Are you looking for the right option between hormonal Vs non-hormonal birth control methods? Find answers to your unanswered questions and make the best decision for your reproductive health.
Table of Contents
- What is Hormonal Birth Control
- Types of Hormonal Birth Control
- What is Non-Hormonal Birth Control
- Types of Non-Hormonal Birth Control
- Comparison – Hormonal Vs. Non-hormonal IUDs
- What is the Best Method for You
Introduction: Hormonal vs Non-hormonal Birth Control
Factors to consider while selecting the right option would be your health, personal preference and lifestyle. Both hormonal and non-hormonal birth control methods have their advantages and disadvantages that require a bit of searching to select the right option for you.
This comprehensive article will guide you on both options with related factors that you need to consider and make your own informed decision that suits you the best.
- What is Hormonal Birth Control
These methods control and alter a woman’s hormonal balance to prevent pregnancy. In these methods, the women use hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control pills, patches or injections. It is essential to consult with a physical to check your health condition and get expert advice to decide the best for you.
In hormonal birth control methods, synthetic hormones like estrogen and progastrin are given to women to prevent pregnancy.
- Types of Hormonal Birth Control
There are multiple types of hormonal birth control options available, and you can select the one according to your choice in line with your body’s health or your doctor’s advice.
Refer to the below list of the most commonly used ones.
Birth Control Pills
The oral birth control (contraceptive) pills contain systemic hormones which inhibit pregnancy by preventing ovulation, including thickening of cervical mucus and changing the uterine lining. These synthetic hormones contain progestin or estrogen.
Pros & Cons: It works very well when taken correctly and also helps regulate the menstrual cycle. The side effects could be nausea, breast tenderness and also not suitable for women with certain medical conditions. Maintaining daily doses at the exact time could be another challenge. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Birth Control Patches
It is applied on the skin once a week or as per your doctor’s advice. It comes in small patches in shape that release hormones through the skin. The course of action is similar to the birth control pills.
Pros & Cons: It helps to regulate periods and is more convenient to take every week as it is not required daily. It may cause skin irritation in some women. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Birth Control Rings
The contraceptive hormonal ring is flexible and inserted in the vagina. It releases hormones for three weeks to prevent pregnancy. The ring is removed for the week when the menstrual cycle is expected to begin.
Pros & Cons: You can use it every month rather than daily or weekly. The study shows that birth control rings can reduce menstrual symptoms in some women. You have to be mentally & physically comfortable. Some people do not feel comfortable during intercourse. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Birth control Shot (Depo-Provera)
This injectable contraceptive is given once every 12 to 13 weeks or as per the doctor’s advice. The injection is administered by a healthcare provider only. The dose contains progesterone and prevents pregnancy by stopping egg release from the ovary.
Pros & Cons: It is highly effective and requires to inject quarterly (every three months). Your healthcare provider must give the injection. This is not good for long-term use since it may decrease bone density and cause weight gain & irregular periods. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Birth Control Implant (AKA Nexplanon)
This is a small rod with a size of about a matchstick. The healthcare provider implants it in the skin of your upper arm. The hormones released from the plant rode into your body and help prevent pregnancy for up to 3 to 5 years.
Pros & Cons: It remains effective for up to three years with no hassle of daily or monthly maintenance and is quickly reversible once the rod is removed. The process of rod insertion and removal requires a minor surgical procedure. This may cause irregular bleeding, breast pain and headache. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Intrauterine (Hormonal IUD) Device:
It is a T-shaped small piece inserted inside your uterus by a healthcare provider. The hormonal IUD releases a small quantity of progestin in the body and helps in stopping pregnancy for several years.
Pros & Cons: This method is highly effective for term and may help in birth control for up to five years and also supports in reducing menstrual bleeding and cramps. However, you may face pain, cramps or bleeding after placing an IUD that should go away within a few days after the procedure.
You must consult your healthcare provider if the symptoms persist or increase. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Emergency contraception can be used after unprotected sex. It can also be used in cases when the other contraceptive protection fails to prevent pregnancy. It is available in the form of pills or copper hormonal IUDs.
