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Birth control options: Things to consider

Birth control options: Things to consider

Choosing a method of birth control can be difficult. Know the options and how to pick the type of contraception that’s right for you.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you’re considering using birth control (contraception), you have a variety of options. To help pick the right method of birth control for you and your partner, consider the following questions.

What birth control options are available?

Your birth control options include:

  • Barrier methods. Examples include male and female condoms, as well as the diaphragm, cervical cap and contraceptive sponge.
  • Short-acting hormonal methods. Examples include birth control pills, as well as the vaginal ring (NuvaRing), skin patch (Xulane) and contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera). These are considered short-acting methods because you have to remember to use them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • Long-acting hormonal methods. Examples include the copper IUD (ParaGard), the hormonal IUD (Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, others) and the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon). These are considered long-acting methods because they last for three to 10 years after insertion — depending on the device — or until you decide to have the device removed.
  • Sterilization. This is a permanent method of birth control. Examples include tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.
  • Fertility awareness methods. These methods focus on knowing which days of the month you are able to get pregnant (fertile), often based on basal body temperature and cervical mucus. To avoid getting pregnant, you do not have sex on or around the days you are fertile, or you use a barrier method of birth control.

It’s also important to be aware of emergency contraception — such as the morning-after pill (Plan B One-Step, Aftera, ella, others) — which can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.

How do the different birth control options work?

Various types of birth control work in different ways. Birth control methods may:

  • Prevent sperm from reaching the egg
  • Inactivate or damage sperm
  • Prevent an egg from being released each month
  • Alter the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg doesn’t attach to it
  • Thicken cervical mucus so that sperm can’t easily pass through it

What is the method’s effectiveness?

To be effective, any method of contraception must be used consistently and correctly. Contraceptives that require little effort on your part, such as IUDs, contraceptive implants and sterilization, are associated with lower pregnancy rates. In contrast, methods that require monitoring fertility or periodic abstinence are associated with higher pregnancy rates.

Is it reversible?

The method of contraception you choose depends on your reproductive goals. If you’re planning pregnancy in the near future, you may want a method that’s easily stopped or quickly reversible, such as a short-acting hormonal method or a barrier method. If you want to prevent pregnancy for a longer amount of time, you may consider a long-acting method, such as an IUD. If you’re certain that you don’t want to get pregnant at any time in the future, you may prefer a permanent method, such as sterilization. You may find that different contraceptive options work for you at different stages of your life.

Is it compatible with your religious beliefs or cultural practices?

Some forms of birth control are considered a violation of certain religious laws or cultural traditions. Weigh the risks and benefits of a birth control method against your personal convictions.

Is it convenient and affordable?

It’s important to choose a type of birth control that suits your lifestyle. For some people, the most convenient form of birth control may be one that is easy to use, has no bothersome side effects or does not disrupt the sexual experience. For others, convenience means no prescription is required. When choosing a method of birth control, consider how willing you are to plan ahead or follow a rigid medication schedule.

Some methods of contraception are inexpensive, while others are more costly. Ask your insurance provider about your coverage, and then consider the expense as you make a decision.

What are the side effects?

Consider your tolerance for the possible side effects associated with a particular birth control method. Some methods pose more side effects — some potentially serious — than others. Talk to your doctor about your medical history and how it might affect your choice of birth control.

Does it protect against sexually transmitted infections?

Male and female condoms are the only methods of birth control that offer reliable protection from sexually transmitted infections. Unless you are in a mutually monogamous relationship and have been tested for sexually transmitted infections, use a new condom every time you have sex in addition to any other method of birth control you use.

Does it offer other benefits?

In addition to preventing pregnancy, some contraceptives provide benefits such as more predictable, lighter menstrual cycles, a decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections or a reduction in the risk of some cancers. If these benefits are important to you, they may influence your choice of birth control option.

Is it acceptable to your sexual partner?

Your partner may have birth control preferences that are similar to or different from your own. Discuss birth control options with your partner to help determine which method is acceptable to both of you.

What’s the bottom line?

The best method of birth control for you is one that is safe, that you are comfortable using, and that you are able to use consistently and correctly. Your preferred method of birth control may change over your lifetime and is influenced by many different factors, including:

  • Your age and health history
  • Your reproductive goals, such as the number of children you want and how soon you want to get pregnant
  • Relationship factors, including marital status, number of sexual partners, how often you have sex and partner preferences
  • Religious beliefs
  • Differences between birth control methods, including how effective they are at preventing pregnancy, side effects, cost and whether they prevent sexually transmitted infections

Knowing your options is definitely part of the decision process — but an honest assessment of yourself and your relationships is just as important when deciding which type of birth control is right for you.

Feb. 06, 2020

Show references

  1. Contraception. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm. Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
  2. Birth control methods. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/birth-control-methods. Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
  3. Dehlendorf C. Contraceptive counseling and selection for women. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
  4. Hatcher RA, et al. Choosing among contraceptive methods. In: Managing Contraception 2019-2020: For your pocket. 15th ed. Bridging the Gap Foundation; 2020.
  5. Hatcher RA, et al., eds. Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In: Contraceptive Technology. 21st ed. Ayer Company Publishers; 2018.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Contraception. Mayo Clinic; 2019.

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Natural, hormonal, implanted, and others

With so many choices when it comes to birth control, how do you decide which method is best? In this article, we will cover the most common forms of birth control and discuss their reliability and safety.

The decision to use birth control and the method of choice is a personal one. A healthcare provider or birth control clinic can guide the decision and advise which method may be best for each individual to safely and effectively prevent pregnancy.

While most methods of birth control are highly effective when used correctly, there is always a chance that any method will fail. Weighing the options with a doctor and partner is an important part of the decision-making process.

Some things to consider when choosing a birth control method are:

  • The individual’s health status.
  • The desire for children in the future.
  • Frequency of sexual contact and number of sex partners.
  • Safety and efficacy of chosen method.
  • Level of personal comfort with the chosen method.

Fast facts on birth control:

  • An estimated 45 percent of American pregnancies were unintended in 2011.
  • Around 65 percent of women of reproductive age are using contraceptives.
  • The most common form of contraceptive used by women is the contraceptive pill.

There are several methods of birth control that require no device or medication, but they may be less reliable than other options.


Abstinence is a method of birth control that can be defined in different ways and includes no intercourse at all to simply no vaginal penetration.

Not having any sexual intercourse including vaginal, anal, or oral, is referred to as continuous abstinence and is the only way to 100 percent avoid both pregnancy and contracting an STD.

Abstinence is both safe and effective and has many benefits; there are no side effects and it is free. However, there are times when abstinence is difficult to maintain.


Share on PinterestThe likelihood of conceiving before a baby is 6 months are lower if the mother is breast-feeding.

Breast-feeding is not considered a method of birth control beyond 6 months of age, but the chances of becoming pregnant before the baby is 6 months are lower when exclusively breast-feeding.

Exclusive breast-feeding means the baby is at the breast for all feedings, day and night. After delivery, exclusively breast-feeding mothers will not get their periods.

Once the baby gets anything other than breast-milk by mouth, even for one feeding, even with previously pumped breastmilk, the mother’s body will ovulate and the menstrual cycles will continue.

What makes this method less than ideal is that the woman will ovulate first and then about 2 weeks later get her first period once the cycles have begun again. It is unlikely she will know she has ovulated and if she has unprotected intercourse, she will get pregnant and never get her first period.

Most doctors will recommend another birth control method in addition to breast-feeding. The benefits of this method of birth control are its safety, efficacy, convenience, and low cost (free). Breast-feeding itself has lifelong health benefits for both the mother and baby.

Some of its disadvantages include the need for exclusive breast-feeding and reduced vaginal lubrication. When used correctly, approximately 2 percent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy, but this method is less likely to be used correctly.


One definition of outercourse is no vaginal intercourse but the practice of other forms of sexual activity; the other definition is no oral, anal, or vaginal penetration.

Examples of outercourse include kissing, masturbation, manual stimulation, body-to-body rubbing, fantasy, sex toys, oral, and anal sex.

This method of birth control is a nearly 100 percent effective if carefully used, but it is seldom carefully used. Sometimes, semen or pre-ejaculate can come in contact with the vagina, making conception a risk.

Because sperm are mobile, they can find their way inside the vagina and up to the egg. Benefits of outercourse include its safety, lack of side effects, decreased risk of fluid exchange, and new relationship and sexual experiences.

The disadvantages include difficulty abstaining and the potential for vaginal contact with sperm. Outercourse does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases.

Hormonal contraception can be administered in a variety of ways, including pills, patches, injections, intrauterine devices, and vaginal rings.

Serious risks associated with hormonal contraception include heart attack, stroke, blood clots (higher in patch users), high blood pressure, liver tumors, gallstones, jaundice (skin yellowing).

These risks are higher in some women, including women who are:

  • 35 or older
  • overweight
  • have a history of certain inherited blood-clotting disorders
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • on prolonged bed rest
  • smokers

Hormonal methods do not protect against sexually transmitted disease and a condom will need to be used as well if either partner has had intercourse before.


Contraceptive pills contain either a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin or just progestin. Contraceptive pills are an extremely effective method of pregnancy prevention, however, as with all other methods, they must be used correctly.

With correct use, only 1 percent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy.

The pill works less well in women who are taking:

  • certain antibiotics
  • antifungals
  • some HIV drugs
  • anti-seizure medications
  • St. John’s wort

It can also work less well in women who are overweight or experiencing diarrhea and vomiting.

Common side effects include:

  • bleeding between periods
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • gut disturbances
  • weight gain
  • mood changes
  • visual problems

Benefits of taking the pill include:

  • improved menstrual cramps
  • lighter periods
  • some pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) protection
  • reduced bone thinning
  • improved acne
  • protection against certain cancers, ectopic pregnancy, and benign breast growths

Additionally, the pill can help reduce iron deficiency anemia and PMS symptoms.


Hormonal patches deliver certain hormones through the skin providing an effective form of birth control.

When used as directed, the patch is very effective, with less than 1 percent of women having an unintended pregnancy.

The patch is less effective in women who are overweight, or taking any of the medications mentioned in the contraceptive pill section above.

Common side effects experienced with patches include intermenstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, and nausea or vomiting.


Given every 3 months, DepoProvera is an injectable form of birth control that uses the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy.

When used correctly, this is a highly effective method of birth control with less than 1 percent of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy.

Benefits of injectable birth control include its safety and convenience, uterine cancer prevention, safety with breastfeeding, and lack of estrogen.

Side effects can include:

  • irregular bleeding
  • heavy periods
  • libido changes
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • abnormal hair growth
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • breast tenderness

Additionally, after stopping the injections, there is a delay before normal fertility returns.

Risks associated with DepoProvera include bone thinning, with an increased risk of fracture, osteoporosis, and ectopic pregnancy.

Vaginal rings

NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring that is inserted and left in the vagina for 3 weeks out of each 4-week menstrual cycle. Estrogen and progestin are released into the vagina, providing effective birth control.

When used correctly, this is a highly effective method of birth control, with less than 1 percent of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy.

Benefits of use include its safety and convenience, as well as quick restoration of fertility, lighter periods, some pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) protection, reduced bone thinning, improved acne, protection against certain cancers, ectopic pregnancy, and benign breast growths.

Additionally, the NuvaRing can help reduce iron deficiency anemia and symptoms of PMS.

Side effects can include:

  • bleeding between periods
  • breast tenderness
  • GI disturbances
  • vaginal discharge
  • irritation
  • infection

Intrauterine devices

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus by a doctor.

Currently, there are three IUDs available in the United States, the hormonal Mirena and Skyla IUDs and the non-hormonal copper IUD, Paragard. Less than 1 percent of women experience an unintended pregnancy with IUDs.

