Hormonal vs. Non-Hormonal Contraception: What’s the Distinction?

Erika Zar, 45, tried many alternative sorts of contraception earlier than she settled on her present one. “Most of them appeared to amplify my temper shifts,” she stated. The contraception capsules that she tried lowered her intercourse drive and made her melancholy worse, and the vaginal ring made her so “ragey” that she solely lasted seven days with it.

After two emergency surgical procedures to deal with her endometriosis, Zar was prescribed a hormonal intrauterine system (IUD) to assist management the illness — and he or she’s nonetheless utilizing one over a decade later. After years of trial and error, she’s completely satisfied to have discovered a type of contraception that meets her distinctive wants.

With so many contraception choices out there, it may be arduous to know which one is best for you. Some ladies choose non-hormonal contraception as a result of they fear about unwanted effects from hormonal choices, or they’ve well being situations that make hormones unsafe. Others may just like the comfort of hormonal contraception or have well being situations, reminiscent of endometriosis (like Zar) or painful cramps, which might be improved by it.

Being knowledgeable might assist a lady select the fitting contraception for her

Practically half of all pregnancies yearly in the US are usually not deliberate, but round one-third of ladies who might develop into pregnant do not use contraception. Why may a lady who would not need to develop into pregnant not use contraception? Causes range however might embrace lack of entry or data, rare intercourse or considerations about how their well being shall be affected.

Relating to serving to ladies resolve to make use of contraception, data usually performs an necessary function. One massive examine discovered that teenage women who had thorough intercourse schooling earlier than changing into sexually energetic have been extra doubtless to make use of some kind of contraception after they had intercourse.

Understanding the variations between hormonal and non-hormonal contraception might help you make your best option in your physique — and your life-style.

Non-hormonal contraception provides on-demand safety with out hormone unwanted effects 

Non-hormonal types of contraception embrace condoms, sponges, diaphragms, cervical caps, non-hormonal copper IUDs, spermicide and the acid-based vaginal gel that was not too long ago accredited by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA). Somewhat than making hormonal modifications, these strategies forestall being pregnant by forming a bodily barrier that retains sperm from getting into the uterus or creating an atmosphere that stops sperm from efficiently fertilizing eggs.

Non-hormonal contraception usually appeals to ladies who need management over after they’re protected, based on Dr. Nisha Verma, a household planning fellow and OB-GYN at Emory College. This may embrace ladies who solely want safety from being pregnant from time to time or ladies preferring to decide on their contraception technique within the second as a substitute of utilizing a long-acting kind. Non-hormonal contraception can be ideally suited for ladies who do not need to override their pure menstrual cycle or put one thing of their physique every single day. “Folks like that it is one thing they will use simply when they need it,” Verma stated.

Girls who’ve well being situations that forestall them from taking hormonal contraception or have skilled (or are afraid they could expertise) unwanted effects from hormonal contraception — like weight acquire or lowered intercourse drive — can also hunt down non-hormonal choices for stopping being pregnant.

Condoms are a type of non-hormonal contraception that provide the additional advantage of stopping sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. It needs to be famous that solely latex or polyurethane condoms (not lambskin) supply this safety.

Hormonal contraception offers steady safety and different well being advantages

For girls who need their contraception to be “on” on a regular basis, there are lots of hormonal choices that present steady safety towards being pregnant. Contraception capsules, patches, pictures, and vaginal rings are thought-about short-acting types of hormonal contraception, whereas hormonal IUDs and implants can present safety for a few years. Each short- and long-acting hormonal contraception strategies work by releasing hormones that change the physique’s chemistry to stop being pregnant.

In line with Verma, many ladies are drawn to hormonal contraception as a result of it may be used for extra than simply being pregnant prevention. Some ladies with heavy or irregular durations — together with these with situations like fibroids, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — use hormonal contraception to control their cycles or cut back ovarian cysts, whereas others like the choice of not having a interval in any respect. Verma provides that girls coping with hormone-related well being points like zits or temper swings can also flip to hormonal contraception for assist.

However hormonal contraception is not with out drawbacks. “There are security considerations, notably with contraception strategies containing estrogen,” Verma stated. For folks with sure well being situations like migraine illness, hypertension, breast most cancers or a historical past of blood clots, Verma stated, hormonal contraception containing estrogen will not be protected.

There isn’t any “greatest” contraception

Verma says that healthcare suppliers have modified the way in which they speak to their sufferers about selecting contraception. “When the long-acting reversible contraceptive strategies got here out, there was a variety of pleasure about them — and a variety of pushing of those strategies,” she stated.

However today, Verma and her colleagues have largely shifted their method towards speaking to ladies about all their contraception choices (each hormonal and non-hormonal), after which serving to them resolve which one most closely fits their life-style.

What works for some may not work for others, Verma stated. “Nobody can inform you what’s doable for you.”

This useful resource was created with assist from Evofem Biosciences.

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