When it comes to birth control, oral pills are the best-known and most popular — with about 21% of women relying on the pill to prevent pregnancy. But birth control pills, along with injections, skin patches, and some intrauterine devices (IUDs) contain hormones.
Hormonal birth control is effective, but it may not be the best choice for every woman. Non-hormonal birth control methods offer a valuable alternative.
- Michael Coppa, MD, and our team specialize in birth control consultations, and we understand there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Here’s what you should know about non-hormonal birth control and when to consider it as an option.
When to consider non-hormonal birth control
Most birth control options rely on hormones to make pregnancy less likely. But not every woman can (or wants to) take hormones. A few reasons to consider a non-hormonal birth control method are:
Some people are more sensitive to hormonal changes than others, and hormonal birth control can cause symptoms like mood swings, weight gain, and migraine. If you have negative side effects with hormonal contraceptives, non-hormonal methods could be a less disruptive choice.
Certain medical conditions
Having certain medical conditions — like coronary artery disease, or a history of stroke, heart attack, or blood clots — may make hormonal contraception risky. In these cases, non-hormonal options could be a safer alternative for you.
Hormonal birth control can interfere with milk production or quality. So if you’re breastfeeding and you don’t want to get pregnant, you might want to opt for a non-hormonal birth control method instead.
Hormonal birth control can certainly be used for years, but one non-hormonal option stands out from the rest. The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is a non-hormonal contraceptive that works for up to a decade.
Your non-hormonal birth control options
There are two main options for non-hormonal birth control:
Barrier methods make pregnancy less likely by blocking sperm from reaching an egg. The best-known barrier method is the male condom, but you have other options, too.
Male condoms are thin sheaths worn over the penis to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. They’re readily available, affordable, and offer protection against both pregnancy and many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Female condoms work similarly to male condoms, but you insert one into your vagina before sex to prevent pregnancy and provide some protection against STDs.
A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped device that you insert into your vagina before intercourse. It covers your cervix and prevents sperm from entering your uterus. Diaphragms typically require a prescription and must be used with a spermicide.
Copper intrauterine device (IUD)
The copper IUD is a small, T-shaped device that Dr. Coppa inserts into your uterus. It works by releasing copper ions that are toxic to sperm, preventing fertilization.
The copper IUD is one of the most effective birth control methods available. It has a success rate of over 99% — and it’s completely hormone-free. That means it won't interfere with your natural menstrual cycle or cause hormonal side effects.
One of the biggest advantages of the copper IUD is its longevity. Once it's in place, you don't have to worry about taking a daily pill or using other forms of contraception, and it can provide continuous protection for up to 10 years.
And even though the copper IUD is long-acting, we can remove it at any time if you decide you want to get pregnant or switch to a different birth control method.
Although the copper IUD is highly effective at preventing pregnancy, it doesn’t protect against STDs. If you’re at risk for STDs, continue using condoms or another method to protect your health.
Are you curious about your non-hormonal birth control options? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Coppa and our team to determine which method aligns best with your individual needs and preferences.
Call one of our offices in Cranston, Providence, or Smithfield, Rhode Island, or request an appointment online now.