The Mirena can be left in place for 5 years, Skyla for 3, and Paragard for 10-12 years. While generally safe, the IUD cannot be used by all women.

Because this is a foreign device inserted into the vagina, the incidence of infection increases; therefore, this method is recommended for women who are in a monogamous relationship. As with any medication or device, there are risks and side effects. Depending on the IUD used, it can fall out, or cause:

  • uterine cramps
  • heavy periods
  • intermenstrual bleeding
  • an infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • infertility
  • uterine perforation

In addition, women who become pregnant are at a higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy, pelvic infection, miscarriage, danger to the baby, and pre-term labor.

The benefits of having an IUD include long-term pregnancy prevention, they are safe when used during breastfeeding, fertility is easily restored following removal, hormonal IUDs can help with menstrual cramps and bleeding, and Paragard does not have an effect on hormone levels.

Implantable rod

Another form of implanted birth control is the small implantable rod, Implanon or Nexplanon. Placed under the skin in the upper arm, this form of implantable hormonal birth control provides pregnancy prevention for 3 years. However, not all women can use this type of device.

This is a safe and highly effective form of birth control with less than 1 percent of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy during use.

The benefits of this method of birth control are numerous and include easy fertility restoration following its removal, safe use during breastfeeding, it does not contain estrogen, it is long-lasting, and does not require daily medication.

Side effects can include:

  • irregular menstrual bleeding
  • heavy periods
  • acne
  • weight gain
  • ovarian cysts
  • mood changes/depression
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • upset stomach or nausea
  • dizziness
  • breast soreness
  • decreased sex drive
  • insertion site pain
  • skin scarring
  • infection

Also, certain medications can make it less effective.

When choosing permanent sterilization, it is important to be sure that you have completed child bearing or do not desire to become pregnant.

Permanent sterilization in women can be achieved by surgery, such as getting your “tubes tied” or the non-surgical approach using an implant. Men can undergo a vasectomy.

Benefits of female sterilization include its permanency and the fact that it is accomplished without disturbing natural hormones. Its permanency and limited reversibility can also be seen as disadvantages if the individual changes their mind following sterilization.

Types of female sterilization include:

Tubal ligation

During a tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are surgically severed. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including tying and cutting, sealing, clamping, or removing a portion of the tube itself.

Tubal ligation is highly effective with less than 1 percent of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy.

Tubal implant (Essure)

This non-surgical method of sterilization involves the placement of a coiled implant into the fallopian tube which will scar over – blocking the tubes – approximately 3 months after insertion.

Less than 1 percent of women experience an unintended pregnancy.

Risks associated with this form of sterilization include incorrect placement, implant dislodgement, incomplete scarring within the expected timeframe. Rarely, women will experience menstrual changes, infection, pain, and fluid build-up in the blood.

Male sterilization

Men can undergo permanent sterilization by having a vasectomy. During this procedure, a man’s vas deferens, which transport sperm, are blocked or closed to prevent conception.

After 3 months, there should be no sperm in the fluid a man ejaculates during orgasm. He will need to undergo a semen analysis to ensure that there is no sperm present in the ejaculate.

Vasectomy is a very effective form of birth control with a nearly 100 percent success rate; less than 1 percent of men will experience their vas deferens re-connecting.

Having a vasectomy has many benefits including its permanency (which can also be a drawback), non-hormonal approach, and it does not affect erection or sex organs.

As with any procedure, there are some risks, including:

  • infection
  • bruising
  • hematoma
  • hydrocele
  • granuloma
  • pain
  • tube re-connection (rare)
  • decreased libido or inability to have an erection (rare)

At times, male sterilization can be reversed, however, there is no guarantee that there will be successful restoration of fertility.

Morning after pill

Share on PinterestThe morning after pill, pictured here, contains powerful hormones that can prevent and unintended pregnancy.

Levonorgestrel (e.g. Next Choice One Dose and Plan B) or ulipristal acetate (Ella) are forms of the morning after pill and should be taken as soon as possible following unprotected intercourse to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Many single dose morning after pills are available over the counter, however, some pills, such as those with two doses, require a prescription in women under 16 depending on the state; Ella requires a prescription for any woman, regardless of age.

Talk to a pharmacist if you are wanting emergency contraception and need guidance.

When used within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, the levonorgestrel containing pills are about 89 percent effective in preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Although they can be taken up to 120 hours following unprotected sex, the pills efficacy decreases.

Ella, on the other hand, is about 85 percent effective in preventing an unwanted pregnancy for up to 120 hours.

Side effects of the pill are minor and include menstrual changes, breast tenderness, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and nausea and/or vomiting.


The Paragard IUD, not only provides long-term birth control as discussed above, but can also be inserted within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse to avoid pregnancy.

Barrier methods include the male condom, female condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, shield, and sponges.

Male condom

Male condoms are a safe and effective method of birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention; they are most effective when used in combination with spermicide. (Note: natural/lambskin condoms do not protect against STDs.)

Male condoms can be used for vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

When used correctly, only 2 percent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy.

The benefits of condom use include safety, low cost, protection from both pregnancy and STDs, and are widely available over the counter.

Some disadvantages to condom use include latex allergy and change in sexual sensation.


Diaphragms are shallow silicone cups used with spermicide that are inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy. Your doctor will fit you for the correct diaphragm and they can be reused. Spermicidal cream or foam must be used with the diaphragm.

When used correctly, 6 percent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy.

Benefits to diaphragm use include safety, efficacy, convenience, ability to be used when breast-feeding, and no effect on hormones.

Some disadvantages include insertion, timing of placement, potential for dislodging, and the need for re-fitting by a doctor.

Side effects include:

  • potential for allergic reaction
  • frequent urinary tract infections
  • vaginal irritation and the potential for toxic shock syndrome

(Note: The diaphragm must remain in the vagina for 6-8 hours following sex and removed within 24 hours.)

Cervical cap

Cervical cap, marketed in the United States as FemCap, is a silicone cup fitted by a doctor, which sits in the vagina and covers the cervix.

In women who have never had a vaginal birth or been pregnant, 14 percent will experience an unintended pregnancy, rising to 29 percent with a prior vaginal birth.

Benefits to cervical cap use include safety, convenience, use when breastfeeding, and that it does not effect hormones.

Disadvantages include inability to use when menstruating, insertion challenges, timing of placement, potential for dislodging, abnormal pap smears, allergic reactions, potential need for size change following pregnancy, and risk of toxic shock syndrome.

Spermicide is needed when using the cap.

(Note: The cervical cap must remain in the vagina for 6-8 hours following sex and removed within 48 hours.)

Cervical shield

Cervical shield, marketed as Lea’s Shield, is a one-size silicone cup inserted into the vagina covering the cervix. It is recommended that spermicide be used with use. (Note: The cervical shield must remain in the vagina for 6-8 hours following sex and removed within 48 hours.)

Contraceptive sponge

Contraceptive sponges are spermicide-containing, plastic foam disks that are inserted into the vagina; in the U.S., it is marketed under the name Today’s Sponge.

When used correctly in women who have given birth in the past, 20 percent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy.

Benefits of sponge use include safety and convenience, no hormones or need to be fitted, and the ability to use when breast-feeding.

Disadvantages include:

  • spermicide side effects
  • insertion challenges
  • potential to break
  • vaginal irritation
  • vaginal dryness
  • risk of toxic shock syndrome

(Note: Today’s Sponge must remain in the vagina for 6-8 hours following sex and is effective for 24 hours. After 24 hours, it should be removed and replaced following placement in the vagina.)


Spermicides are available in many formulations including foams, gels, creams, films, suppositories, and tablets. These products are intended to kill sperm.

While they can be used alone as birth control, they are best when used in combination with other barrier methods. Spermicide is used with diagrams and cervical caps and can be used with condoms to reduce the chance of pregnancy.

When used correctly, the rate of unintended pregnancy is about 15 percent of women.

Certain medications used to treat yeast infections can negatively impact how well spermicides work.

Benefits to using spermicide include its ease of use and convenience, wide availability, and safety during breast-feeding. Additionally, it does not cause hormonal alterations, as with hormonal preparations of birth control.

Some disadvantages to spermicide use include potential for an allergic reaction or irritation, and solution may leak from the vagina.

Withdrawal method

Withdrawal or the “pull out” method is when a man withdraws the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation. While this method of birth control can be effective, its efficacy is lessened if pre-ejaculate is released into the vagina prior to withdrawing.

When used correctly, 4 percent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy.

premature ejaculation

Speak with your healthcare provider to see what method of birth control is best for you, for detailed instructions on how to use each method or with any questions you may have on pregnancy and STD prevention.

Not all methods prevent STD transmission, so if STD and pregnancy prevention are desired, using one or more methods of birth control may be recommended.

Side effects, risks, alternatives, and the shot

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The oral contraceptive pill is a hormonal method of preventing pregnancy. Side effects are common, and they vary from person to person.

The pill is a type of birth control. It works by preventing the body from producing an egg, which means that there is nothing for sperm to fertilize, and pregnancy cannot occur.

Birth control pills can also help with irregular, painful, or heavy periods, endometriosis, acne, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The specific side effects vary widely among individuals, and different pills cause different side effects. Some common side effects include spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, and headaches.

There are two main types of birth control bill. Combination pills contain estrogen and progestin, which is a synthetic form of the natural hormone progesterone, while the mini pill contains progestin only.

This article looks at 10 common side effects of the pill, as well as its risks, long-term effects, and alternatives. It also discusses the cost of birth control pills and how to get them.

Birth control pills affect a person’s hormone levels, leading to various side effects. These effects usually resolve within 2–3 months, but they can persist.

In the United States, around 12.6% of females aged 15–49 years take oral contraceptive pills. They are safe for most females to use.

If the side effects last for a long time or are very uncomfortable, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider about trying a different brand or a different method of birth control.

The sections below will look at some common side effects of oral contraceptives.

1. Spotting between periods

Breakthrough bleeding, or spotting, refers to when vaginal bleeding occurs between menstrual cycles. It may look like light bleeding or brown discharge.

Spotting is the most common side effect of birth control pills. It happens because the body is adjusting to changing levels of hormones, and the uterus is adjusting to having a thinner lining.

Taking the pill as prescribed, usually every day and at the same time each day, can help prevent bleeding between periods.

Learn more about spotting and birth control here.

2. Nausea

Some people experience mild nausea when first taking the pill, but this usually subsides. Taking the pill with food or at bedtime may help.

Birth control should not make people feel sick all the time. If the nausea is severe or lasts for a few months, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider.

3. Breast tenderness

Taking birth control pills often causes the breasts to feel tender, especially soon after a person starts taking them. Wearing a supportive bra can help reduce breast tenderness.

Along with increased breast sensitivity, the hormones in the pill can make the breasts grow bigger. Learn more here.

A person should talk to their healthcare provider about severe breast pain or other breast changes, especially a new or changing breast lump.

4. Headaches and migraine

The hormones in birth control pills can cause or increase the frequency of headaches and migraine.

Changes in the female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can trigger migraine. Symptoms can depend on the dosage and type of pill. For example, low dose pills are less likely to cause this symptom.

On the other hand, if a person’s migraine is associated with PMS, taking the pill may actually reduce their symptoms.

5. Weight gain

Birth control pills often list weight gain as a possible side effect, though research has not yet confirmed this.

In theory, birth control pills could lead to increases in fluid retention or water weight. They could also lead to increases in fat or muscle mass. However, some people may instead report weight loss when taking the pill.

According to a 2017 article, there has not been enough research to confirm whether the hormones in birth control pills lead to weight gain or weight loss.