Pros & Cons: This method can be used as backup when others fail to prevent pregnancy. You can avail it without a prescription. However, this is not a regular birth control method. It must be taken soon after unprotected intercourse. You may have vomiting or nausea. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Continuous Birth Control:
In some cases, the women take hormonal birth control pills continuously and do not take a break of one week to prevent menstruation. Keep note that it should be performed as per the advice of your healthcare provider. Continuous birth control is mainly conducted due to some medical reason, such as reducing severe symptoms of the menstrual cycle or managing other related medical conditions.
Pros & Cons: You can use it over a long period. It helps reduce menstruation and related symptoms to a minimum. It is not suitable for everyone and may lead to some problems like irregular bleeding in the first few months. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
These pills are small in size and are also called mini pills. The average birth preventive has estrogen and progesterone, whereas the mini pill has only progesterone in it. The Progestin-only pills do not contain estrogen. It should be taken with the advice of your healthcare provider.
Pros & Cons: This is good for those women who can not bear estrogen. Also, it can be used during breastfeeding. You have to be very consistent in your schedule while taking these pills. Take the medicine every day at the same time. Poor consistency may lead to irregular bleeding. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
Transdermal Contraceptive Gel:
A gel is applied to the skin, which contains hormones (progestin Nestorone®). It suppresses sperm and works similarly to birth control pills.
Pros & Cons: This is a good alternative for those women who do not like to swallow pills and feel more comfortable applying gel daily on the skin. The dark side of this method is its daily use and skin irritation in some women. The protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is also uncertain.
- What is Non-hormonal Birth Control:
The non-hormonal birth control methods do not change your hormone level to prevent pregnancy. The types of non-hormonal birth control are listed below, and you can select one which fulfils your personal preferences and is according to your lifestyle and best for your prevailing health conditions.
- Types of Non-hormonal Birth Control:
- Women’s Fertility Awareness or Family Planning:
In this method, a woman tracks her condition and tries to find the days when she is more fertile. Usually, she follows her menstrual cycle, vaginal discharge and her body temperature. The success rate of this method is 23%.
Pros & Cons: There is no side effect involved in this. However, the method is best only for those women who have very regular menstrual cycles. It is still challenging to tell when you are ovulating. A detailed, dedicated, precise approach is required to achieve success. There is no protection against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
Pull-Out and Outercourse Method:
A man pulls his penis out of a woman’s vagina before he ejaculates. The success rate in this method is 22%. In the outercourse method, the man’s penis is not inserted into the vagina at all, so there is no risk of pregnancy at all in this method.
Pros & Cons: Both methods are simple, and you can select which suits you the best. There is a shallow risk of STDs in our course. The man needs the right time to pull out of her, which may not feel suitable for some men. There is no protection against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the pull-out method.
The two types of Sterilization are Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy. The Tubal Ligation blocks the fallopian tubes of a woman so that the eggs cannot reach her uterus. The Vasectomy is performed in men wherein the boxes are sealed, which carry sperm from the testes in men.
Pros & Cons: Both tubal ligation and Vasectomy are pretty compelling. Tubal ligation is considered a permanent approach, whereas a vasectomy is reversible. You may face some risk of complication (e.g., infection, bleeding, etc.) associated with general surgical procedures. The general risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is also associated with Sterilization.
It is a thin protective sheath which a man wears over his penis while having sex. Generally, the condoms are made of latex. Male condoms prevent sperm from getting into the vagina. The success rate is about 82%.
Pros & Cons: This is a suitable method that protects against unplanned pregnancy. It also protects against STDs. They are readily available in drugstores without a prescription. You must follow instructions for its practical use.
Related: Facts about STDs.
It is a flexible lubricated tube and has rings on both ends. It is made of latex material. A woman puts this condom inside her vagina. One side of the box is closed, which helps keep out sperm. The success rate is about 80%.
Pros & Cons: Female condom also protects against STDs. Readily available in drugstores. The protection is compromised if the sex frequency is high, with a high chance of getting pregnant. You have to use it properly to get good results.
