85% of women who have unprotected sex, even occasionally, get pregnant within a year. Those odds are not in your favor if you’re not ready to have a child. Choosing a contraceptive method that’s right for you can involve some due diligence and clear thinking.
Birth control pills are the most popular form of contraception. Even though they are effective and easy to use, choosing the right one for you can be confusing because there are so many options.
Every woman has used the excuse “I’m PMSing” in their lifetime. However, recent studies show that PMS and PMDD aren’t just excuses but medical conditions that can have an impact on a woman’s daily life.
What is PMS?
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. Though the length of time PMS occurs depends on the woman, the symptoms usually occur one to two weeks before menstruation begins. Some of the most common symptoms for PMS include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Irritability and mood swings
- Headaches and backaches
- Trouble with concentration
- Anxiety and depression
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 85 percent of women show at least one of these symptoms before menstruation. However, one in 20 women can suffer with a severe form of PMS, also known as PMDD.
What is PMDD?
As previously stated, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS. The symptoms are similar to PMS, but are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities and relationships. PMDD is diagnosed by a physician if erratic mood swings, anger, fatigue, insomnia, tension and lack of interest in usual activities occur a week before and after menstruation.
Treating PMDD & PMS
Though the exact cause of PMDD and PMS isn’t known, the effects can be minimized by certain lifestyle changes such as:
- Medications, such as hormone-based birth controls and anti-depressants
If you feel that your PMS or PMDD is impacting your daily life, consult your physician about treatment options.
The modern world is certainly different from what women had to deal with years ago. Thanks to advances in science and technology, women have a variety of birth control options. These days, you can find choices that guarantee against pregnancy with ratings up to 99.9% if you make use of them properly. You can choose from birth control options that will best suit your lifestyle, but be sure to discuss your top choices with your doctor in order to pick the right one. Here are common choices for birth control that you could consider:
Barrier Methods of Birth Control
Barrier methods include those that block the sperm from ever reaching the egg. They include the following:
- Contraceptive sponge along with a spermicide
- Cervical cap
- Female condom
- Male condom
These types of birth control methods are considered to have the higher chance of failure when compared to other methods. For example, the male condom is about 97% effective. That does not mean they are not viable means of birth control. They just do not get the complete assurance you could find in other choices.
Hormone Based Birth Control
These types of birth control are, by far, the most common. The most important thing about the hormone based methods is that they must be used as directed to be dependable. They include the following:
- The pill
- The contraceptive patch
- Shots or injections
- Vaginal ring
When used properly, these methods are about 99% effective. The common failure of the methods comes from human error.
Implant Methods of Birth Control
For those women who wish to have dependable birth control without having to remember to take a pill every day, there are implantable devices. They include:
- Implantable rods
- IUDs (intrauterine devices)
These two options are long-term methods of birth control. They last up to 10 years. They, especially the rods, should not be used if you think you may wish to have children in the near future.
If you know that you do not want children in the future, then you may want to consider surgical solutions. These methods completely take away the chance of fertilization, so they are the most dependable. However, since they are permanent, you should consider them carefully before making the decision to use them. They include:
- Female implant sterilization
- Vasectomy for men
- Tying or cutting the fallopian tubes in a woman
Called the “Plan B” pill, this emergency contraception can be used the morning after unprotected sex. It has to be taken within 72 hours in order to be effective. This method is not made to be used as a regular birth control but instead as an emergency method in the cases of forgotten birth control, birth control failure, or rape.
As you can see, you have plenty of different birth control options. That means, you can choose one that will best suit your lifestyle. Be sure to discuss the birth control option you would prefer with your doctor so that it can be determined if it is the best choice based on your health and wellbeing.
For some women, permanent birth control is the best option to guarantee that they will not have any more children. However as the name explains, permanent birth control is, well, permanent. In very few cases are these procedures reversible. Before you make the decision to go with a permanent option, you will want to ask your doctor all of the right questions. Be sure you know everything you need to about the procedure before you make a decision.
Below are a few questions that you should ask your doctor before you make your decision.
- What are my options for permanent birth control?
- Is a permanent option the right one for me?
- Are there other options that I should consider before I make the decision?
- What type of birth control, permanent or nonpermanent, would you recommend?
Ask these questions in the beginning. They will give you a good starting place to determining if permanent birth control is the right choice for you.
Tubal Ligation and Implant Birth Control
Tubal ligation is a common procedure in which the fallopian tubes are tied so that the eggs cannot travel to the uterus. Permanent implant birth control includes placing specialty material in the fallopian tubes so that scar tissue will form and completely block the tubes.
- Should I consider tubal ligation or permanent implant birth control?
- What are the risks to each of these surgical procedures?
- Are both of the procedures always successful? If not, what is the failure rate?
- How do you go about each of the procedures?
- What type of recovery can I expect from the procedures?
- What are the benefits to choosing one of these procedures?
- Would you recommend one of these to me as my own permanent birth control method?
The most important thing to remember is that permanent birth control methods should only be chosen if you absolutely know that you never want to have children. There are emotional factors to consider. How will you handle it if you change your mind at a later date and wish to have children? Consider all of the ramifications of the birth control that you are choosing before you go through with any procedure.
Permanent birth control could be the right option for you since it completely cuts out your chances of becoming pregnant at a later date. Make sure to ask all of the questions above when you talk to your doctor to help you make the right choice.