Posted: May 19, 2015 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY

How to Choose the Right Birth Control For You

If you are planning on becoming sexually active (or currently are) and want to prevent pregnancy, choosing the right birth control is very important. With so many choices, are you left feeling uncertain about which is best for you? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

The Basics

Birth control pills are typically fall in to one of two categories – combination pills or  minipills. A combination pill contains two hormone types, estrogen and progestin. The minipill contains only progestin. While combination pills are the most commonly used, there are several medical reasons why the minipill may be prescribed instead.

According the Mayo Clinic, the following conditions may prevent your doctor from prescribing each type of pill.

You may not be suitable for the combination pill if you have any of the following:

  • breast feeding
  • over the age of 35 and a smoker
  • have poorly-controlled high blood pressure
  • have a history of (or currently have) deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • history of breast cancer
  • history of stroke or heart disease
  • suffer from conditions relating to diabetes like nephropathy, retinopathy or neuropathy
  • have liver disease
  • experience unexplained uterine bleeding
  • plan to be immobilized for a period of time due to serious surgery
  • take anticonvulsant, anti-tuberculous agents or St. Jon’s Wort

You may not be suitable for the minipill if you have any of the following:

  • have breast cancer
  • experience unexplained uterine bleeding
  • take anticonvulsant or anti-tuberculous agents

If your doctor finds you to be a good candidate for combination birth control pills, there are a few other factors to consider, like how often you would like to have your period. Combination pills can control when the uterine lining is shed and for many women, the convenience of this is appealing. Here are the main types of combo pills and how often you can expect your period with each.

Conventional: Bleeding every month when inactive pills are taken

Continuous Dosing: Bleeding only occurs 4 times a year

There are also other pills which eliminate bleeding from occurring altogether.

If you are sensitive to the hormones in birth control, you may elect to go with a lower dose version. These pills contain less than 50 micrograms of estrogen. If you do take low dose pills, you do run a higher risk of developing break-through bleeding or spotting.

The minipill is standard and does not come with a variety of choices like the combination pills does.

Source: The Mayo Clinic 

Check out these additional resources for more information:

Planned Parenthood