While NuvaRing is a good choice of contraception for a large number of women, it may not be suitable for everyone. However, there are a wide variety of alternative birth control options available. If you are not entirely sure about your options or would like more advice, speak to a healthcare professional or a doctor.
Implant (Implanon or Nexplanon)
The hormonal implant is a small rod that is inserted beneath the skin into the upper arm. It has been shown to be 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. The matchstick-sized implant typically lasts for 4 years. It is a good choice for patients looking for birth control methods that are low-maintenance. Furthermore, it is suitable for women with estrogen sensitivity as it does not contain any estrogen. The implant is also safe to use for diabetics and smokers. Known side effects include an irregular menstrual cycle, headaches, dizziness, acne and occasionally hair loss.
This is a contraceptive patch, similar to a Band-Aid, which is applied to the skin to effectively prevent pregnancy. It contains a synthetic combination of the female hormones progestin (norelgestromin) and estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin to prevent ovulation. Xulane contains hormone medication similar to birth control pills but with a dose that is around 60 percent higher.
This method is not suitable for women who smoke and are aged over 35 years.
The so-called shot is an injectable that contains progestin as its main hormone ingredient. It is 94 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and lasts for 3 months. It does not contain estrogen which makes the shot a good alternative for patients who are breastfeeding or are sensitive to estrogen. Side effects may include some changes to the menstrual cycle including heavier flow or spot bleeding between cycles. Weight gain has also been reported as a consequence of the shot.
Intrauterine Device (Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, Liletta and Kyleena)
The intrauterine device (IUD) is a tiny device in the shape of a ‘T’ that, when implanted into the uterus, prevents pregnancy with an effectiveness of 99 percent. It lasts between 3 to 12 years, making it an excellent option for women who prefer not to have to remember to take a pill. In some women, the IUD has led to a reduction of menstrual cramps and overall lighter periods. It is suitable for those with hypertension or diabetes and smokers. In rare cases, the device could slip out or push through the wall of the uterus, which may cause an infection.
Barrier Method Contraceptives
Cervical Cap (FemCap)
The FemCap is a silicone cup that covers the uterus and blocks sperm from reaching the womb. Before it is inserted into the vagina, the cup is usually coated with a spermicide, which increases the effectiveness of the contraceptive method. The cervical cap can be purchased without a prescription. It is also suitable for women who are breastfeeding. It has been tested to be 70 to 86 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Side effects include some vaginal irritation. It is not suitable for patients with known allergies against silicone or spermicides. Women have reported that it can be difficult to insert the cervical cap. During intercourse, it can be pushed out of place.
The male condom is a latex sheath that is placed over the erect penis and prevents sperm from meeting the egg. It is a very safe and effective form of contraception. During typical use, it is 85 percent effective. Condoms can split and occasionally slip off during intercourse.
The female condom is shaped like a little pouch that, once inserted into the vagina, blocks the sperm from reaching the uterus. It is 79 percent effective. Side effects include irritation, and users have reported lower sensitivity during intercourse.
Both male and female condoms, are available prescription-free. The male condom is effective in protecting against STIs.