6. Mood changes

Hormones play an important role in a person’s mood and emotions. Changes in hormone levels, which taking the pill may cause, can affect a person’s mood.

Some research, including a 2016 study of 1 million females in Denmark, suggests a link between hormonal contraception and depression.

If a person is concerned about mood changes, they can talk to their healthcare provider. If the symptoms are linked to taking the pill, changing pills may help.

Learn more about the link between depression and birth control here.

7. Missed periods

Taking birth control pills can cause very light periods or missed periods. This is because of the hormones they contain.

Depending on the type of birth control, people can use the pill to safely skip a period. Learn more here.

If a person suspects that they may be pregnant, it is best to take a pregnancy test. The birth control pill is very effective, but pregnancies can occur — especially with improper use.

Many factors can cause a late or missed period, including:

  • stress
  • illness
  • travel
  • hormonal problems
  • thyroid problems

Learn about the possible causes of late periods and some reasons that birth control causes missed periods here.

8. Decreased libido

The pill can affect sex drive, or libido, in some people. This is due to hormonal changes.

Other people might experience an increased libido by, for example, removing any concerns they may have had about pregnancy and easing any symptoms of PMS.

9. Vaginal discharge

Changes in vaginal discharge may occur when taking the pill. This may be an increase or a decrease in vaginal lubrication or a change in the nature of the discharge.

If the pill causes vaginal dryness and a person wants to engage in sexual activity, using lubrication can help make this more comfortable.

These changes are not usually harmful, but alterations in color or odor could point to an infection.

Learn about what the different colors of vaginal discharge indicate here.

10. Eye changes

Some research has linked hormonal changes due to the pill with a thickening of the cornea in the eyes. This does not suggest a higher risk of eye disease, but it may mean that contact lenses no longer fit comfortably.

People who wear contact lenses can talk to their ophthalmologist if they notice any changes in their vision or lens tolerance.

The pill is safe for most females to use. However, research has linked its use with certain risks. Therefore, before taking birth control pills, it is important to discuss individual risk factors with a healthcare provider.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, there is evidence to suggest that taking birth control pills may raise a person’s risk of blood clots and high blood pressure, or hypertension. This can lead to heart attack or stroke.

If a blood clot enters the lungs, it can cause serious damage or death. These side effects are serious but rare.

Some research suggests that birth control increases the risk of some forms of cancer and decreases the risk of others.

The pill may not be safe for people who:

A person should see a healthcare provider if the following symptoms occur, as these may indicate a serious health concern:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • chest pain, shortness of breath, or both
  • severe headaches
  • eye problems, such as blurred vision or a loss of vision
  • swelling or aching in the legs and thighs

Birth control pills are safe for most females to use long-term or indefinitely.

However, usage can increase the long-term risk of certain health problems. The following sections will look at these potential effects in more detail.

Cardiovascular problems

Combination pills can slightly increase the risk of serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. The risk is higher with certain pills. A healthcare provider can advise on suitable options.

Anyone who has uncontrolled high blood pressure or a personal or family history of cardiovascular problems should ask their healthcare provider about alternative methods of contraception.


The natural female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) affect the risk of some types of cancer. Likewise, hormone-based birth control methods can increase or decrease the risk of different cancers.

According to the National Cancer Institute, taking birth control pills can affect a person’s risk of certain cancers in the following ways:

  • Breast cancer: The risk of breast cancer is slightly higher in people who use hormonal birth control pills than in people who have never used them.
  • Ovarian and endometrial cancer: These cancers seem to be less likely to occur in people who take the pill.
  • Cervical cancer: Taking the pill for longer than 5 years is linked with a higher risk of cervical cancer. However, most types of cervical cancer are due to the human papillomavirus.
  • Colorectal cancer: Taking the pill is linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

For people who cannot use or do not wish to take the birth control pill, other options are available.

The effectiveness of different methods of birth control vary. With typical use, around 9 out of 100 people using birth control pills will become pregnant within a year.

It is important to note that birth control pills do not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Only barrier methods of protection, such as condoms and dental dams, can prevent STIs.

The sections below will look at some alternative forms of contraception.


Condoms are barrier methods of birth control. There are many types and brands. Most are made from latex, but people with a latex allergy can find polyurethane or lambskin versions.

With typical use, 18 out of 100 people who rely on male condoms for contraception will become pregnant within a year.

People can purchase condoms online here.


A diaphragm is another barrier method of contraception. This is a shallow, dome shaped cup that, when a person places it in the vagina, can prevent sperm from reaching the cervix. People often use diaphragms with spermicide.

With typical use, around 12 out of 100 people who use diaphragms with spermicide will become pregnant within a year.

Vaginal rings

Vaginal rings are plastic rings that release hormones into the vagina to suppress ovulation.

To use a vaginal ring, a person can insert it for 21 days, remove it for 7 days to allow menstruation, and then insert a new ring.

As a hormonal method of birth control, the vaginal ring can have similar side effects to those of the pill.

With typical use, around 9 out of 100 people using vaginal rings will become pregnant within a year.

Intrauterine devices

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small devices that a healthcare provider can insert into the uterus. IUDs can be hormonal or non-hormonal. Hormonal IUDs can last between 5 and 7 years, while non-hormonal IUDs can last for up to 10 years.

With typical use, fewer than 1 out of 100 people who use an IUD will become pregnant within a year.

Hormonal IUDs can have similar side effects to those of the pill. Non-hormonal or copper IUDs can cause spotting, irregular periods, heavier periods, and worsened cramps.

The implant

The contraceptive implant is a small, plastic rod that a healthcare provider can insert into the upper arm. It releases a hormone to prevent pregnancy and can last for 3 years.

With typical use, fewer than 1 out of 100 people with the implant will become pregnant in a year.

As a hormonal method, side effects can be similar to those of the birth control pill.

Birth control injections

Birth control injections, also known as the shot, are hormonal injections that a person can receive every 3 months to prevent pregnancy.

With typical use, around 6 out of 100 people receiving these injections will become pregnant within a year.

The pill and the shot are both hormonal methods of birth control. The main differences are in the method of administration. They might also produce different side effects.

Like the pill, the shot suppresses ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus to reduce the chance of sperm reaching egg cells. It is a progestin-only contraceptive.

The shot is slightly more reliable at preventing pregnancy than the pill. This is because the user does not have to remember to take it every day. However, they must remember to get a shot every 3 months for it to be effective.

Many of the side effects are the same, including:

  • spotting
  • breast tenderness
  • changes in mood
  • headaches
  • missed periods
  • possible weight gain

Long-term use of the shot may lead to bone loss. This might increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture in later life.

Learn more about the benefits and risks of the shot vs. the pill here.

According to Planned Parenthood, for most brands, one pack of birth control pills costs anywhere from $0 to $50. One pack lasts for 1 month.

People might also need to pay for an appointment with a healthcare provider before getting a prescription for birth control pills. This can cost between $35 and $250.

Most insurance companies will cover these appointments under the Affordable Care Act.

Also, most insurance companies will cover all methods of birth control, including the pill. Some plans only cover certain brands or generic forms, however. A person can speak to their insurance provider to find out which types of pill they cover.

People without health insurance may be able to cover the cost of birth control through Medicaid or another governmental program.

In the U.S., a person will need a prescription for birth control pills. Family planning clinics can provide prescriptions.

During an appointment, a healthcare provider will ask about the person’s medical history and physical health to help them work out the most appropriate pill to prescribe.

In some states, a person can get a prescription online or directly from a pharmacist.

Birth control pills contain hormones that affect the body in many ways. Therefore, side effects are common.

Side effects vary widely among individuals and different types of pill. They usually ease within 2–3 months of starting to take the pill.

Each person reacts differently to each pill. A person may need to try a few different types of pill before finding the one that is right for them.

When a person stops taking the pill, their body will return to how it was before they took the pill.

If the side effects are severe, get in the way of daily life, or last for longer than 3 months, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider about trying a different brand or a different method of contraception.

Read the article in Spanish.

Side Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives


Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

Information from Your Family Doctor


Am Fam Physician. 2010 Dec 15;82(12):1509.

See related article on adverse effects of hormonal contraceptives

What are hormonal contraceptives?

Hormonal contraceptives are medicines or devices that can reduce your risk of getting pregnant. They contain hormones called estrogen (ESS-tro-jen) and progestin (pro-JEST-tin). Some contraceptives contain a combination of these hormones, and others contain only progestin. Some types of combination methods are contraceptive pills (also called birth-control pills or “the pill”), a patch that is worn on the skin, and a ring that is placed in the vagina. Progestin-only methods include pills, shots, implants that are placed under the skin, and intrauterine devices (also called IUDs).

What are the side effects?

Most women do not have serious side effects from hormonal contraceptives. If you do have side effects, they will probably go away on their own after a few months. You might have:

  • Weight gain

  • Headaches

  • Sore breasts

  • Irregular periods

  • Mood changes

  • Decreased sexual desire

  • Acne

  • Nausea

Some types of hormonal contraception are more likely to cause certain side effects than others.

What should I do if I have side effects?

If you have side effects that last more than three months, talk to your doctor about switching to another method.

How can I lower my chances of having side effects?

If you are taking the pill, be sure to take one every day. This lowers your risk of bleeding between periods. Progestin-only pills must be taken at the same time each day. The contraceptive patch and ring should be changed according to the schedule given by your doctor.

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This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


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9 types of contraception you can use to prevent pregnancy (with pictures!)

Getting frisky doesn’t have to be risky business – not when there are many contraception methods out there to suit different needs.

Contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy and some types will also protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

You might find yourself asking: Which method will be best for me and my lifestyle? Which method protects against STIs?

What about convenience of use? Possible side-effects? Cost? How effective will it be?

To celebrate World Contraception Day this September 26, join us as we break it down for you by exploring some of the most popular types of contraceptives – with pictures.  Starting with…

The Condom

The condom is the only form of contraception that protects against most STIs as well as preventing pregnancy. This method of contraception can be used on demand, is hormone free and can easily be carried with you. And it comes in male and female varieties.

Male condoms are rolled onto an erect penis and act as a physical barrier, preventing sexual fluids from passing between people during sex. The female condom is placed into the vagina right before sex. Based on typical use, the female condom is not quite as effective as the male latex condom and it may take a little practice to get used to.

Pros include: It’s the best protection against STIs; can be used on demand; hormone free.

Cons include: It can tear or come off during sex if not used properly; some people are allergic to latex condoms.

The Oral Contraceptive Pill

It’s the little tablet taken once a day. The oral contraceptive pill is the most commonly reported method of contraception used by Australian women. There are a few different types of pill to choose from, so it’s about finding the one that’s right for you. The combined pill contains estrogen and progestin and mini pill contains only one hormone, a progestin. The pill can have many benefits, however remembering to take it on time is a must.

Pros of taking the pill include: Highly effective when used correctly; permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex; some pills may even reduce heavy and painful periods and/or may have a positive effect on acne.

Cons include: Forgetting to take your pill means it won’t be as effective; it can only be used by women; is not suitable for women who can’t take oestrogen-containing contraception; it does not protect against STIs.

The pill is only available by getting a prescription from a medical professional so visit your local doctor or sexual health clinic.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

This small, T-shaped device is made from made of material containing progesterone hormone or plastic and copper and is fitted inside a woman’s uterus by a trained healthcare provider. It’s a long-acting and reversible method of contraception, which can stay in place for three to 10 years, depending on the type.

Some IUDs contain hormones that are gradually released to prevent pregnancy. The IUD can also be an effective emergency contraception if fitted by a healthcare professional within five days (120 hours) of having unprotected sex.

IUDs containing coppers are 99% effective and the ones containing hormones are 99.8% effective, so you’re about as protected as you possibly can be by a contraceptive method.