Spermicide is a chemical-based (nonoxynol-9) that women put into the vagina to kill or paralyze the sperm. Spermicide is readily available in drugstores in different forms like gel, foams, and suppositories. The success rate is about 70%; you can use it with other non-hormonal birth control (like condoms or diaphragms) to get good results.
Pros & Cons: The main chemical in spermicide may cause irritation & allergic effects in some women. Some parts of the chemical may leak out after use. You should not rinse your vagina for around 7-9 hours after use. Also, spermicides do not protect against STDs. You have more chances to experience infections if you feel irritation with the help of spermicide.
It is a small T-shaped, non-hormonal device made of plastic and wrapped in copper. It has two strings. It slowly releases copper, which is toxic for sperm. This prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg. If failed to do so in rare cases, it also contains a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb.
Pros & Cons: Copper IUDs are considered one of the best birth control methods. The success rate is 99%. It works for 5-10 years with no daily or monthly maintenance. You need a doctor to remove it once you plan to get pregnant. Copper IUDs sometimes cause bleeding and cramps during the periods.
A cup-shaped barrier made up of silicon that woman inserts into the vagina. It helps to block sperm from entering the womb. You must consult with a doctor for proper placement of the diaphragm at first.
Pros & Cons: The success rate is 94% if you use the diaphragm correctly with added spermicide. It is reusable for 12 months. Leave the diaphragm inside for a minimum of 8 hours after intercourse. It will not protect you from STDs as well. You will have chances to develop urinary tract and vaginal infections by using the diaphragm.
As the name shows, it is a small cup-shaped device made up of silicon and placed over the cervix of a woman. It helps keep out perms. It must be placed by a doctor and used with spermicide.
Pros & Cons: The success rate is 80%. It would be best if you kept the cervical cap for up to 48 hours after intercourse. It would be best if you had the practice to place it correctly. This is not a preferred choice for most of the women. It does not protect you from STDs. Prefer not to use it if you plan to have intercourse three times or more in a week. The continuous use of a cervical cap also increases the chances of bladder infections.
It is made of polyurethane form and placed in the vagina that covers the opening of the uterus (cervix). Unlike the diaphragm and cervical cap, sponges have built-in spermicide. You can purchase it without a prescription.
Pros & Cons: The sponge gives the feeling of vaginal tissues. You can have multiple intercourse with one sponge insertion in 24 hours duration. It does not protect from STDs.
RELATED: Non-hormonal Birth Control
Comparison – Hormonal Vs. Non-hormonal IUDs (Hormonal vs. non-hormonal Birth Control)
The choice depends on the individual’s preference and health conditions and varies from person to person. Hormonal birth control methods are considered more effective when employed correctly. They are good at regulating irregular menstrual cycles and controlling heavy bleeding and cramping.
However, you must consult with your healthcare provider if you have some pre-medical conditions like blood clots or migraines history. Common side effects of hormonal IDUs are nausea, change in mood or weight gain.
These methods do not rely on hormonal changes for birth control. You will not face the usual side effects related to the use of hormonal IUDs, and it is primarily a good option for women who are sensitive to hormones. These are quickly revisable when you are ready to be fertile again. The options include condoms, copper IUDs, diaphragms, and fertility awareness guidelines.
The non-hormonal IUDs are not very effective when compared to hormonal methods. You have to consistently use the form correctly to get good results. There is no protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in non-hormonal birth control methods.
- What is the Best Method for You?
Consider the following factors while making your selection between hormonal vs. non-hormonal birth control methods;
Health History: You can select a non-hormonal method if you are sensitive to hormone change or have had a bad experience with hormonal method/s previously.
Personal Priority: If birth control is your top priority, select one of the hormonal birth control methods that suits you the best to get the best results.
Lifestyle: This is one of the critical factors. Check if you are a person who prefers to take pills or if you do not want to get involved in taking any daily/weekly, or monthly hustles. The non-hormonal methods give you a relatively relaxed approach and less commitment, although effectiveness is compromised.
