Hormonal birth control— Hormonal birth control is any pill, injection, device, or treatment that uses hormones to prevent pregnancy in women. There are a few different kinds of hormonal birth control. Some contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. Others contain only progestin. However they do not prevent women from contracting any sexually transmitted disease.

All hormonal birth control methods are very effective. The methods differ in how easy they are to use and their side effects:

  • Pills– Women who take birth control pills need to take a pill every day. Skipping pills can increase the chance of getting pregnant. Birth control pill packets usually include 4 to 7 days of hormone-free pills each month. It is during these hormone-free days that women get their period. Women who prefer not to get a period can skip the hormone-free pills and take a hormone pill every day instead. This is called continuous dosing. It can be done with the patch and the vaginal ring as well. Most birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin but there is one that contains only progestin.
  • Vaginal rings– It is a soft ,flexible ring that has to be inserted in the vagina and it works by releasing hormones in the vagina.The ring is effective for 3 weeks and can be inserted by oneself.The 4th week is left ring free so that periods can occur.Vaginal rings contain both estrogen and progesterone.
  • Injections– Women who use hormone injections get a shot in the arm or butt every 3 months. Injections for birth control contain only progestin. The medicine used in the shot is called Depo-Provera.
  • IUD– IUD stands for “intrauterine device.” This is a device that is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. I The common IUD used in India,specialy in the rural areas is the Copper T device.The copper ions on the T shaped device cause the uterus and fallopian tubes to produce a sperm killing fluid bringing down the risk of unwanted pregnancy to less than 1%. Other hormone releasing IUDs which are plastic devices like Skyla and Mirena which can stay in place for upto 3 yrs and 5 yrs respectively.

 Choosing the right hormonal birth control  — Your doctor at Idea clinics will help you decide what option is best for you. If it is a pill you need to remember to take it everyday.Injectables are taken once in 3 months which is more convenient. Long acting devices like the IUD stays in place for upto 5 years. You can decide which contraception you want according to when you want to plan your next pregnancy or do not want to get pregnant further. Your doctor will also explain about the possible side effects of each method.

Safety of  hormonal birth control —  Some women cannot  use estrogen-containing hormonal birth control. They include;

  • Women who are pregnant
  • Have irregular or very heavy periods
  • Have had breast cancer
  • Have had blood clots or a stroke in the past
  • Have Migraine headache
  • Have some types of liver disease
  • Have some types of heart disease
  • Women aged 35 or older and smoke cigarettes – These women are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes

Women who cannot take estrogen-containing hormonal birth control can take Only progestin containing hormonal birth control.

If you are taking hormonal birth control medication, always mention it to any doctor who maybe prescribing medicines for you. Some medicines such as anti convulsants and some antibiotics may interfere with the efficacy of contraceptives.

Emergency Contraception — If you have had sex and  forgot to use your birth control, you can take "morning after" pill to reduce the chance of pregnancy. If you are pregnant already,the morning after pill will not affect your pregnancy. This can be taken upto 5 days after unprotected intercourse.You can also get an IUD inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex.