Many people take time during the new year to set new goals for themselves and their health. And sometimes, those health goals include trying a new form of birth control. In Mississippi, especially for teens and young adults, that can be a difficult goal to reach.
Our state’s contraception deserts, and prevalence of abstinence-only education, make it harder for teens and young adults to get the resources they need to make healthy decisions. Over 81% of sexually active Mississippi high school students have reported using some form of contraception during sex, so there is definitely a need to educate young adults on what birth control options are available so they can decide what form works best for them.
If you’re a student in Mississippi, and you’re considering making the switch, this article is a great place to start. We’ll break down a few non-hormonal forms of BC to consider and share ways to prepare for your doctor’s visit.
First off, Wanting to Switch is Normal
Just in case you were wondering. A survey from Cosmopolitan and Power to Decide found that 25% of young women ditch or plan to ditch the pill for something they really want to try. Women also switch because of schedule changes or because of side effects from hormonal BC. If you’re wondering about non-hormonal methods, consider a cervical cap, diaphragm, or copper IUD.
Cervical Cap Facts
Cervical caps are small, soft silicone cups that cover the cervix to prevent pregnancy. They are 86% effective and must be used with spermicide.
Pros? The cervical cap is easy to use and is non-hormonal, meaning it won’t interfere with any medication you may be currently taking. Another bonus: it’s reusable and widely available for purchase in pharmacies, drugstores, and supermarkets after you’ve gotten a prescription from your doctor.
Cons? There is only one brand available in the United States: FemCap®. Also, in order to use the cap effectively, it must be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse. Some women find this uncomfortable.
Deets on Diaphragms
Diaphragms are shallow cups placed over the cervix to prevent pregnancy. They’re different from cervical caps in that they are larger and offer more size options. They can also last longer than cervical caps, when cared for properly, and are available in two brands: Caya and Milex.
Pros? There are more options available. A diaphragm may feel more comfortable than a cervical cap due to its size. It’s non-hormonal, meaning it won’t interfere with medication or cause the side effects related to hormonal birth control.
Cons? It cannot be worn as long as a cervical cap.
Similarities? Like a cervical cap, the diaphragm must be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse and must be used with spermicide. It is just as effective as a cervical cap. You’ll also need a prescription from your doctor and may need to be sized or evaluated before a prescription can be made.
Info on IUDs
Copper Intrauterine Devices (IUD) are placed in the uterus, not the cervix. However, they’re a popular option for women looking for effective, non-hormonal birth control and have been found to lower the risk of cervical cancer by 50%.
Pros? Copper IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control, with a 99% efficiency rate. They stay effective for years, yet can be removed at any time. They’re also widely available and can be easily found at health clinics.
Cons? They may cause heavier periods 3 to 6 months after placement. They can also be more expensive than the previous options, depending on the type of insurance you have.
Keep in mind that cervical caps, diaphragms, and IUDs do not protect against STIs or the transmission of HPV. So, be sure to use condoms to stay safe!
Making the Switch
Doing your research is a great first step when making a plan to switch birth control. As you learn more about each method, write down questions you may have for your doctor or health care provider.
Also make your own pros and cons list for each contraceptive you’re curious about. Be sure to consider what’s comfortable for you, what your daily activities are, and how much time you have throughout the day to plan your BC.
Then during your doctor’s visit, share your list and questions to ensure you get the best option for you. Don’t forget to ask them about any side effects that may arise if you’re transitioning from hormone-based BC to a non-hormonal method.
Friendly Reminder: You Got This!
Meeting your health goals and making a new plan for yourself should be fun and rewarding. We’re here for you whenever you need the facts! For further reading, check out the articles below: