Modern Birth Control Methods

young woman talking to doctor about birth control pillsWe could have titled this article, "Contraception: Not Your Mother's Birth Control," because women today have never had more options when it comes to birth control. Did you know there are at least 17 forms of contraception today? And that several of these options can do more than just prevent pregnancy.

So if you're still using the same form of birth control you were using a decade or more ago, it's time for an update. And, if your lifestyle or focus has changed over the past few years or even months, your health care professional can help you determine a method that best fits your current needs.

Hormonal-based options—several to choose from
Good options for women who have been using oral contraceptives with no problems but are now ready for a change are one of the two new estrogen-based contraceptives: NuvaRing and Ortho Evra.

NuvaRing is inserted into the vagina like a tampon, where it releases a steady amount of estrogen and progestin throughout the month. You wear it for three weeks, then take it out for a week and have your period. Then you insert a new ring. Side effects include hormone effects similar to those from the pill and a mild increase of vaginal discharge. As with oral contraceptives, NuvaRing may increase the risk of blood clots and stroke, primarily in women who smoke. NuvaRing is 91 to 99 percent effective when used consistently and correctly as directed.