How many times have you worn shoes that felt uncomfortable or hurt your feet? It’s an unpleasant feeling, and you probably couldn’t wait to pull them off and feel the relief of your bare feet on the floor.
As women, many of us know that feeling – but it doesn’t mean we’ve stopped wearing shoes! We’ve just had to find the pair that suited our bodies and made us feel comfortable and confident.
Birth control is the same. Sometimes you get lucky and the first one you try works for you. Other times, you have to try a few types of contraceptive before you find a good match. But trust us: just like that perfect pair of heels, the right birth control for you is out there.
Why do contraceptives affect my body?
Contraceptives are a ‘foreign’ object that you’re introducing to the body, and any time you do that, there’ll be some sort of effect on your system at first. It’s not only birth control that does this: pregnancy, any types of medication and some types of contraceptive can affect you. Usually the side effects take a few months to wear off.
How does birth control work?
Different types of contraceptives contain oestrogen and/or progesterone, which is also naturally produced by the ovaries. Introducing higher than normal levels of these hormones into your body stops you from ovulating (releasing an egg), and without an egg, there’s nothing for the sperm to fertilise. Progesterone also makes your cervical mucous thick and sticky, so it’s difficult for the sperm to reach the uterus.
Using these types of contraceptives can make your periods lighter or shorter, may ease period pain, and may reduce your chances of endometriosis and certain types of cancers.
What side effects can I expect from the different birth control options?
They differ from contraceptive to contraceptive, and of course from woman to woman. Everyone’s body is unique and will respond in different ways to birth control. So, you may have a number of side effects or you may experience none – that’s why it’s important to keep trying until you find the one that suits you. Also, as we mentioned earlier, often the side effects will wear off after a few months. If they don’t, simply try another method.
On the injection, patch or oral contraceptives, your periods may be lighter, heavier, or they may stop altogether (amenorrhoea). You may experience spotting between periods, vaginal irritation, sore or enlarged breasts, or changes to your sex drive. In serious cases, bleeding may continue for more than a week, but this is rare.
What types of contraceptives are available?
There are two kinds: short-acting contraceptives and long-acting contraceptives. Then of course there are condoms. Short-acting include the pill and the patch, while long-acting are things like the implant and the IUD.
Below you’ll find tons of resources on which one to choose. Go through these articles for advice, guidance and help on selecting the right option:
- Types of contraception and how they work
- Long-acting contraceptives: 3 questions to ask
- Implant contraceptive: everything you need to know
- Your top 5 questions about contraceptives, answered
- Opportunity cost of short-term vs long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC)
- Why you shouldn’t let yourself be sweet-talked out of using a condom
- Everything you need to know about the female condom
Where can I get contraceptives?
You can pop into your nearest Marie Stopes centre, where we’ll be able to advise you and provide the type of birth control you’re looking for.