Cons include: Irregular bleeding and spotting occurs in the first six months of use; requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal; does not protect against STIs.

The Contraceptive Implant

In this method, a small, flexible rod is placed under the skin in a woman’s upper arm, releasing a form of the hormone progesterone. The hormone stops the ovary releasing the egg and thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to enter the womb. The implant requires a small procedure using local anesthetic to fit and remove the rod and needs to be replaced after three years.

Pros of the implant include: Highly effective; doesn’t interrupt sex; is a long-lasting, reversible contraceptive option.

Cons include: Requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal; sometimes there can be irregular bleeding initially; does not protect against STIs.

The Contraceptive Injection

The injection contains a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen. It is given into a woman’s buttock or the upper arm, and over the next 12 weeks the hormone is slowly released into your bloodstream.

Pros: The injection lasts for up to three months; is very effective; permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex.

Cons: The injection may cause disrupted periods or irregular bleeding; it requires keeping track of the number of months used; itdoes not protect against STIs.

Emergency Contraception Pill (The ‘Morning After’ Pill)

The Emergency Contraception Pill can be used to prevent pregnancy after sex if contraception wasn’t used, a condom has broken during sex, or a woman has been sexually assaulted.

While it is sometimes call the ‘Morning After’ pill, it can actually be effective for up to five days after having unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is; when taken in the first three days after sex, it prevents about 85% of expected pregnancies.

This pill contains special doses of female hormones. Any woman can take the emergency contraception pill, even those who cannot take other oral contraceptive pills. It can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy or chemist without a prescription.

The common side effects of the emergency contraceptive include nausea, vomiting and the next period may be early or delayed. Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs.

Contraceptive Ring

This method consists of a flexible plastic ring constantly releasing hormones that is placed in the vagina by the woman. It stays in place for three weeks, and then you remove it, take a week off then pop another one in. The ring releases the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. These are the same hormones used in the combined oral contraceptive pill, but at a lower dose.

Pros include: You can insert and remove a vaginal ring yourself; this contraceptive method has few side effects, allows control of your periods and allows your fertility to return quickly when the ring is removed.

Cons include: It is not suitable for women who can’t take oestrogen-containing contraception; you need to remember to replace it at the right time; does not protect against STIs.


A diaphragm is a small, soft silicon dome is placed inside the vagina to stop sperm from entering the uterus. It forms a physical barrier between the man’s sperm and the woman’s egg, like a condom.

The diaphragm needs to stay in place for at least six hours after sex. After six – but no longer than 24 hours after sex – it needs to be taken out and cleaned.

Some of the pros: You can use the same diaphragm more than once, and it can last up to two years if you look after it.

Some of the cons: Using a diaphragm can take practice and requires keeping track of the hours inserted. The diaphragm works fairly well if used correctly, but not as well as the pill, a contraceptive implant or an IUD.


Sterilisation is the process of completely taking away the body’s ability to reproduce through open or minimal invasion surgery. It is a permanent method of contraception, suitable for people who are sure they never want children or do not want any more children. Sterilisation is available for both women and men and is performed in a hospital with general anesthesia.

If you are thinking about sterilisation, issues to talk with your doctor about include your reasons for wanting to be sterilised, whether other methods of contraception might be more suitable and any side effects, risks and complications of the procedure.

More information

For more contraceptive options and advice, visit True Relationships & Reproductive Health or Children by Choice.

Which method of contraception suits me?

There are a range of different contraceptive options currently available in the UK. The type that works best for you will depend on your health and circumstances.

There are several issues to consider when deciding which method of contraception is right for you.

Once you have read this information, you can go to your GP or local contraceptive (or family planning) clinic to discuss your choices.

Remember, the only way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to use a condom every time you have sex.

Other methods of contraception prevent pregnancy, but they do not protect against STIs.

Answer the questions on this page to help you decide which method is most suitable for you.

Contraception choices tool

The Contraception choices tool can help you find out which methods of contraception:

  • may be best for you
  • are most effective at preventing pregnancy

The Contraception tool infographic shows you how many women may get pregnant in a year using each method.

Sexual health charities Brook and FPA also have a contraception tool:

How effective are the different methods?

The list below shows how effective each of the 15 different methods are, and how often you need to use them or think about them (frequency of use).

The effectiveness of each method is worked out by calculating how many women get pregnant if 100 women use the method for a year.

For example, if a particular contraceptive method is 99% effective, 1 woman out of every 100 who uses it will get pregnant in a year.

Some methods listed below, such as the pill, include the phrase “if used correctly”.

This is because people who use these methods have to use them every time they have sex, or remember to take or apply them every day, week or month.

If the method is not used correctly, it will not be as effective.

Contraceptives that are more than 99% effective:

Contraceptives that are more than 99% effective if always used correctly, but generally less than 95% effective with typical use:

Contraceptives that are 99% effective if used according to teaching instructions:

Contraceptives that are 98% effective if used correctly:

Contraceptives that are 95% effective if used correctly:

Contraceptives that are 92 to 96% effective if used correctly:

Can you make contraception part of your daily routine?

If you’re a well-organised person with a reasonably regular routine, you have a wide choice of contraception.

This is because you’re less likely to forget about your contraception by forgetting to take a pill or reapply a patch, for example.

You may want to use a method that you only need to use when you have sex, such as the male or female condom, or you may prefer a method that you need to take every day, such as the pill.

Or you may want to consider methods like the patch, injection or implant, which you do not need to use every day or each time you have sex.

The list below shows how often you need to use, replace or take each contraceptive method.

Once you have looked at the list, ask your GP or a doctor or nurse at your local clinic for more details.

Methods used each time you have sex:

Methods taken on a daily basis:

Methods replaced every week:

Methods replaced every month:

Methods renewed every 2 to 3 months:

Methods renewed up to every 3 years:

Methods renewed up to every 5 to 10 years:

Would you prefer contraception you do not have to remember every day?

Not all contraceptives have to be taken every day or each time you have sex.

You do not have to think about some contraceptives for months or years.

These methods need to be inserted by a health professional into your uterus (IUD or IUS) or arm (the implant):

The contraceptive injection can be given 1 of 2 ways: either by an intramuscular injection into the buttock, or as a subcutaneous injection into the thigh or abdomen.

This is given every 8 weeks or every 12 weeks, depending on the type. 

The subcutaneous injection can be given by a health professional, or you can be shown how to inject it yourself.

Other contraceptives that need to be changed or replaced every month or week are:

Other contraceptives used or inserted just before sex are:

Ask your GP or a doctor or nurse at your local contraceptive clinic for more details.

Are you comfortable inserting contraceptives into your vagina?

If you’re a woman, are you comfortable inserting contraceptives into your own vagina?

If so, you could consider using:

If you’d like a method that’s longer term and you do not mind a health professional putting a contraceptive into your uterus through your vagina, you could consider using:

Do you mind if your periods change?

Some contraceptives can affect your periods. Some may make your periods lighter or more infrequent. Others may make your periods heavier or more irregular.

Ask your GP or a doctor or nurse at your local clinic for more details.

Contraceptives that can make your periods lighter include:

Do you smoke?

Smokers can use most types of contraception. But if you’re a smoker and over 35 years old, some contraceptives (such as the combined pill, patch or the vaginal ring) might not be suitable for you.

Ask your GP or a doctor or nurse at your local clinic for more details.

If you’re over 35 and smoke, you can consider the following types of contraceptive:

Find out how to stop smoking

Are you overweight?

Your weight will not affect most types of contraception, and most contraception will not make you put on weight.

But the contraceptive injection has been linked to a small amount of weight gain if used for 2 years or more.

Find out how to lose weight

What if you cannot use hormonal contraceptives?

Some contraceptives work by using hormones that are similar to the hormones women produce naturally. These hormones are oestrogen and progestogen.

Contraceptives that contain these hormones aren’t suitable for some women, such as those who have medical conditions like breast cancer.

Not all contraceptive methods use hormones. Some work in other ways, including:

What if you cannot use contraceptives that contain oestrogen?

Contraceptives that contain oestrogen are not suitable for women who:

  • are over 35 and who smoke
  • are very overweight 
  • take certain medicines 
  • have certain medical conditions, such as problems with blood circulation or migraines with aura

If you cannot use contraceptives that contain oestrogen, there are plenty of other options, including:

Are you taking medicines for other conditions?

Some contraceptives can be affected if you’re taking other medicines, but there are plenty of options.

Ask your GP, nurse or your local clinic for more details.

Contraceptives that are not affected by other medicines are:

Do you want to get pregnant in the near future?

All methods of contraception can be stopped if you want to have a baby. You can get pregnant as soon as you stop using contraception.

A woman’s fertility usually returns to normal within the first month after stopping the combined pill, vaginal ring or contraceptive patch. 

If you want your fertility to return to normal quickly after you stop using contraception, consider these methods:

Your fertility may take longer to return to normal after stopping the contraceptive injection.

Most women’s fertility will return in a few months, but it can take up to a year for fertility to return to normal. 

Find out about getting pregnant

Page last reviewed: 3 January 2019

Next review due: 3 January 2022

Types, Effectiveness, and Side Effects

Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. There are birth control methods for both men and women. But women have a wider variety of options whereas men are mostly limited to condoms and vasectomies.

Different types of birth control prevent pregnancy in different ways. And not all are equally effective. Incorrect use from human error is usually the culprit. For example, condoms break, expire, or can slip off, which is why they’re only 82% effective compared to a semi-permanent implant, which is over 99% effective.

Here’s what you need to know about the different types, how they work, and how effective they are at preventing pregnancy.

Different types of birth control prevent pregnancy in different ways:

  • Natural: Two common examples include the withdrawal method (also known as “pulling out”). Or tracking when a woman is most fertile and avoiding sex during that time.
  • Barrier: Barrier methods block sperm from passing through the cervix and include male condoms, female condoms (diaphragms), and certain types of hormonal birth control.
  • Short-acting hormonal method: A type of hormonal birth control, like the pill, patch, and vaginal ring, that prevents eggs from being released or from traveling into the fallopian tubes. It can prevent pregnancy anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks after use.
  • Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC): Often a type of hormonal birth control that includes implants and intrauterine devices (IUD) and can prevent pregnancy for many years, up to a decade.
  • Permanent sterilization: A surgical procedure that prevents pregnancy permanently. Both types of surgery — vasectomies, for men, and tubal ligations, for women — are reversible in most cases.
  • Emergency contraception: Plan B can be used in the case of an emergency, but it must be taken within 24 hours of unprotected intercourse for optimal effectiveness.

When choosing the type of birth control that’s best for you, there are some factors to consider like sexual activity, ease of use, availability, and cost.

For instance, if you have multiple partners, you should use a birth control method, like condoms, that protects against sexually transmitted infections. Or if you’re a woman who prefers to have a regular period once a month, then you should consider birth control pills instead of an implant or IUD.

However, ease of use is equally important. If you opt for the pill, that means you must remember to take the pill at the same time each day, with the knowledge that it can lead to an accidental pregnancy if you miss a dose. That sort of pressure can be stressful and burdensome for some.

Availability and cost are also important factors. Condoms are more readily accessible and cheaper than the pill or an implant. But they’re also less effective. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of each kind of contraception:

Ruobing Su/Insider

Besides abstinence, no birth control options are ever 100% guaranteed to prevent pregnancy. Birth control can expire, people use it incorrectly, and procedures can go wrong.

For example, oral contraceptives are 99% effective if you take them perfectly. But in reality, people skip pills or don’t take them on time, which diminishes their effectiveness. This chart shows how effective different birth control methods are with typical use, accounting for human error:

Ruobing Su/Insider

It’s important to remember that even methods that seem reliable can sometimes fail, like an IUD. You can get pregnant with an IUD if it has not been properly inserted, if it becomes dislodged, or if you have a uterine abnormality. 

