Birth control is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Based upon your medical background, lifestyle and body, the best birth control method may not be what you expect. As you can imagine, choosing the right birth control method should not be taken lightly.
You also shouldn’t assume that your doctor will know exactly what birth control is right for you without some background information.
Are you sexually active?
The first thing you should bring up with your doctor is what kind of pregnancy protection you are looking for. For instance, someone who isn’t having sex yet may have different priorities than someone who lives with their partner and may have intercourse regularly.
What type of method would easily fit into your daily life?
For some, remembering to take the pill is difficult – they may travel often, their daily schedule may vary significantly each day, etc. We may suggest something that’s harder to forget – like the ring, patch, IUD, implant, or shot.
Do you have any medical conditions? Are you a smoker?
These are all things you may not assume affect the type of birth control that is prescribed, but they can greatly impact the decision. Certain medical conditions like uncontrolled high blood pressure, advanced diabetes and lupus will rule out certain types of birth control. If you are over 35 and a smoker, we prefer to stay away from hormonal contraceptives like certain pills, ring, or patch, as these can greatly increase your chance of stroke.
How are your periods? Would you be interested in skipping them?
If you have a heavy flow when your period hits, you might prefer some assistance with the help of hormonal birth control. If your periods are erratic and do not follow a regular schedule, hormonal birth control may also help to treat this condition. If you’d prefer to skip periods entirely, hormonal IUD’s may help to stop periods entirely. If you’d be comfortable with this, we can discuss if this would be a good option with you.
Do you suffer from severe PMS?
If your PMS is particularly debilitating and comes with anxiety or depression, it might be premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This disorder can also cause lack of interest in daily activities, sadness or hopelessness, mood swings with bouts of crying, panic attacks, irritability or anger, and trouble sleeping or concentrating. So why would you bring this up with your doctor? Some birth control pills with a specific type of progestin called drospirenone have been approved to treat PMDD.
What about severe acne?
Do you do suffer from acne? Most people have seen relief with estrogen-containing birth control, like the pill, patch or the ring.
What other medications are you taking?
Birth control does not interact with most common medications, but it is still a safe measure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking. Some medication for tuberculosis, seizures or HIV may interact with some types of birth control.
Most importantly, when trying to find the best birth control for you – work with your doctor! They will guide you through every step of the way from sorting out family medical history to prescribing an option that you both confidently think you can stay on top of each day, month, etc.