If you're not ready to have a baby or are done having children, you need a reliable form of birth control. Hormonal birth control has been around for years but isn't always ideal for your health.
Luckily, non-hormonal options are available to put your mind at ease and protect against pregnancy.
OB/GYN John Paul Roberts, MD, provides expert care at his practice in Plano, Texas. If you're unsure what type of birth control is best for you, Dr. Roberts listens to your concerns and offers you the best options for your needs.
Types of non-hormonal birth control
Unless you have uncomfortable symptoms with your period or are in menopause, there's no reason you need hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control works on a woman's body to prevent pregnancy by thinning the uterine lining, thickening cervical mucus, and preventing ovulation.
If you're concerned about the risks of hormonal birth control, you can opt for non-hormonal methods. Dr. Roberts recommends the following types of non-hormonal birth control:
Sperm don't like copper, which acts as a spermicide to prevent pregnancy. Dr. Roberts implants the copper IUD in your uterus during a short office procedure. These IUDs last for 10 years or more.
Male and female condoms
Male and female condoms are both barrier forms of birth control. They fit over the penis or inside the vagina to catch sperm and prevent pregnancy. Condoms also protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV.
A diaphragm is a specially fitted device that covers your cervix to keep sperm from getting to your uterus. It's reusable for up to a year, and you should keep it in place for eight hours after sex. Dr. Roberts suggests using the diaphragm with spermicide to increase its effectiveness.
Spermicide is a chemical that either kills or paralyzes sperm to prevent pregnancy. It comes in several forms, including gels and foams. You can use spermicide with other barrier methods, including condoms and the diaphragm.
Male or female sterilization is a permanent form of non-hormonal birth control. Female sterilization includes tubal ligation, where Dr. Roberts cauterizes your fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from reaching your uterus.
Benefits of not using hormones
When you choose non-hormonal birth control methods, you gain several advantages over hormonal birth control. These benefits include:
Minimal risk to your health
Hormonal birth control can affect your health, especially if you smoke and are over 35. Although uncommon, possible risks to your health include blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. They also can have side effects like weight gain, nausea, and headaches.
Non-hormonal birth control has almost zero side effects or risks to your well-being.
Protection from STDs
Barrier methods of non-hormonal birth control have the bonus of preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are the primary non-hormonal birth control that keeps you safe from contracting HIV or STDs.
Long-term birth control
If you're looking for a long-term option for preventing pregnancy, Dr. Roberts recommends the copper IUD. This small device can stay in your uterus for years, providing peace of mind. The IUD also has minimal side effects, making it an excellent choice for birth control.
Although effective, the hormonal birth control pill requires you to remember to take it every day. You don’t need to think about barrier birth control options until you're ready for sex, which is appealing to many women.
Safe while breastfeeding
Hormonal birth control isn't always safe to use when you're still breastfeeding. Non-hormonal options don't have anything that can interfere with your baby's health.
If you're unsure of what option is right for you, discuss your options with Dr. Roberts. Call our office in Plano, Texas, or book an appointment with Dr. Roberts through our website.