You can even get pregnant with your tubes tied, though it’s very rare. This procedure, known as tubal ligation, is considered the most sure-fire way for women to prevent pregnancy, but there is still room for human error in the procedure. 

Additionally, women who have had tubal ligation surgery are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy, which is a type of miscarriage that happens when a fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus. 

Doctors may prescribe birth control — particularly hormonal birth control — for more than just pregnancy prevention. 

For example, birth control can help acne, because of how it may reduce the amount of androgen, a hormone, in your system. Androgen levels spike during puberty and pregnancy, which may cause you to produce more oil on, and under, your skin that can lead to acne.

Birth control can also help with cramps because it can thin the endometrial lining of the uterus that’s shed during menstruation. When this lining builds up it can cause intense contractions, so thinning it out can help relieve painful period cramps.

Hormonal birth control methods, like the pill, IUD, and shot, can come with side effects as the body adjusts to the slight increase in hormones. Side effects can include:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Cramping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Decreased sex drive

A common misconception is that birth control will make you gain weight. If you’re just starting birth control, you may gain a few pounds. But that extra weight is most likely from fluid retention — aka water weight — and it’s only temporary.  

The only birth control method that is likely to make you gain weight is Depo-Provera, a hormone shot that has been shown to increase hunger and cause women to gain 5.4 pounds after one year of use and up to 13.8 pounds after four years.

You can get basic birth control, like condoms, at any local grocery or pharmacy. However, you will need a prescription to get hormonal birth control like the pill or an IUD. 

Most people get a prescription by visiting a doctor or going to a local health organization like Planned Parenthood, but new options are emerging to get birth control directly from a pharmacist or even online through telehealth options. 

Most health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act cover the cost of birth control and doctor’s visits related to birth control. If your insurance does not cover your doctor visit, the cost can range from $35-$250. If you are buying birth control online, you can typically get it for free with insurance but without insurance, the prices can range widely.  

Plan B, sometimes referred to as the “morning-after pill,” is an over-the-counter form of emergency contraception you can take after having unprotected sex. 

Plan B is supposed to prevent pregnancy before it starts, but it doesn’t always work. Plan B is most effective when taken within 24 hours. If you take it within 72 hours, you have up to an 89% chance of preventing pregnancy.

The side effects of plan B may last around four days after taking it. On the first day, you may experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, and pelvic pain, which will gradually diminish over time. Menstrual changes may also occur, so you shouldn’t be too worried if your period comes earlier or later than you expect it to.

While there’s no limit on how many times you can take Plan B, it shouldn’t be your go-to form of birth control. If you find yourself using Plan B regularly, consult a doctor to discuss other methods.

The right birth control for you depends on what method best fits your lifestyle. You want to consider factors such as effectiveness, side effects, and upkeep when making your decision. 

Keep in mind that while barrier methods like condoms might be easier to acquire, the more effective methods such as an IUD require a visit to a doctor. The best thing you can do is to talk to a medical professional about what method is right for you.

90,000 7 types of female contraception: From patches to pills

Finding the best contraceptive is like finding your life partner . We will help you shorten this path. We analyze seven types of contraception and tell you which one is right for you and why.

We remind you that you must always consult a doctor before using any contraception.

Contraceptive pills

Photo: Getty Images

How it works: Birth control pills act on hormones to supplement estrogen and progesterone levels.“These hormones suppress ovulation, thicken cervical mucus and thin the lining of the uterus,” says Amy Bryant, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at North Carolina Medical University.

Tablet effectiveness: If you follow the instructions and take the tablets at the same time every day, their effectiveness is estimated at 98%. But at the slightest violation, the effectiveness of the tablets decreases to 92%.

Side effects: The general side effects of the tablets are quite mild: nausea, chest pain, headaches.

Positive Side Effects: Taking the pill can reduce cramps and help with irregular cycles. Because the pills prevent ovulation, they help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic.

How to know if pills are right for me: “If you are a woman who has no problem taking pills every day and has no risk factors such as smoking or high blood pressure, then the pill might be right for you,” says Dr. Bryant.


Photo: Getty Images

How the patch works: Once applied to the skin, it releases hormones into the human body. The hormones only work for seven days. Therefore, the patch must be changed weekly. As with pills, regularity is important in using the patch.

The effectiveness of the patch: The contraceptive patch is able to save from unwanted pregnancy by 98% if used correctly, but in case of violations, the indicator decreases to 91%.

Side effects: Side effects from the patch are usually not significant. Nausea, chest pain and headaches may occur, especially in the first few months of use. Also, according to Dr. Bryant, the patch contains a higher dose of estrogen than pills and may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

How to know if the patch is right for me: This type of contraception is not suitable for smokers or women with high blood pressure.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

Photo: Getty Images

How the IUD works: The coil is implanted into the uterus (this is a quick procedure, similar to taking a smear). The IUD prevents sperm from entering your eggs. This type of contraception, unlike pills or patches, does not affect menstruation.

IUD efficiency: The spiral guarantees birth control over 99%.Its effectiveness cannot be diminished under any circumstances.

IUD side effects: According to Dr. Bryant, there may be a slight discharge at first. Soreness in the area of ​​the mammary glands or acne is not for long.

How to know if the IUD is right for me: Women usually respond positively to the IUD, because the system is put on for several years – from three to ten. If your period is painful and cramping, a hormonal IUD can help relieve pain during your period.

If you are looking for a non-hormonal method of contraception, Copper IUD is the most suitable one.


Photo: Getty Images

How the implant works: A small piece of plastic (about the size of a match) is inserted under the skin on the arm. “It releases small amounts of a hormone every day that suppresses ovulation, thickens cervical mucus and flattens the lining of the uterus,” says Dr. Bryant.

Efficiency of the implant: This type of contraception is considered the most effective, as it guarantees more than 99.5% of birth control.

Implant side effects: This type of contraception has a usual list of potential side effects: breast tenderness and headaches. There may also be mood swings and decreased sex drive, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic. The other most common side effect is temporary bleeding.

How to know if an implant is right for me: This type of contraception is suitable for those who don’t like the idea of ​​placing something in their uterus. In addition, the implant is effective for three years.

Vaginal ring

Photo: Getty Images

How the ring works: The ring is a rubber circle that looks like a hair tie. It blocks ovulation with estrogen and progesterone. “The patient is inserted a ring into the vagina once a month.They absorb hormones, ”says Heather Bell, MD, a board-certified gynecologist in Illinois.

Ring efficiency: According to the CDC, the ring is 91% effective.

Side Effects: The ring has side effects that are similar to pills and other hormonal contraceptive methods. A slight bleeding may appear in the first few months.

How to know if a vaginal ring is right for me: The ring contains a lower dose of estrogen than most pills.Therefore, if you are afraid of hormonal contraceptives, a ring may be a more attractive option for you.


Photo: Getty Images

How Condoms Work: Condoms create a barrier that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. This is the only type of contraception that will protect not only from unwanted pregnancy, but also from sexually transmitted infections.

Effectiveness of condoms: Given the potential for carelessness of users, the guaranteed effectiveness of condoms is estimated at only 82%.

Side Effects of Condoms: “Using condoms can reduce sexual pleasure for some. Someone may also have an allergy or irritation, ”says Dr. Bryant.

How to know if condoms are right for me: Gynecologists consider condoms to be the best method of contraception for teenagers.Contraceptives for adolescents should protect not only from unwanted pregnancies, but also from sexually transmitted diseases, as well as HIV infection.

Emergency contraception (“Morning pill”)

Photo: Getty Images

How emergency contraception works: The morning pill is available in most pharmacies and works by preventing or delaying ovulation. This method of preventing unwanted pregnancy is used after unprotected intercourse.

Effectiveness of emergency contraception: “The earlier you take the pill, the more effective it is,” says Dr. Bell. The tablet can be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex. In this scenario, 80% efficiency is guaranteed.

Side Effects of Emergency Contraception: According to the CDC, the most common side effects are nausea and vomiting.

How to know if emergency contraception is right for you: The morning pill should not be your primary birth control method.It should only be used if the normal method fails.

90,000 Most Effective Contraceptive Practices: British Experience

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Finding the right contraceptive can be tricky given the many choices available on the market.

The UK National Health System (NHS) offers 15 different contraceptives to its patients, but none are 100% effective.

For example, the UK Advertising Standards Commission banned Facebook ads for the Natural Cycles app after the ads were found to be misleading.

An ad that predicts the days of a woman’s susceptibility to fertilization was advertised as highly accurate and clinically tested.

The Commission found that Natural Cycles was exaggerating the effectiveness of the product.There are at least a few known cases of unwanted pregnancies in women who have used the application.

The effectiveness of some contraceptives reaches 99%, but in others it barely exceeds 70%.

The effectiveness of contraception depends on which means you use and whether you use them correctly. The NHS recommends that you follow the instructions for use carefully for maximum effectiveness.

Photo author, Natural Cycles

Photo caption,

This is what the Ntaural Cycles app looks like

Natural family planning

Natural family planning or fertility awareness means careful tracking of the menstrual cycle and signs that indicate the maximum predisposition of the female body to fertilization.

This method can be 99% effective when carefully followed, but drops to about 76% in typical use.

This method has no side effects. Fertile awareness is at the heart of numerous smartphone apps such as Natural Cycles, with an average efficiency rate of 93%.

Photo by Getty Images


There are two types of condoms – male and female.

Condoms are the only contraceptive that, in addition to controlling pregnancy, is also a means of protecting against many sexually transmitted infections.

Male condoms are 98% effective. They are made from thin latex, polyisoprene or polyurethane.

There are several factors that can reduce the effectiveness of condoms. These include oil-based lubricants (which can damage latex or polyisoprene condoms), condom breakage, and antistomatitis creams.

Female condoms are 95% effective and are placed inside the vagina.

They are less effective, as they can tear, and also the penis can accidentally be caught between the condom and the vaginal wall.

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

This is what a female condom looks like


Oral contraceptives are theoretically more than 99% effective, but in practice, with “typical use” their effectiveness is reduced to 91%.

By far the most common use, oral contraceptives are taken at the same time every day for 21 days, followed by a seven-day break during your period.

The risk of pregnancy is increased if you do not take your pills at the same time, skip a day or days, or if you have severe stomach upset or vomiting.

Certain antibiotics, including rifampicin and rifabutin, can also reduce the effectiveness of oral contraception.

Tablets based solely on progestins (a type of female steroid hormone) and not containing the hormone estrogen are considered more than 99% effective when used correctly. They need to be taken every day without interruption. With typical use, the effectiveness of such contraceptives is estimated at 92%.

Photo by Getty Images

Contraceptive injections

Injections are considered to be more than 99% effective. Their duration varies from eight to thirteen weeks, depending on the drug used.

In “typical use” their efficiency is estimated at 94%. The injections do not interfere with other medications, but can lead to menstrual irregularities or even complete cessation of menstruation.

After cessation of injections, it may take up to a year for fertility to resume.

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Contraceptive Patch

The patch is 99% effective when used correctly and 91% when “typical use”.

It secretes hormones into the woman’s body that help to prevent pregnancy, and it works for a week. The patch should be changed weekly for three weeks, and then taken off for a week, just like with oral contraceptives.

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Vaginal Ring

Like the patch, the vaginal ring is over 99% effective with ideal use and about 91% with “typical” use.

It is inserted inside the vagina and releases hormones into the bloodstream.Valid for a month.

The ring does not interfere with normal sex, and its effectiveness is not reduced in case of indigestion or vomiting. The main thing is not to forget to change it every month.

