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Birth control plays a huge role in reproductive health management. With a wide range of options to choose from, it’s essential to understand the different types of birth control, and how they can impact on your body. 

Aside from the main function of preventing pregnancy, birth control can also influence menstrual cycles, physical health, and mental well-being.

Today we’re taking a look at the different types of birth control available, and how each one affects the body.

The different types of birth control

The pill

Ah, the trusty birth control pill! These tiny tablets pack a powerful punch by releasing synthetic hormones – oestrogen and progestin – into your body. 

They work their magic by preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg. Plus, they’re super convenient – just pop one pill at the same time each day, and voila! 

But what about their impact on your body? Well, birth control pills can help regulate your periods, making them lighter, less painful, and more predictable. Plus, they may even ease those pesky PMS symptoms. 

However, they might also come with some side effects like nausea, headaches, or mood swings. It’s all about finding the right fit for you.

The patch

Meet the birth control patch – a small, sticky square that delivers hormones through your skin. Simply put it on and forget about it for a week.

Like birth control pills, the patch works by preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus. When it comes to your periods, it’s pretty much the same deal – expect lighter, more regular cycles.

But remember, with great convenience comes great responsibility – you’ll need to change the patch once a week to keep those hormones flowing smoothly.

The injection (Depo-Provera)

If needles don’t make you squeamish, the birth control injection might be the perfect fit for you. Administered every three months, this injection delivers a dose of progestin to keep those baby-making hormones at bay. 

Say goodbye to daily reminders – just schedule your shot and go about your life worry-free. As for your periods, they might become lighter or disappear altogether – a dream come true for some!

As with most birth control methods, be prepared for potential side effects like weight gain or mood changes. It’s all about weighing up the pros and cons and finding what works best for you.

The implant (Implanon/Nexplanon)

Imagine having a tiny, flexible rod inserted under the skin of your arm, silently releasing hormones for up to three years – sounds futuristic, right? This discreet method is over 99% effective and requires minimal maintenance. Plus, it’s a period game-changer. Many women experience lighter, less painful periods or even bid farewell to Aunt Flo altogether. 

But keep an eye out for potential side effects like irregular bleeding or headaches.

The ring (NuvaRing)

Last but not least, we have the birth control ring – a flexible ring inserted into your vagina once a month to release hormones. For your time of the month, expect lighter, more predictable cycles with fewer cramps. 

As with any birth control method, it’s essential to listen to your body and communicate with your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs):

IUDs are small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are hormonal and non-hormonal options available, such as the copper IUD (non-hormonal) and hormonal IUDs like Mirena, Levosert and Jaydess.

For the first three to six months after your IUD is placed, expect the unexpected. Your periods might not come as regularly as they once did and you could have some spotting in between periods or heavier-than-usual periods.

How birth control can impact your health

Menstrual cycle regulation

Hormonal birth control methods can regulate menstrual cycles, reducing symptoms like irregular bleeding, cramps, and PMS. Some women may experience lighter periods or even absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) with certain types of hormonal birth control.

Physical health

While birth control can offer benefits like reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, it may also pose risks such as blood clots, high blood pressure, and changes in cholesterol levels, particularly with hormonal methods. 

Choosing the right method involves considering individual health factors and consulting healthcare providers.

Mental well-being

The impact birth control can have on mental health is complex. It can vary from person to person, depending on what type you choose to have and how long you’ve been using it. Some may experience mood changes, such as depression or anxiety, while others may find relief from symptoms like premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) or mood swings. 

It’s essential to monitor and communicate any mental health changes while using birth control and to always speak to your GP if you have any worries.

Birth control comes in all shapes and sizes, each with its own set of benefits and potential side effects. 

Whether you opt for the convenience of pills, the ease of the patch, or the long-lasting protection of an implant, it’s essential to consider how each method may impact your periods, physical health, and mental well-being. 

So, take your time, explore your options, and remember – you’re in control of your reproductive health journey.

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