birth control- it’s about more than prevention

First, birth control is not always about preventing pregnancy, some women use birth control to lessen their period cramps, clear up their skin, or make their periods more regular. There are many different methods of birth control, and each one is different so it can suit different women.

Barrier Methods

Condoms are a type of birth control called barrier methods. There are two types of condoms, one used by males that go over the penis and the other that goes inside the body and can be used by females or males. Both condoms are known as barrier methods because they block sperm from entering the body, coming into contact with an egg to cause a pregnancy. But that is not the only thing condoms do, they also are a barrier to help protect you from getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)! The difference between the male and female condom is that the male condom is put on externally over the penis while the female condom is inserted internally into the vagina or anus. Sometimes the male condom is called an “external condom” and the female condom is called an “internal condom.” You can find FREE male “external” condoms at TeenSource!

Hormonal birth control 
There are four types of hormonal birth control methods -- the Pill, the ring, the shot, and the patch.

  • The Pill, which is also called oral contraception, is effective if taken every day.
  • The ring is a plastic ring that is worn in the vagina and must be replaced every month. It’s sometimes called the NuvaRing.
  • The shot, also known as the “Depo shot,” is a shot women get four times a year.
  • The patch is worn on the skin and looks like a Band-Aid. It works for one week. The patch is changed every week except the fourth because that’s when someone gets their period.

All these methods are between 92%-99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal birth control also helps women with their periods by making periods regular and making cramps less painful. Most of these methods can cause irregular bleeding or spotting, but that will disappear over time. These methods are good at preventing pregnancy, but they do NOT protect someone against STDs.

Long Term Birth Control Methods

There are two types of long term birth control methods, IUDS and the Implant. And no the IUD is not a bomb. The IUD is clinically inserted into the uterus in order to prevent sperm from making it to the egg. There are two types of IUDs, one with hormones and one without hormones. IUDS can last for 3-12 years depending on which one is used. IUDs work better than all of the hormonal methods listed above. ParaGard is the IUD with no hormones and lasts for up to 12 years. Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta all have small amount of the hormone progestin. IUDs with progestin also help to lighten periods or even stop them. One thing all IUDs have in common is that they don’t protect against STDs.

The implantis small plastic rod that is inserted in the upper arm by a clinician. The implant can last up to three years. It also works better than the ring, the shot, the Pill and the patch. Like IUDs, the implant does NOT protect against STDs.

These methods all last for a long time and can be removed at any time if someone finds they do not work for them or if someone wants to get pregnant.

Remember: While condoms are the only method of birth control that is used by a guy, or someone without a uterus, it is important for everyone to know about all methods of birth control!  And no matter what method you or your partner choose, they are available at a clinic near you!

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This blog was reposted from, a project of Essential Access Health. is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.

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