Future Plan: It is essential to know what your plan is. The non-hormonal methods are better than the hormonal ones if you plan pregnancy shortly. The non-hormonal methods are reversed more easily and quickly as compared to the hormonal methods.
We have gone through the details for both hormonal vs. non-hormonal birth control methods. Personal preference and medical conditions are significant in selecting the best way for you. It is advisable to seek expert advice from your healthcare provider according to your health condition and want to know the best suitable method for you.
It is essential to go through in detail and get the correct information comparing hormonal vs. non-hormonal birth control methods.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
- What is better, hormonal or non-hormonal birth control?
- This is specific and varies from person to person depending upon the person’s needs, preferences and medical history, if any. Go through the given details for both hormonal and non-hormonal birth control methods and select the best fit for you.
- Why do people choose non-hormonal birth control?
- Some people are sensitive to hormones, which come with related side effects. Selection of the best non-hormonal birth control also depends on a person’s lifestyle and preferences.
- What are the disadvantages of non-hormonal contraceptives?
- Some women do not like to place non-hormonal devices in the vaginal route and feel uncomfortable during intercourse. It may cause irritation or infections.
- What are the benefits of non-estrogen birth control?
- Non-estrogen birth control is associated with low-risk side effects, is compatible with breastfeeding women, prevents pregnancy for a longer time, is an option for low hormonal doses, and is also effective for emergency contraception.
- What are the pros and cons of hormone pills (birth control pills)?
- Pros: These methods are convenient and practical, less menstrual symptoms and cramps, no special equipment is required, and protect against certain cancers
- Cons: Strict schedule to follow, comes with some side effects, potential mood fluctuations, mainly required to be performed by a doctor, no protection against STIs and not suitable if you have certain health conditions.
For details, please refer to the relevant section above in this article.
- Who should not take estrogen birth control?
- Individuals with a history of blood clots and migraines with aura are at high risk, especially if they are above 35 years of age or smoke. The health conditions may get severe if such individuals start estrogen birth control.
- What is the safest birth control method?
- This can not be a straight answer and depends on personal preference and health conditions. Generally, IUDs are practical options, but you must consult a doctor to find the best and safest method for you according to your health conditions and preferences.
- What is the disadvantage of high estrogen in females?
- High levels of estrogen may lead to mood swings, breast tenderness, risk of blood clots or breast cancer in some instances. Read the article above for a complete guide.
- What is the best form of birth control?
- It depends on the women’s health condition, body hormone levels and personal preference.
- What birth control pill is healthiest?
- In general, the birth control pill with levonorgestrel has low side effects or risk factors, but you must consult with your doctor to find the most suitable birth control pill for you as per your health conditions.
- Which birth control has the most minor side effects?
- All forms of birth control methods have some level of risk involved. However, the IUD (intrauterine device) is reported to have less side effects. Consult with a healthcare provider to find the best option for you.
- What is the most straightforward birth control on the body?
- The reports say that IUDs are one of the best methods to prevent pregnancy. They are easy to use / implant and produce good results as well. However, it matters a lot to get the expert advice from the doctor.
- What is the only 100% effective birth control?
- According to your health condition and other related factors, your doctor will guide you on the most effective birth control method.
- What is the weakest birth control pill?
- The pill containing the least amount of estrogen is considered the weakest birth control pill. You may need to keep account of other related factors.
- How painful is an IUD?
- There will be some cramps or pain during this procedure. This pain is short for most people and remains for a few minutes only but can get worse in some. Your doctor may advise taking some pain-relieving medicine before the procedure to prevent cramps or pain.
- Which birth control pill has no hormones?
- The “mini-pill” is the only birth control which does not contain estrogen hormone in it. It has only progestin and is a good option for people who prefer to take a non-estrogen-based birth control pill.
- Which birth control method is most likely to fail?
- It depends on different factors, including how correctly the method is employed with the required consistency. However, the failure chances are higher in those methods in which full compliance is required from the user, and the user fails to follow the same.
- Are birth control pills 100% safe?
- The pills are more effective and safe if you 100% follow the compliance, but since nobody is perfect, the birth control pills success rate drops to around 93% in reality.