Birth Control How It Works Best Pros Most Common Cons
Birth Control Pills (estrogen +progesterone) Inhibits ovulation Typically lighter periods, PMS symptom control Has to be taken daily
Progesterone-only birth control pills (the “mini pill”) Inhibits ovulation Pill option for patient who smokes or has other health conditions that make combination birth control a contraindication Less effective, has to be taken at the same time every day, irregular bleeding
NuvaRing Inhibits ovulation One ring/month, typically lighter periods, PMS symptom control Vaginal infections and irritation
ParaGard IUD Prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing egg Non-hormonal, lasts 10 years Potential for heavy bleeding, pelvic pain
Mirena IUD Prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing egg Lasts 5 years, 25% stop having a period, greatly reduced bleeding. When birth control users are surveyed, women who have Mirena are the most satisfied Ovarian cysts (12%), irregular bleeding for up to six months after insertion, pelvic pain
Depo Provera Injections Inhibits ovulation One shot every 3 months Potential for weight gain, up to one year for fertility to return after discontinuation
Nexplanon Inhibits ovulation Lasts 3 years, never been a reported pregnancy in a woman with a nexplanon Potential for irregular bleeding (10%)
Ortho Evra Patch Inhibits ovulation Once/week application Skin irritation
Condoms Barrier Method Prevents pregnancy and STI transmission Higher failure rate, has to be used every time woman has intercourse

Birth control is used in women’s health for a variety of reasons including:

  • Contraception
  • PMS symptom control
  • Acne
  • Pelvic pain
  • Endometriosis control
  • Perimenopausal symptoms
  • Breast pain
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • PCOS

All hormonal birth control methods increase your risk for developing a blood clot or having a stroke. However, it is important to understand that your risk for developing these conditions during and immediately following pregnancy are even higher. Talk to your provider about your smoking status and your other health conditions as these are important pieces of information to consider when selecting a safe and effective method of contraception for you.

Bayer (2013). About Mirena. Retrieved September 5, 2013 from
Dickey, Richard P. (2010). Managing Contraceptive Pill / Drug Patients, 14th ed. Fort Collins, CO: Emis Medical Publishers.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals (2013). What are the risks of using hormonal contraceptives, including ORTHO EVRA? Retrieved September 5, 2013 from Merck and Co. (2012). How does NuvaRing Work? Retrieved September 5, 2013 from Merck and Co. (2012). What Is Nexplanon? Retrieved September 5, 2013 from Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. (2013). Which Birth Control Method Is Right For You? Retrieved September 5, 2013 from Teva Women’s Health (2012) What Is ParaGuard? Retrieved September 5, 2013 from