Alternative Treatment Options
While the Xulane patch is a worthwhile contraceptive method for many women, it is not suited for all. There are a wide range of effective options available on the market for those wanting an alternative birth control method. If you are unsure of which option is best for you, always speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional for advice.
Implant (Implanon or Nexplanon)
This is a small rod inserted into the skin, typically in the upper arm and is over 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 4 years. It is estrogen-free and therefore suitable for women who cannot use estrogen-based contraception. It is a fairly low-maintenance method that is safe for smokers as well as those with diabetes.
Some women have reported irregular menstrual cycles as well as dizziness, headaches, acne breakouts and hair loss as a result of the implant.
This is an injectable solution containing the hormone progestin that is 94 percent effective in protecting against pregnancy for 3 months. It is a great alternative for women who do not want to take a pill every day and because it is estrogen-free, it is also a viable option for those who are breastfeeding.
Most women may experience changes, particularly during the first year, including heavier menstrual bleeding and spotting in between periods as well as weight gain.
Intrauterine Device (Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, Liletta and Kyleena)
This is a small T-shaped device that is placed in the uterus and is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy for 3 to 12 years, depending on the type. Women have reported reduced cramps and lighter periods and it is also suitable for smokers as well as those with diabetes or hypertension.
There is a risk of the device slipping out or pushing through the uterus wall, increasing the risk of infection.
Barrier Method Contraceptives
Cervical Cap (FemCap)
This is a silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and works by preventing sperm from reaching the uterus. It is recommended that spermicide be used in conjunction with the cap for it to be most effective. It is a prescription-free option that can also be used while breastfeeding.
The cup is 79-86 percent effective in typical use and can cause some vaginal irritation. Many women have a hard time inserting the cup and it can be pushed out of place during intercourse. It cannot be used by women who are allergic to spermicide or silicone.
The male condom is a latex sheath that is put over the man’s erect penis to prevent the sperm from meeting the egg. With typical use, it is around 85 percent effective and there is a risk of the condom splitting or slipping off during intercourse.
The female condom is a pouch that is inserted into the vagina and helps to prevent pregnancy by retaining sperm during intercourse. However, in typical use it has proven 79 percent effective and can cause irritation as well as reduce sensitivity in some users during intercourse.
Both contraceptives are prescription-free and effectively protect against STIs.