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    Is Non-Hormonal Birth Control Right for You?

    Is Non-Hormonal Birth Control Right for You?

    Long gone are the times of counting days, taking temperatures, and using the withdrawal method for non-hormonal birth control. While traditional family planning can have a success rate of around 90%, most women can find it cumbersome and mostly ineffective. But for some women hormonal birth control might not be a viable option. So, what are your options? As always, it’s best to speak with a medical professional to discuss what’s best for you. But, here is a short guide to some of the most popular non-hormonal methods that are currently available.


    Male Condoms: Success Rate – 88% – 98%

    The most common form of non-hormonal birth control is the male condom. Typically made of latex, this is used as a sheath over an erect male penis, creating a barrier to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. When done under ideal conditions, the efficacy rate of male condoms is 98%, but typical results usually fall around the range of 88% effective.

    The condom can be considered the most convenient form of birth control if you’re wanting protection during sex and not just every day. It is also the best way to avoid contracting or passing along sexually transmitted infections. Remember, check the expiration dates as the barriers will tend to break down over time and reduce the effectiveness of the product. If you or your partner have a latex allergy, look for alternative materials such as lambskin or polyurethane. (Note that the efficacy rates of lambskin and polyurethane are different to latex for both pregnancy and STI rates, so check with your doctor to see if they are right for you.)


    Diaphragm: Success Rate – 92% – 96%

    The diaphragm is a flexible latex device that is inserted into the vagina before sex preventing sperm from entering the cervix and fertilizing an egg. Typically spermicide is used with the diaphragm to kill any sperm that may enter. It can be considered a convenient form of contraception since it only needs to be worn during sex, and can be inserted several hours before, not necessarily at the last minute. Diaphragms can be fitted to your vagina and your doctor will show you how to insert your diaphragm during your appointment.

    It’s important to note that you must leave your diaphragm in for at least six hours after sex to make sure you are protected against pregnancy. The diaphragm will help protect you against STI’s just as a male condom will. If you’ve had a recent change in weight of around 10lbs, or have a baby, miscarriage, or abortion, you may need to be fitted for a new diaphragm.


    The IUD: Success Rate – 99%

    The Intrauterine Device, or IUD for short, is a small device consisting of plastic and copper. It is fitted into the womb by a physician or experienced nurse. Baring a tubal ligation, it is the most effective non-hormonal birth control on the market. Depending on the type of IUD, sometimes known as a coil, it has an efficacy rate of 99%. I can also last five to 10 years.

    If you’ve been used to taking hormonal birth control, it may take anywhere from three to six months to adjust. One of the downsides of the IUD is the possibility of heavier or more painful periods. It’s suggested you give the IUD at least three months before making the decision to remove it. If your family plans change, all you need to do is make an appointment for removal!


    Tubal Ligation: Success Rate – 99%

    Tubal Ligation, also known as a tubectomy, is best described as the female vasectomy. In this procedure, the fallopian tubes are clipped and either sealed or severed. This prevents the egg from reaching the uterus for implantation. It is considered a major surgery that requires a patient to undergo some form of anesthesia. The surgeon will make a small incision on either side of the abdomen just under the bellybutton.

    There is a less than 1% failure rate with tubal ligation. Also,15-25% of those cases are likely to be ectopic pregnancies. Most failures will occur a year or more post-surgery. It is important to know that a tubal ligation is considered a permanent birth control method. If you think you might consider children in the future, this one is not for you.


    As with any major medical or health decision, consult with your OB/GYN to discuss which option is right for you.

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