Dr. Adebola Oyekoya is a family medicine physician who leads our team here at Guardian Physicians in the Sandy Springs neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. Our patients value her medical expertise, compassionate care, and ongoing commitment to women’s health issues.
Read her guidance regarding birth control as she breaks down the various types available, their success rates, and facts to consider when choosing your best option.
Understanding birth control
There are numerous types of birth control available, but each generally falls into two categories: those that are reversible and those that are not.
Irreversible birth control options for women include various methods of tubal ligation, which block viable eggs from reaching fertile sperm. Tubal ligation is typically 99.5% effective in preventing conception. While procedures exist to reverse the process, it’s generally considered permanent and reserved for women who are sure they don’t want children in the future.
Vasectomy is the male counterpart to tubal ligation and prevents conception by blocking sperm from reaching the ejaculate produced during sexual intercourse. It’s generally 99.85% effective at preventing pregnancy once sperm count has reached zero, which can take up to 12 weeks.
Reversible birth control options include a wide variety of methods that temporarily block sperm from reaching viable eggs, stop your ovaries from producing eggs via hormones, or prevent implantation of an egg in the uterine wall.
Reversible birth control options
Reversible birth control options are those that allow you to prevent pregnancy until you’re ready to have children. Efficacy rates are based on CDC data and may vary from individual to individual.
Barrier methods include:
- Diaphragm or cervical cap, failure rate 17%
- Male condom, failure rate 13%
- Female condom, failure rate 21%
- Sponge, failure rate 14%, but up to 27% for women who previously had a child
Spermicides, which contain chemicals that kill sperm, are often used along with other barrier methods and are typically only 79% effective on their own.
Hormonal methods of birth control include:
- Implants, which are placed just under the skin of the upper arm and are 99.9% effective for up to three years
- Injection, repeated every three months and 96% effective
- Oral contraceptives, 93% effective
- Hormonal vaginal ring, 93% effective
- Skin patch, 93% effective
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are highly effective at preventing pregnancy with success rates of 99.2-99.9%. Because they remain in place for 3 to 10 years, many women also appreciate their convenience.
Which birth control method is right for me?
Before making recommendations regarding birth control, Dr. Oyekoya completes a thorough evaluation that includes a physical exam and detailed discussion regarding your options.
Many women base their selection on ease of use and efficacy rates. Other considerations for birth control include your age, previous health history, and timing of future pregnancies.
If, for instance, you plan to try getting pregnant in the next couple of months, a barrier method may be your best option. Those who want to put off pregnancy for several years but don’t like daily pills may find an IUD or hormonal injections a better fit.
For detailed guidance regarding your birth control options, schedule a visit with Dr. Oyekoya at Guardian Physicians today.