your menstrual cycle. These contraceptives use synthetic estrogen and progestin to help reduce the risk of becoming pregnant.

How It Works

The hormones in this type of birth control prevent ovulation, meaning that the ovary does not release an egg. In addition, the hormones help thicken the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to penetrate the cervix. Hormonal contraceptives also thin the uterine lining, which lowers the chances that implantation will occur.

Hormonal Birth Control Methods

  • Pill: There are two main types of birth control pills—combined oral contraceptives, which contain both estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only contraceptives, also called the mini-pill.
  • Patch: The contraceptive patch is applied to the skin and continuously releases estrogen and progestin into the body.
  • Ring: The birth control ring is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina where it releases estrogen and progestin into the body.
  • Shot: This hormonal contraceptive contains progestin which is injected into the body.
  • Implant: A birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod that releases hormones after being inserted into the arm by a nurse or doctor.
  • IUD: An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small piece of flexible plastic inserted into the uterus. Hormonal IUDs only contain progestin.
  • Emergency contraception: Ella and Plan B One-Step are emergency contraceptive pills that use hormones to prevent or delay ovulation after having unprotected sex.

Most forms of hormonal birth control must be used at specific times in order to regulate your body’s hormone levels effectively. Exceptions include the implant and the IUD, which can last for several years at a time.

Effectiveness Rates

Hormonal contraceptives are about 92% effective with typical use. With perfect use, these birth control methods are 99.9% effective.

If you’re not sure which type of hormonal birth control is right for you, Nurx™  can help. We’ll connect you with a Nurx™ medical provider so you can discuss your contraceptive options.

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