Hormonal Vs. Non-Hormonal Contraception

Birth control is essential to women’s healthcare, with many forms available. However, figuring out which option is best for you can sometimes be overwhelming. Read our blog on hormonal vs. non-hormonal contraception as we discuss how they work and the pros and cons of each type for more informed choices in your reproductive well-being!

The Importance of Contraception

Approximately 1 in 7 women report not using any form of birth control despite being sexually active. As unwanted pregnancies remain alarmingly high, ensuring individuals have access to information about how best to use contraception is vital. Through various methods, birth control can help individuals limit unwanted pregnancies, manage health conditions, and ultimately have more control over their bodies.

Hormonal Vs. Non-Hormonal: What’s The Difference?

You’ve got options for contraception, so it can be helpful to learn how hormonal and non-hormonal methods work. The primary difference between the two is their type of active ingredient: hormonal birth control contains hormones to suppress ovulation or thicken cervical mucus, while non-hormonal methods physically block sperm from entering the uterus or work as a barrier to prevent infection. Popular types of hormonal birth control include the pill, implant, patch, and intrauterine device (IUD).  Alternatively, non-hormonal birth control, like condoms, diaphragms, and sponges, act as a physical barrier. The copper IUD is another non-hormonal option that releases small amounts of copper into the uterus, creating a hostile environment for sperm cells and stopping them from fertilizing the egg. This type of IUD is considered non-hormonal because it doesn’t release any hormones or synthetic medications into the body to prevent pregnancy – instead, this method relies solely on copper.

Pros & Cons of Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal contraception has many advantages.  Implants and IUDs are safe, reliable, and long-term forms of birth control. A significant benefit of these methods is that they typically offer highly effective results and eliminate user error. Hormonal methods are also very convenient, as some forms, such as the pill, can be taken daily, or there is a weekly patch or monthly vaginal ring. Another hormonal method, injections, can last up to several months, meaning you don’t have to worry about taking medication daily. Hormonal birth control also allows for freedom during intimacy, as no interruptions are necessary. Additionally, the pill and other hormonal methods can help reduce painful or heavy menstruation, aid in treating endometriosis, and clear the appearance of acne for some.

While hormonal contraceptives are safe, effective, and convenient, rarely, they can also have cons that should be considered. These can include weight gain, mood changes, headaches, and breast tenderness, to name some. It’s also important to note that hormonal contraception does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections or HIV. In rare cases, hormonal birth control can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots.

Close up photo of a person holding a condom in one hand and contraceptive pills in the other hand.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control: Pros and Cons

Non-hormonal contraception has gained immense popularity recently due to its numerous benefits. Not only are they widely accessible and can be purchased with no prescription, but they’re generally very affordable. Also, users of non-hormonal contraception avoid potential hormonal side effects such as changes in acne, weight, and mood. Additionally, condoms are the only method of birth control that offers protection from sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS.

It’s essential to be aware that all contraceptives must be used correctly to be effective. Unfortunately, user error is more likely among people using the pill, patch, condoms, and diaphragm versus longer-acting contraceptives like the implant or IUDs. Some people find condoms uncomfortable and are less inclined to be consistent with them. For others, spermicides can irritate the vaginal skin or cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, finding the hormonal or non-hormonal method that will be most effective for your lifestyle is crucial.

With so much to consider, speaking with a healthcare professional before beginning any contraceptive plan is essential. Schedule an appointment for one of our birth control studies and speak with a doctor today —   together, let’s decide the best course of action for you!

Curious about contraception? We want to help you connect the dots.

Embrace your power by springing into action about your reproductive health! Explore how Seattle Clinical Research Center can help you become the strongest version of yourself by exploring our enrolling birth control studies. Visit our website or contact us at (206) 522-3330 extension 2 to learn more about our services!