Selecting the proper birth control is about finding what fits your body and lifestyle. It’s a highly personal choice, and you should always discuss the effects of any birth control with your doctor. Some birth control options fit lifestyle but won’t work for hormonal issues, and others are less convenient but helpful when trying to help with hormonal imbalances. 

Katherine V. Shannon, M.D., obstetrician and gynecologist at Women First of Louisville, discusses how contraception is more than just birth control pills or shots. There are many ways to personalize your birth control for your body and lifestyle. 

“There is something for everyone. It just gets down to having a conversation about what that person’s goals are and finding the right birth control or contraceptive to meet those goals,” says Dr. Shannon. 

Let’s look at current contraceptive options and empower individuals to make decisions aligned with their needs.

How Effective Are Different Contraceptive Methods?

Effectiveness plays a pivotal role in selecting a contraceptive. Dr. Shannon highlights specific methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, emphasizing their minimal risk of failure. She mentions their ease of proper use. 

Take a look at what Dr. Shannon has to say about contraceptive choices:

What Factors Should Influence Your Decision?

Choosing the right contraceptive involves considering what’s most important to you and how birth control fits into your lifestyle. One quick conversation with your gynecologist should provide you with all of the options, whether you’re looking for implants or traditional birth control pills. 

Dr. Shannon advises, “The best method is one that you will use consistently, is acceptable to you and your partner, and does not cause bothersome side effects.” 

Some factors to consider when making your contraceptive decision:

  • Choose a method of birth control that fits seamlessly into your routine and lifestyle, ensuring consistent use.
  • Prioritize mutual acceptability, aligning with both partners’ preferences and comfort levels.
  • Consider potential side effects and their impact on your overall well-being.
  • Evaluate the method’s convenience, including administration, frequency, and practicality for daily activities.
  • Assess reversibility, especially if plans for pregnancy are on the horizon.
  • Affordability factor, examining the financial implications of the chosen method.
  • Maintain open communication with your partner and gynecologist, discussing concerns and preferences openly.

Exploring Long-Term Contraception: What Are My Options?

Long-term contraception offers extended protection.  Dr. Shannon discusses how IUDs and they can benefit women looking for long-term options.

Before selecting the right contraceptive, you should understand the procedures, benefits, and duration of effectiveness for each method.

These options include:

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs):

  • Copper-containing IUD
    • Effective for at least ten years
    • Non-hormonal
    • Removable at any time
    • Some report heavier or more prolonged periods
  • Levonorgestrel-releasing IUD
    • Releases hormone levonorgestrel
    • Thickens cervical mucus and thins endometrium
    • Lasts up to two to eight years
    • Effective in preventing pregnancy


  • A birth control implant named Nexplanon
    • Single-rod progestin implant
    • Inserted into the arm
    • Prevents pregnancy for at least three years
    • Removable at any time
    • Effective within 24 hours of insertion
    • Some report irregular bleeding 
    • Fertility returns quickly after removal

Hormonal or Non-Hormonal: How Can Contraceptives Be Tailored?

Navigating between hormonal birth control and non-hormonal options depends on the choice you want to make for your body. Dr. Shannon recommends the copper IUD as a non-hormonal alternative, catering to those with specific preferences or medical reasons. 

However, many choices are available, each designed to meet individual goals while addressing concerns related to hormones. You should discuss the effects of hormonal and non-hormonal birth control to make the best decision. 

What to Ask Your Doctor: Hormonal vs. Non-Hormonal Birth Control

When considering birth control options, your doctor is an invaluable resource. No question should be left unasked when making such an important decision. Here are some potential questions to discuss:

  • Should I take hormonal birth control given my medical history?
  • What’s the frequency of prescription refills required?
  • Do any medications I take decrease the effectiveness of birth control?
  • How can I manage potential side effects?
  • Is it possible to transition from one hormonal method to another and what would be the side effects?

You can always consult with one of Women First doctors to get answers to all of your birth control questions. We’d be happy to help you find the perfect fit.

Making an Informed Decision: A Personalized Approach

With contraceptives, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Dr. Shannon reminds us, “You must balance the advantages and disadvantages of each method and then choose the method that you will be able to use consistently and correctly.” 

Get more comfortable with birth control options by asking these questions of your gynecologist. Individuals can make informed decisions aligned with their unique needs by actively engaging in discussions and considering factors such as ease of access. 

Schedule a consultation to learn about a personalized contraceptive plan at Women First. We’ll show you a balanced way to match your body to the proper birth control.

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