PWH Fertility Evaluations

5 Lesser-Known Facts About Contraceptives

Nov 08, 2022
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Whether you have a favorite form of birth control already or you’re in the market for a new contraceptive, take a moment to learn about some important — but lesser-known — facts about common forms of birth control.

If you’re investigating your birth control options, or if you’re already using one of the many FDA-approved options, chances are good that there are some facts about contraceptives you don’t know.   

At Progressive Women’s Health in Friendswood, Texas, board-certified OB/GYN Asia Mohsin, MD, and the care team want you to make informed decisions about your sexual and reproductive health. 

Our team created this informative post to give you the information you need to know about your birth control options, including facts many women aren’t aware of.

1. There are 19 FDA-approved forms of birth control

If you’ve felt overwhelmed when looking at your contraceptive options, it’s no wonder. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved 19 forms of birth control, including:

  • Female and male sterilization surgery
  • Copper and hormone-based intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Under-skin implants
  • Birth control shots
  • Combined, extended use, and progestin-only birth control pills
  • Birth control patch
  • Vaginal ring
  • Diaphragm
  • Vaginal sponge
  • Cervical cap
  • External and internal condoms
  • Spermicide

This number also includes two emergency contraceptives, which are approved for use if your regular birth control fails or if you didn’t use a contraceptive. 

2. Most women in the US use contraception

Contraception use in the United States is very common, with nearly two-thirds of women of reproductive age (15-44) using some type of birth control. The most popular non-permanent form of birth control remains the pill (about 13%), though IUDs and other long-acting contraceptives are gaining in popularity. 

Although it’s permanent, female sterilization is actually the most common method of contraception in the US, with nearly 20% of women opting to have their tubes tied. However, this method remains age dependent, with only 5% of women under age 30 opting for this form of birth control compared to 40% of women over age 40.  

3. IUDs are the most effective type of reversible birth control

Intrauterine devices are gaining in popularity in the US, with use increasing nearly five-fold since the 1990s. An IUD is a small device that’s implanted, and it’s more than 99% effective. Depending on the brand, they last for 5-15 years, making them the most effective type of contraception on the planet. 

And, unlike the pill, which must be taken at the same time every day, or the shot, which requires several trips to the doctor’s office every year, an IUD doesn’t require any action on your part once it’s in place. 

Plus, if you decide to have children, the IUD can be removed and you can resume fertility with your next cycle. It’s not surprising, then, that this simple device is quickly growing in popularity.   

4. The pill remains popular, but it’s not right for everyone

When it comes to birth control, the “best” method is the one that’s right for your unique body and lifestyle preference. Although the birth control pill remains the most popular reversible type of contraception, it isn’t always a good choice for every woman.

In addition to requiring the discipline needed to take the pill at the same time every day, combination pills, which have both progestin and estrogen, can cause frustrating symptoms, such as nausea, mood changes, headaches, and weight gain. 

And for some women — such as those with a history of breast cancer or smokers over age 35 — the pill can increase the risk of developing a blood clot. 

If this describes you, be sure to talk with Dr. Mohsin about the mini-pill, which causes fewer side effects and doesn’t increase the risk for blood clots. 

5. Only one type of contraception protects against STDs

Using external condoms alone has a real-world failure rate of about 13%. This means although condoms stop pregnancy about 98% of the time under laboratory conditions, in the real world, 13 out of 100 people who only use condoms get pregnant every year. This rate climbs to 21% for internal condoms. 

However, when it comes to protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), condoms (external and internal) are the only form of birth control that can stop infections from spreading. This means that even if you’re using another contraceptive to prevent pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to use condoms to protect yourself and your partner from STDs.  

To get more facts about contraception or to get personalized recommendations, call 281-626-7694 or book an appointment online with Progressive Women’s Health today. We also offer telehealth visits.