Photo by Getty Images

Contraceptive Implant

The implant lasts for three years and is considered to be more than 99% effective if used perfectly.

It is a small plastic rod that is sewn under the skin of the forearm and releases the corresponding hormones into the woman’s bloodstream.

Certain medications (certain antibiotics, medicines for HIV or epilepsy) can make the implant less effective.

Photo by Getty Images

Hormone-releasing intrauterine system

Considered more than 99% effective and lasts from three to five years depending on the type.

This is a small T-shaped structure that is inserted into the uterus and releases the hormone progestogen.

NHS considers the intrauterine system “one of the most effective forms of contraception available in the UK” but recognizes that there is little risk of infection when inserted into the uterus.

Photo by Getty Images

Intrauterine device

The coil is considered to be more than 99% effective and can remain in a woman’s body for up to ten years, depending on the type.

It is in many ways similar to the intrauterine system. The difference is that it is made of copper and plastic. It is copper that helps prevent pregnancy.

There is a small risk that the uterus may reject the coil. It also does not work if the woman has previously had pelvic infections.

Diaphragms and contraceptive caps

When used correctly with spermicides, diaphragms and caps give 92-96% effectiveness.

Typical use gives no more than 71-88% percent effectiveness, making them less effective than other contraceptives.

Diaphragms and caps are made of silicone and are inserted into the vagina before intercourse.

The device must remain inside the vagina for at least six hours after sex, and its effectiveness directly depends on the woman’s attentiveness to the exact time of its insertion and withdrawal.

Medical Center Para LLC. Myths and Reality

The hormones contained in the contraceptive will negatively affect my body.

The active substances in the composition of the contraceptive are similar to the hormones in your body and are not something alien to it. Most hormonal contraceptives (they are called combined) contain 2 hormones – analogs of estrogen and progesterone, which are naturally produced in a woman’s body during the menstrual cycle.These drugs suppress the production of a woman’s own hormones, they “tell” the body: “there are already enough hormones, no more is needed.” And in the ovary, the egg ceases to ripen, ovulation does not occur, which means that pregnancy is impossible. In addition, taking hormonal contraceptives causes a change in the density of mucus in the cervical canal, which makes it difficult for sperm to penetrate to the egg.

To date, hormonal contraceptives have been studied better than any other drugs in the history of medicine: the experience of their use is more than 50 years, there has been significant progress in the creation of new, more advanced developments, therefore about 75 million women worldwide take them regularly.

Hormone tablets are not highly reliable.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), combined oral contraceptives have a very high degree of protection against unwanted pregnancies.

When used correctly and competently, hormonal contraceptives are more than 99% effective. If you missed a pill or took it later than recommended, your chances of getting pregnant increase, and this is natural.

Strongly inferior to hormonal contraceptives in terms of reliability, even the popular and widely advertised condom, which, as you know, sometimes breaks or slips.

Many women also rely on indirect methods of determining the fertility period (calendar method) or “pills the next morning” (postcoital medications). However, if you do not want to take risks and take care of your health, these methods are not for you. Today, hormonal contraceptives are the most effective way to protect against unwanted pregnancies.

Mustache grows from pills.

Horror stories about mustaches and beards were born at the dawn of hormonal contraception. The doses of hormones in the first pills (for which, by the way, the Americans received the Nobel Prize in Medicine) were very high by today’s standards. The active ingredients were also different. Hence a side effect, which, by the way, was not universal – male-pattern hair on the face.It was back in the 50-60s of the last century. Today, pharmacies simply do not have drugs of that “older” generation, they have long been discontinued, and they have been replaced by more modern and safe ones. Just imagine: during more than half a century of the existence of oral contraceptives, the content of hormonal substances in them was reduced by 10 times, without reducing their contraceptive reliability.

Most modern contraceptives have an antiandrogenic effect, due to which they have a pronounced positive effect on the skin – they help get rid of acne, reduce skin greasiness and reduce excess hair growth.

Taking pills can lead to infertility and I will never be able to get pregnant.

Hormonal contraceptives do not affect fertility. The possibility of conception remains the same as it was before using the drug. The fact is that the problem of infertility of a woman or her partner may occur even before taking drugs. However, the couple usually does not know about it until they stop using contraception and plan the desired pregnancy.In addition, now many women postpone their first pregnancy until 30-35 years old, and after all, at this age, reproductive capacity decreases naturally. The myth was born also because contraceptive pills are often taken after an abortion, which can just cause infertility, which underestimated by many women.

In a healthy woman, restoration of fertility after discontinuation of COCs, progestin-only pills, contraceptive patch, vaginal ring or removal of the implant occurs immediately.Similarly, after the removal of the IUD, fertility is restored almost immediately. And when using injectable contraceptives, it can take an average of 4–6 months from discontinuing the drug to restoring the ability to conceive. However, all of these methods are completely reversible. Moreover, in some cases in women with infertility, in response to the abolition of the pills, the so-called “rebound effect” (effect of withdrawal, rebound) is observed, which contributes to the onset of ovulation and pregnancy.

From pills you can get fat beyond recognition.

This is one of the most common myths. Indeed, birth control pills used to contain a high dose of hormones and therefore could cause side effects such as weight gain. However, today in the arsenal of doctors there are micro-dosage drugs that contain minimal doses of hormones and do not affect weight. In order to finally verify the absence of such an effect of the contraceptive pill, a large-scale study was carried out in several European countries.Several tens of thousands of women taking the hormonal drug were monitored. None of the vast majority of women in the study experienced significant weight changes over 12 months. Interestingly, some of the women who participated in the studies even lost up to 10 kg of weight while taking hormonal contraceptives. The results of several large international studies have shown that in women from 18 to 35 years old who have never taken hormonal contraceptives, the body weight gain is about 1 kg per year – that is, this is a physiological weight gain.The same can be observed in women who use contraceptives.

It is also important to understand that weight gain can often be associated with such phenomena as an unconscious change in lifestyle and eating habits, or, for example, with fluid retention in the body. In some cases, in the process of adaptation of the body to taking hormonal contraceptives, appetite may increase during the first months, so understanding the possibility of this will help you control the amount of food you eat and maintain optimal physical activity.

Long-term use of pills causes cancer.

In contrast, women who have been using pills for at least one year are less likely to develop certain types of cancer than those who have never taken them. This is not a miracle: the mechanism of protective action is known and proven by numerous studies. So, taking hormonal contraceptives for more than 10 years reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 40-50%, and uterine cancer by 80%.In this case, the protective effect can persist for 20 years after stopping the drug intake. In addition, the risk of colon cancer, ovarian cysts, iron deficiency anemia, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and osteoporosis (bone fragility) is reduced.

Taking hormonal contraceptives can disrupt your sex life.

Hormonal contraceptives do not affect sexual satisfaction for most women.

The main reason women use contraception is to prevent pregnancy. Taking hormonal contraceptives gives them peace of mind and a sense of protection from unwanted consequences at a certain stage of life.

Moreover, in one of the studies conducted, cases of a wider range of sexual arousal (both sexual and psychological) in women taking contraceptives were noted.Perhaps this is due to the lack of concern about unwanted consequences in both partners.

It is necessary to take a break in taking hormonal contraceptives every few months in order for the body to return to normal and “rest”.

Continuous and even long-term use of hormonal contraceptives is safe.

Do not think that by taking a break from taking hormonal contraceptives, you benefit your body.On the contrary, it can have negative health consequences. First, when you take hormonal drugs, your body gradually adjusts to them, and the level of hormones becomes stable. As soon as you stop taking medications and decide to take a break, the hormonal background has to change. When you return to taking hormonal contraceptives, the body must adjust again. These fluctuations lead to undesirable consequences in the form of changes in mood, nausea, and poor health.Secondly, during the break, the risk of unwanted pregnancy increases sharply (the phenomenon of “rebound effect”). And finally, the side effects of hormonal contraceptives usually develop at the beginning of their use (both for the first time and after a break) and practically do not occur with prolonged and constant use.

If I switch to hormonal contraceptives, my cycle will be disrupted.

In fact, hormonal contraceptives will help regulate your menstrual cycle.Hormonal contraceptives are exactly what many doctors and their patients rely on to keep their menstrual cycle stable and predictable. Regardless of the composition of the drug and the regimen of administration, all combined contraceptives create a 28-day cycle, that is, the next menstruation begins, as a rule, 4 weeks from the first day of the previous menstruation.

Some modern hormonal drugs are produced in unconventional forms (for example, a contraceptive patch or vaginal ring) and do not require daily use.Despite this, their use also results in a regular 28-day cycle.

For most women, when taking hormonal contraceptives, the amount of menstrual flow becomes less, and the sensations are less painful. Hormonal drugs are designed to make you feel comfortable every month, while knowing for sure that you are protected from unwanted pregnancies.

Abortion may be safer than taking hormones every day.

Hormonal contraceptives are a much safer and more effective alternative to terminating an already established pregnancy, not to mention the moral aspects of this issue.

If you or someone you know is considering abortion as a method of birth control, you should think very carefully before deciding on such actions, since abortion is, first of all, a huge risk to your body from the physical and mental points vision.

Instrumental abortion is a surgical procedure involving the use of anesthetic agents. The need for repeated curettage, infection, bleeding (including life-threatening), damage to internal organs, complications of anesthesia – this is an incomplete list of extremely serious consequences of abortion. In addition, hormonal changes that occur during termination of pregnancy have a long-term negative effect on the entire reproductive system of a woman and cause infertility, miscarriage, and the development of tumor processes.There is no safe abortion. Even modern medical abortion requires the use of high doses of hormonal drugs to terminate a pregnancy. We must not forget about the powerful psychological stress for a woman who decides to terminate her pregnancy, which can be very difficult to recover from. In any case, after any abortion, it is recommended to take hormonal contraceptives to restore the body after the hormonal stress that the woman experienced during the abortion.

Thus, any abortion carries a high risk to a woman’s health.This is also evidenced by statistics: of the 42 million abortions performed annually around the world, 20 million occur with complications.

If you are looking for a safer way to control your birth, consider using hormonal contraceptives.

Taking hormonal contraceptives will make me feel terrible.

Most women who take contraceptives feel great.

Some women do not even try hormonal contraceptives after hearing from someone about possible side effects. But it is important to remember that every woman’s body is unique, and what happened to your girlfriend does not have to happen to you. Not to mention the fact that there are very few side effects due to the low doses of hormones contained in modern drugs. Sometimes nausea, headache, or breast tenderness may occur. However, these phenomena, as a rule, disappear over time as you adapt to the drug and are extremely rare after two to three months of admission.

Serious consequences such as thrombosis and heart problems can occur as a result of using “old” high-dose drugs or taking contraceptives without a doctor’s prescription, but, fortunately, this happens very rarely. It is also widely believed that hormonal contraceptives cause weight gain and acne. As a result of many studies, it has been proven that taking contraceptives does not cause weight gain and contributes to an effective solution to the problem of acne.

Thus, the use of an individually selected hormonal contraceptive, taking into account the doctor’s recommendations, is an effective and safe way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and improve your body.

Taking hormonal contraceptives is harmful to the health of the unborn child.

The risk of pregnancy on the background of hormonal contraceptives is extremely low, however, it is not equal to zero.Naturally, many women wonder what will happen to pregnancy, and most importantly, to children conceived while taking hormones? The most tragic situation occurs when, in such cases, women decide to have an abortion, believing that the onset of pregnancy while taking hormonal contraceptives increases the frequency of fetal malformations. This is a very dangerous delusion. Numerous studies have proven the safety of taking hormonal contraceptives and the absence of a negative effect of their use before pregnancy (regardless of the duration and interval between the end of use and conception) and in the early stages of pregnancy.

