The Different Types of Hormonal Birth Control Methods

Birth control methods allow women to plan their pregnancies and reduce the risk of abortion. It is also beneficial for older women susceptible to pregnancy risks, including developing gestational diabetes. Birth control methods can either be hormonal or nonhormonal, and the one you choose depends on different factors, such as how well you can tolerate the side effects. However, most people need professional help in selecting the right contraceptive. If this describes your situation, Dr. Nicole Dequattro in Silver Spring can help determine what may work best for you.

Types of hormonal contraceptives


The combined pill is the most common form of oral contraceptive, and it contains estrogen and progestin hormones. It prevents pregnancy through different ways that include:

  • Inhibiting ovulation
  • Thinning the uterus lining
  • Avoid sperm penetration by thickening the cervical mucus.

Besides preventing pregnancy, the pill is associated with other benefits, such as making regular menstrual bleeding. Women who use tablets also report lighter flow and reduced days of bleeding. The drug also helps reduce acne, menstrual cramps, and your risk for anemia and ovarian cancer.

However, a significant downside of the pill is that you need to take it every day for efficacy purposes. The risk of getting pregnant increases when you forget to take the medication, and for this reason, some people find it challenging to use oral contraceptives.

Progestin-only pill

Specialists recommend this type of oral contraceptive for women who cannot or should not take estrogen hormone. Examples include lactating mothers and women who get migraines and hypertension when using the combined pill. It would be best if you took them every day and at the same time to maximize their efficacy. If you are three hours late to take a pill, you should use backup birth control for at least seven days.

Vaginal ring

Similar to the combined pill, vaginal rings contain progestin and estrogen hormones, and as the name suggests, it is inserted into the vagina. Its action method is similar to the pill as it thickens the cervical mucus, prevents ovulation, and keeps the uterus lining thin. You need to let the ring inside for three weeks and leave it out during the fourth week when you experience bleeding. Depending on the brand of your vaginal ring, you can dispose of or re-use it. Inserting and removing the ring is a straightforward process, and most people do not feel the ring in place.

Birth control implant

The implant is a thin plastic road that your physician inserts below your upper arm, and it works by releasing progestin hormone. It can prevent pregnancy for up to three years, but the good news is you can have your specialist remove it earlier if you wish to get pregnant. Implant placement is usually performed in the doctor’s office and takes less than one minute. You may experience a sudden sting as the doctor inserts the implants and you may experience bruising at that site. Backup birth control such as condoms may be a requirement for at least a week, depending on when during your menstrual cycle you got the implant.

If you have been considering birth control, consult with your doctor at Capital Women’s Care to understand the one that is right for you.

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