Before starting any medication, it’s important to learn as much as you can about it. The same is true for birth control. There are many different birth control options out there, from tablets to shots. While they all have the same main goal (preventing pregnancy), they achieve that goal in different ways. To help you make the best birth control decision for your situation, here are five questions to ask your doctor first.
1. How Can I Know Which Birth Control Option to Use?
There isn’t a single type of birth control that’s ideal for everyone. For example, Junel Fe birth control may work best for you, but it might not be the ideal option for your best friend. There are different factors to consider when deciding what type of contraceptive to use. They include your medical history and your lifestyle preferences and habits. Your doctor can help you consider these different factors, but here’s an overview of how they can impact your birth control decision.
Your medical history can have a big impact on the type of birth control you should use. More importantly, it can help you determine what types of birth control might be harmful to you. For example, if you have a history of blood clots, taking birth control pills containing estrogen may not be right for you. This is because estrogen is linked to blood clots, though the exact mechanism of the connection is not yet understood.
Like your medical history, your lifestyle preferences can also help determine what type of contraception is best. There’s no question that some types of birth control are more or less convenient than others. If you’re worried about forgetting to take the pill because of your busy lifestyle, an intrauterine device may be a better fit. Or, if you’re worried about potential cramping from intrauterine devices, you may find oral birth control to be more comfortable.
2. How Quickly Does Birth Control Start Working?
When you start birth control, you may wonder how long you need to wait before engaging in sexual activity. The answer to this question depends on which type of birth control you are using, so you should consult your doctor. You can also refer to this overview of how long different types of contraceptives can take to prevent pregnancy:
- Progesterone Pills: These typically start working about 48 hours after you begin taking them.
- Combination Pills: If you start taking these on the first day of your period, they become effective immediately. If you start taking them on any other day, you’ll need to wait about a week for them to start working.
- Copper IUDs: These can prevent pregnancy immediately after insertion.
- Hormonal IUDs: As with combination pills, the effectiveness of hormonal IUDs depends on when they’re inserted. For immediate effectiveness, they must be inserted within the first week of your period. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait one week after insertion for their pregnancy-preventing benefits to kick in.
If you’re in doubt about whether you’ve waited long enough for your birth control to work, use caution. You can use a backup form of birth control (such as condoms) for a few days. This will give you an additional layer of protection and some priceless peace of mind. But remember that no form of contraception is 100% effective. That means there is always a small chance of getting pregnant if you’re sexually active.
3. What Are the Side Effects?
All medications come with some side effects, and birth control is no exception. While it’s considered safe, some users may experience:
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Irregular bleeding
- Mood changes
Additionally, some types of birth control can increase your risk of stroke, blood clots, ectopic pregnancy, and other serious health issues. It’s important to ask your doctor about possible side effects before choosing which contraceptive you want to use. They may also have some advice to help lessen the severity of some side effects.
4. Can Other Medications Impact the Effectiveness of My Birth Control?
If you’re taking other medications besides birth control, it’s natural to wonder whether they can negatively interact with each other. There are some medications that can, indeed, reduce how well your birth control works. St. John’s Wort, which is commonly used to treat depression, could cause certain birth control methods to be less effective.
Similarly, some antibiotics can negatively impact how effective your birth control is at preventing pregnancy. Rifabutin and rifampicin are two examples of antibiotics that might impact how well hormonal birth control works. If you’re concerned about possible medication interactions, talk to your doctor.
5. How Long Will My Prescription Last?
How long your birth control lasts depends on the type you receive and who prescribes it to you. Some doctors may only allow a month’s worth at a time, while others may provide a full year’s worth. Your insurance policy may also limit the length of your prescription.
When ordering birth control online or through your doctor, make sure you know how long your prescription lasts. Otherwise, you might experience unexpected gaps in protection if your supply runs out unexpectedly. Plan ahead and make sure you order refills before your current supply runs out.
You may have additional birth control questions that are not covered in this article. If so, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor. The more you know about different forms of birth control, the easier it will be to select the right option for your needs.