In addition, women can, without harm to their own health and the health of a newborn child, in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy, take pure progestin hormonal contraceptives after childbirth during breastfeeding. At the same time, milk production and quality, as well as the growth and development of children, are not affected.

Before using any (hormonal, as well as non-hormonal) drugs at the stage of pregnancy planning, during pregnancy and during lactation, it is important to get maximum information from the doctor and make an informed decision.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted priority consideration to Novartis’s Zykadia, a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic …

  • The right to priority consideration of the registration application was granted on the basis of the results of phase III clinical trials, according to which, while taking Zykadia, the median progression-free survival was 16.6 months in previously untreated patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, while in patients on chemotherapy it was 8.1 months. 1

  • The FDA has also granted groundbreaking drug status based on data from phase III clinical trials in previously untreated patients with ALK-positive NSCLC and brain metastases.

  • If Zykadia is registered as a first-line drug, then untreated patients with metastatic ALK-positive NSCLC will have a new treatment option.

Novartis announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted a supplemental registration and extended indications for Zykadia ® (ceritinib) as a first-line treatment treatment for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK +) expression confirmed by an FDA-approved diagnostic test.The FDA has also designated Zykadia as a groundbreaking first-line treatment for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC and brain metastases.

“We are tirelessly striving to expand our understanding of mutated lung cancer, for which there is still a significant unmet need for therapy,” said Vas Narasimkhan, global drug development leader and medical director at Novartis.“Today’s eligibility for priority review of Zykadia’s registration application for newly diagnosed patients with metastatic ALK-positive NSCLC, as well as its recognition as a groundbreaking drug for patients with brain metastases, brings us closer to providing the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.”

Additional application for registration of Zykadia as a first-line drug is based on a primary analysis of the ASCEND-4 global, randomized, open-label, multicenter Phase III clinical trial, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of Zykadia versus platinum chemotherapy (including supportive treatment ) in adult patients with ALK-positive stage IIIB or IV NSCLC.The clinical trial was conducted at 134 medical centers in 28 countries with 376 randomized patients. Research shows:

  • In patients receiving Zykadia as the first line of treatment, median progression-free survival was 16.6 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.6, 27.2) versus 8.1 months (95% CI: 5.8, 11.1) in patients who received standard first-line chemotherapy with pemetrexed and platinum supplements with maintenance therapy with pemetrexed.The Zykadia group achieved a 45% risk reduction in progression-free survival compared with the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio [RR] = 0.55, [95% CI: 0.42, 0.73; one-tailed p <0.001]). 1

  • The median progression-free survival in Zykadia-treated patients without brain metastases at screening was based on an analysis of pre-planned variables.3 months (95% CI: 15.4, 27.7) versus 8.3 months (95% CI: 6.0, 13.7) in patients receiving chemotherapy (RR = 0.48 [95% CI: 0.33, 0.69]). 1

  • Based on an analysis of pre-planned variables in Zykadia-treated patients with brain metastases at baseline, the median progression-free survival was 10.7 months (95% CI: 8.1, 16.4) versus 6.7 months (95% CI: 4.1, 10.6) in the chemotherapy group (RR = 0.70 [95% CI: 0.44, 1.12]) 1 . The intracranial overall response rate (RRR) (72.7%, [95% CI: 49.8, 89.3]) corresponds to the RRR of the body as a whole (72.5% [95% CI: 65.5, 78.7]).

Diarrhea (85% versus 11% of chemotherapy patients), nausea (69% versus 55% with chemotherapy), vomiting were among the most common adverse events (AEs) observed in more than 25% of patients treated with Zykadia. (66% versus 36% for chemotherapy), an increase in ALT (60% versus 22% for chemotherapy), an increase in AST (53% versus 19% for chemotherapy), an increase in the level of gamma glutamyltransferase (37% versus 10% for chemotherapy) , decreased appetite (34% versus 31% on chemotherapy), increased blood alkaline phosphate levels (29% versus 5% on chemotherapy), and fatigue (29% versus 30% on chemotherapy).

The FDA grants priority review for applications for registration of drugs for the treatment of serious diseases. If approved, these drugs can significantly improve the safety or efficacy of treatment 2 . For applications that qualify for priority review, the FDA will make a decision within 6 months of filing instead of the standard 10 month review period.

The status of a fundamentally new drug is intended to accelerate the development and review of drugs intended for the treatment of severe and life-threatening diseases, if the drug has shown a significant improvement in at least one clinically significant parameter in comparison with the existing method of therapy 3 .Today, 13 Novartis drugs have the status of fundamentally new drugs, which underscores the company’s continued commitment to the development of innovative methods of treating rare diseases and cancer patients who do not receive proper therapy. Zykadia was last granted this status as a first-line therapy for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC and brain metastases, and this is the second time it was awarded the status of an innovative drug for this drug.

Lung cancer causes more deaths worldwide than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined 4 . An estimated 1.8 million new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year 5 . Among patients with NSCLC, the most common type of lung cancer, ALK is positive (3% –7%) 6 .

Novartis’ Commitment to Lung Cancer Research

A targeted therapy study by Novartis Cancer has helped transform the way patients are treated with mutation-related lung cancer.Patients with associated NSCLC mutation may be candidates for targeted therapy. 7

Zykadia was one of the first drugs approved by the FDA for registration as a brand new drug. This drug is currently indicated for the treatment of patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, intolerance or disease progression during therapy with crizotinib. For this indication, the drug was approved under the fast track registration procedure based on data on frequency and duration of response to therapy.No improvement in survival rates or reduction in symptom severity was found. Further approval for this indication may be subject to verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. In the United States, Zykadia went on sale less than three and a half years after the first patient was selected for a clinical trial.

Novartis is committed to its commitment to the global community of lung cancer patients by continuing to research the treatments available on the market, as well as to study experimental compounds specific to the genomic biomarkers of NSCLC.

About Clinical Study ASCEND-4

ASCEND-4 is a Phase III, global, randomized, open-label, multicenter clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Zykadia versus standard chemotherapy (including supportive care) in untreated adult ALK-positive stage IIIB or IV NSCLC progressive disease. Patients received oral Zykadia 750 mg / day.or standard two-component chemotherapy with platinum in combination with pemetrexed according to the regimen (500 mg / m2 pemetrexed plus 75 mg / m2 cisplatin or carboplatin AUC 5-6) for 4 cycles, followed by pemetrexed support.

Of 376 patients, 189 (59 with brain metastases) were randomized to Zykadia and 187 (62 with brain metastases) to chemotherapy. Approximately 60% of patients with enrollment brain metastases who received Zykadia had not previously received radiation therapy, which is now the standard treatment for brain metastases.Among patients randomized to chemotherapy, 105 (72%) of 145 received an ALK inhibitor as first-line therapy after completing chemotherapy.

About the drug Zykadia

Zykadia is an oral selective inhibitor of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), a gene that can fuse with others to form an abnormal “fusion protein” that promotes the development and growth of several cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Currently, the drug Zykadia is approved for use in 64 countries around the world.For more information visit: www.NovartisOncology.com/news/product-portfolio/zykadia

Important information on the safety of the medicinal product Zykadia

Zykadia can cause serious side effects.

In most patients, Zykadia can cause gastrointestinal disturbances and cause, among other things, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and pain in the stomach. These problems can be dire. Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions for taking medications to relieve these symptoms and seek medical advice if symptoms are severe or persist.

Zykadia can cause severe liver dysfunction. Patients should have blood tests before starting treatment with Zykadia, every two weeks for the first month, and monthly after the end of therapy. In addition, you should immediately inform your doctor if any of the following symptoms appear: fatigue (loss of energy), itchy skin, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, nausea or vomiting, decreased appetite, pain in the right side of the abdomen, dark or brown urine lighter than usual bleeding and bruising.

During treatment, Zykadia may cause severe or life-threatening edema (inflammation) of the lungs, which can be fatal. Symptoms can be similar to those of lung cancer. Patients should immediately inform their doctor if any new or worsening symptoms appear, including trouble breathing or shortness of breath, fever, cough with or without phlegm, chest pain.

Zykadia can cause very slow, very fast or abnormal heartbeats.Doctors should check their patient’s heart condition during treatment with Zykadia. Patients should immediately inform the physician of new chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or lightheadedness, weak or atypical heartbeat, blue lips, shortness of breath, swelling of the lower extremities or skin. You also need to inform the doctor about the start of taking new drugs or any changes in the drug regimen for cardiovascular diseases.

Zykadia may increase blood glucose levels. People with diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance, or taking corticosteroids have a high risk of high blood sugar during treatment with Zykadia. Patients need to have blood glucose tests before and during therapy with Zykadia. Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions on blood sugar control and contact them immediately if they experience any symptoms of high blood sugar, including increased thirst and / or frequent urination.

Taking Zykadia can increase the level of pancreatic enzymes in the blood and cause pancreatitis. Patients should have blood tests before and as needed during therapy with Zykadia. Patients should inform their doctor about signs and symptoms of pancreatitis, which include pain in the upper abdomen, which can spread to the back and worsen with food intake.

Before taking Zykadia, patients should inform their doctor about all pathological conditions, including liver problems, diabetes or high blood sugar, heart problems, including a condition called long QT syndrome.You should also inform about pregnancy (existing or possible), planning a pregnancy in the future, breastfeeding or planning one.

Zykadia may harm an unborn baby. Pregnant women should use highly effective birth control (contraception) during and for 3 months after stopping Zykadia treatment. It is not known whether Zykadia passes into breast milk. Patients and their physician must decide whether to be treated with Zykadia or breastfeed, but not at the same time.

Patients should tell their doctor about the medications they are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Taking Zykadia while using oral contraceptives can lead to a loss of their effectiveness.

The most common adverse reactions with a frequency of ≥ 10% were diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue (lack of energy), liver dysfunction detected in laboratory tests (blood monitoring required), abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation, rash, impaired function kidney, identified in laboratory tests (blood monitoring is necessary), heartburn and anemia.Adverse reactions of 3-4 degrees with a frequency of ≥ 5%: impaired liver function, revealed in laboratory tests, fatigue (loss of strength), diarrhea, nausea and hyperglycemia (blood control is necessary).

Patients should stop taking Zykadia and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms appear, which may be signs of an allergic reaction:

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing;

  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat;

  • severe itching of the skin, accompanied by a red rash or blistering.

Patients should inform their physician of any troublesome or persistent adverse reaction. They may not all be possible side effects of Zykadia. Patients can ask their doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Patients should take Zykadia as directed by their healthcare professional. Patients should not change the dose or stop taking Zykadia unless directed by their doctor.Zykadia should be taken once daily on an empty stomach. Patients should not eat at least 2 hours before and 2 hours after taking Zykadia. If the next dose of the drug is missed, it should be taken as soon as the patient remembers about it. If there are less than 12 hours left before taking the next dose, you should not make up for the missed dose – you need to take the next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose of the drug to make up for a missed dose. Patients should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit during treatment with Zykadia, as this can increase the concentration of the drug in the blood to dangerous levels.If the patient has vomited after swallowing a Zycadia capsule, they should not take additional capsules until the next scheduled dose of the drug.

Please read the full instructions for use of Zykadia.


This press release contains a number of forward-looking statements. Their meaning is conveyed by such terms as “priority consideration”, “the status of a fundamentally new drug”, “will”, “we are committed”, “brings us closer”, “would be”, “intended”, “adherence”, “may depend from ”,“ current ”,“ experimental ”, or similar expressions, either in the form of an explicit or implicit discussion of potential new indications or labeling changes for Zykadia, or in relation to potential future sales revenue of Zykadia.These statements should not be taken as guarantees. These forward-looking statements reflect management’s current view of future events and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. If one or more of these risks and uncertainties materializes, or the assumptions associated with them are incorrect, actual results may differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements.No assurance can be given that an application for any additional indications for use or a change in the instructions for use of Zykadia on any market at any particular point in time will be made and approved. Likewise, no guarantees can be given that Zykadia will be a commercial success in the future. In particular, management expectations for Zykadia may be influenced by, inter alia, research uncertainties, including unintended clinical trial results and additional analyzes of available clinical data, general economic and industrial conditions, and global cost containment trends. health care, including continued price pressures, unforeseen business problems, unanticipated results from patent litigation, the company’s ability to obtain and retain corporate intellectual property rights, and other risks and factors that are identified in the company’s current Form 20-F Novartis AG, archived by the US State Securities and Stock Market Commission.Novartis provides information in this press release as of a specific date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. information.

About Novartis

Novartis creates innovative healthcare products that meet the growing needs of patients and society at large.Novartis, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, offers a diversified portfolio of medicines to meet these demands: innovative medicines, lower cost generics and biosimilars, and ophthalmic products. In each of these areas, Novartis holds a leading position in the world. In 2016, the group achieved sales of $ 48.5 billion, while the group invested about 9 in R&D.$ 0 billion. Novartis employs approximately 118,000 people. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information visit the website: http://www.novartis.com.

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  1. Soria JC, et al.First-line ceritinib versus platinum-based chemotherapy in advanced ALK-rearranged non-small- cell lung cancer (ASCEND-4): A randomized, open-label Phase 3 study. The Lancet . 2017.
  2. US Food and Drug Administration. Priority Review. Available at http://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Approvals/Fast/ucm405405.htm. Access opened on February 2, 2017.
  3. US Food and Drug Administration. Fact Sheet: Breakthrough Therapies. Available at http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Legislation/SignificantAmendmentstotheFDCAct/FDASIA/ucm329491.htm. Access opened on February 6, 2017.
  4. World Health Organization. Estimated number of deaths, both sexes, worldwide in 2012. World Health Organization. http://gco.iarc.fr/today/online-analysis-pie?mode=cancer&mode_population= continents & population = 900 & sex = 0 & cancer = 11 & type = 1 & statistic = 0 & prevalence = 0 & color_palette = default. Access opened on January 19, 2017.
  5. World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012.Lung cancer. Available at http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx?cancer=lung. Access opened on February 2, 2017.
  6. Lovly, C., L. Horn, W. Pao. 2016. Molecular Profiling of Lung Cancer. My Cancer Genome. Available at https://www.mycancergenome.org/content/disease/lung-cancer/. Access opened on February 7, 2017.
  7. Riess JW, Wakelee, HA. Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Management: Novel Targets and Recent Clinical Advances. Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology.2012; 10: 226-224.


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How does the IUD work? – September 8, 2020

The IUD is not a new method of birth control, but it has become more popular in recent years. According to family planning statistics, the demand for IUDs has skyrocketed since 2016. Often our patients at One Community Health ask the following question: “How does the IUD work? Read on to find out more about this popular birth control method.

What is an IUD?

IUD stands for intrauterine device. It is a long-term and very effective method of contraception. Is the device itself a small piece of plastic in the shape of a letter? T? what fits in the uterus.Depending on the specific device, IUDs last 3 to 12 years if not removed early.

How does the IUD work?

As we mentioned above, there are different types of IUDs, and each works in its own way. Some are coated with copper and some are coated with hormones. Copper is toxic to sperm and, when released into the uterus, acts as a spermicide, preventing fertilization.

Progestin-coated IUDs thicken cervical mucus, so sperm cannot reach the egg.In some cases, it stops ovulation – the release of an egg during a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. If no egg is released, pregnancy is not dangerous.

How Effective Are IUDs?

IUDs are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, making them one of the most effective forms of birth control available today. In part, they are so effective because they are practically reliable, meaning you cannot forget to take them or use them incorrectly, as is possible with pills and condoms.

Advantages of the IUD

  • Convenient
  • 99% effective
  • Can be removed at any time if you want to get pregnant
  • Hormonal IUDs can improve heavy periods
  • Non-hormonal option available for those who prefer (copper IUD)
  • The copper IUD can serve as emergency contraception if inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse.

Reverse side

Some people experience minor side effects, including:

  • Irregular bleeding in the first few months
  • More severe periods and more severe spasms (copper IUD)
  • Lighter / shorter periods or no menses (some progestin-only IUDs)
  • PMS-like symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, acne, nausea and breast tenderness (progestin-only IUD)

In rare cases, more serious side effects may occur.Another disadvantage of IUDs is that they do not protect against STDs.

Various types of Naval Forces

There are four types of hormonal IUDs available. They all work the same way but last for different periods of time.

  • Mirena ? lasts up to 7 years
  • Kilina? lasts up to 5 years
  • Lilletta? lasts up to 7 years
  • Skyla? lasts up to 3 years

There is only one type of non-hormonal, or copper, IUD available in the United States – Paragard.The duration of this IUD is up to 12 years.

Navy in Sacramento

If you have further questions about how IUDs work or which option is right for you, be sure to talk to your One Community Health doctor. Learn more about our comprehensive women’s health service and how to become a patient by calling 916-443-3299.

photos Coalition for Reproductive Health on Unsplash

90,000 Hepatitis C Treatment. Information on Hepatitis C Treatment

There are many things you can do to improve your health and feel better during your hepatitis C treatment.And if you take good care of yourself, you will increase your chances of being able to take your medication as prescribed.


Contrary to some claims that you can read on the Internet, there is no specific “Hepatitis C Diet”. However, a healthy diet can improve liver health in someone with hepatitis C.

A well-balanced diet can improve liver function and reduce the risk of cirrhosis (severe scarring) of the liver.It can also help your immune system fight disease. People with hepatitis C are generally more likely to have diabetes, but a good diet can help control blood sugar and reduce body fat, thereby lowering the risk of diabetes.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of drinking coffee for improving liver health in hepatitis C. Studies show that you need to drink more than two cups a day to achieve these benefits. However, research is not strong enough to make a recommendation to start drinking coffee, and some people do not tolerate it well.But for those who currently drink coffee – enjoy!

It is important to eat right, not be overweight and avoid alcohol during treatment. On the contrary, a poor diet can sometimes lead to liver problems. Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, diabetes, or high levels of cholesterol or fat in the blood are associated with an accumulation of fat in the liver called “ fatty liver ” (or steatosis). Over time, having fatty liver in addition to hepatitis C will increase the likelihood of developing cirrhosis.The most effective way to lose weight is to combine calorie reduction with increased physical activity.

While following a generally healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight may not seem like a viable treatment for hepatitis C, it is a good way to protect your liver. All that is needed is to follow dietary guidelines based on the Diet Guidelines for Americans, unless you have cirrhosis or another medical condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, that may warrant certain dietary restrictions.

General dietary guidelines include the following:

  • Maintain a healthy calorie intake
  • Eat whole grain breads and cereals
  • Get enough protein (add protein drinks if needed)
  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day; Eating foods of different colors can provide a range of nutrients.
  • Limit your intake of salty, sugary and fatty foods.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (usually 6-8 glasses a day).In addition to water, you can add juice, tea, milk, soup, and frozen fruit bars.


Certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and D, iron and niacin, in high doses can harm your liver. It is best to consult with your doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist before taking a vitamin or supplement.


It is a liver toxin even in people without hepatitis C.Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to cirrhosis and serious liver disease. It is best to avoid alcohol entirely.


Exercise is important for many reasons: it helps control weight, strengthens your immune system, improves appetite, and relieves stress and depression. While the idea of ​​exercising when you’re feeling tired may seem counterintuitive, it can improve your overall sense of well-being.

Exercise doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym – walking, gardening, and even housework are important.Do things in moderation. Try to do 10 minute blocks of exercise throughout the day. Low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming work best. You can start with a 10-minute walk at a comfortable pace, take breaks to rest as needed, and gradually increase your activity level. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a diet and exercise program.


Everyone experiences stress in their lives at one time or another – work, finances, children, family problems are all examples of common stressors.Our bodies are built to deal with stress, to keep us out of harm’s way or to endure a difficult day. However, stress can be a problem if it is persistent or intense.

Chronic stress negatively affects the immune system and contributes to other problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep problems and substance abuse. A chronic medical condition such as hepatitis C can cause physical and emotional stress.Hepatitis C treatment can add additional stressors depending on the level of side effects you are experiencing. When people are under chronic stress, there is often anger.

Feeling angry at the first diagnosis of an illness is a common reaction. You might have thoughts like “I don’t deserve this!” and “Why did this happen to me?” While these reactions are perfectly normal, anger that becomes chronic and / or turns into rage is not. Simply put, it can ruin your relationship and rob you of the energy you need to live a good life.

Dealing with stress and anger is an integral part of hepatitis C infection control and treatment. Here are some strategies to help you:

  • Find ways to relax and calm your mind. Some people find meditation, prayer, visualization, or massage helpful.
  • Do something physical as a release. Dancing, cycling, walking, yoga, or any kind of exercise can keep you healthy and reduce stress and anger.
  • Take part in a hepatitis C support group
  • Help others; sometimes helping others is the best way to forget about your own problems.
  • Set reasonable expectations. Solve problems one task at a time. What should I do today? If it’s not that important, cross it off the list.
  • Learn to let others help you when you need it.
  • Spend time with people who are positive about life and limit your interactions with people and places that are negative.
  • Attend stress and / or anger management classes. They are often offered by employers, health insurance companies, or community centers.
  • Find a way to laugh. Whether you’re watching a funny movie or spending time with a good friend, remember that laughter has a healing effect on both body and mind.
  • Try to give a positive touch to things and don’t worry about the little things. Practice positive thinking by replacing negative thoughts with messages of hope and affirmation.
  • Discuss your feelings with people you trust. Sometimes others may offer a different point of view or solution to what’s on your mind. Or consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

90,000 Programs to improve birth control in women after childbirth

Most postpartum women do not use birth control methods as much as they would like. Adolescents often have repeated pregnancies during the year [postpartum].In our earlier work, we found several randomized trials teaching family planning techniques after childbirth. Here, we’ve looked at other types of studies that have tested (tested) ways to improve postpartum birth control. We wanted to see if any specific programs were associated with the increased use of family planning methods after childbirth.

We conducted a computer search (prior to November 3, 2014) to identify studies examining programs to improve family planning in postpartum women.We wrote to researchers about the missing data. The programs were supposed to provide contacts (interconnection) for six weeks after delivery. The special program was compared to another (different) program, regular assistance, or no service / assistance of any kind. Our main outcomes were birth control use and pregnancy.

We found six studies with a total of 5143 women. Of the three studies with pregnancy data, two showed fewer pregnancies in the treatment group than in the control group.The programs in those studies included clinical counseling and community education. All studies showed that the special program was associated with higher birth control. In two studies, more women in the treatment group used modern birth control than in the control group. In another study, women in the treatment group were more likely to take a pill or use an IUD (intrauterine device) and less likely to use an injection method.One study assessed how well a birth control method usually works. Methods in the treatment group were rated higher than those in the control group. A study focused on the IUD showed more IUD use in the treatment group and less use in the control group. Women in the health care program used birth control more often than those in the population education program or those who received standard care.Also, women in the health care group were more likely to use the lactation (breastfeeding) method.

We believe the data were of very low quality for pregnancy outcomes and use of birth control. These studies had problems in design, analysis, and reporting. Some studies did not regulate factors that might influence results. The studies assessed the outcomes self-reported by [women] and used a variety of ways to measure outcomes.