Hormonal or Hormone-Free:
Which Type of Birth Control Is Right for You?
To hormone… or not to hormone… that is the question. Since birth control was invented in the 1950s, many have questioned which is better: hormone or hormone-free. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: birth control is not one-size-fits-all. Why? Because we are all unique with different expectations, tolerances, and overall goals. If you are willing to do the extra work and take on a little more risk, non-hormonal options might work great for you! If you are looking to ensure no surprises, IUDs or hormonal options might be your perfect fit. Regardless, it is important to learn and understand all your options so you can make an educated decision.
What Is The Difference?
Hormonal contraceptives use synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy or treat underlying health conditions, while non-hormonal contraceptives use no hormones and are strictly used to prevent pregnancy. At some point, a strange “beef” began among the hormonal vs. non-hormonal crowd. This has led to individuals thinking they must pick a side, and to that, we say “hard pass.”
Hormonal Birth Control
So, let’s start off with hormonal contraceptives, because these little gems can work wonders for a lot of people. Hormonal contraception includes the pill (combined and progestin-only), the ring, the patch, the shot, implants, and some IUDs. I’m sure at this point, you’re even more overwhelmed now that you see all of those options. But, hold on, we’ve got you covered. Our team made this fancy chart comparing contraceptive options, so you can get a better idea of your options at a glance. Yes, honey, you are welcome.
But what about non-hormonal options, including cycle tracking and barrier methods? Good news! We have already created an overview of each proven method (spoiler alert: seed cycling is still not on that list). You can find those options and their efficacy here.
Why Do Providers Always Go to the Pill?
The big question: Why do so many providers “push” the pill? One of the reasons is that hormonal options tend to be more reliable at preventing pregnancy than the non-hormonal options, and they are seen as more of a safe bet.
Another major reason is that many hormonal contraceptives have benefits in addition to preventing pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives can help control cyst development, slow the growth of endometriosis, reduce the risks of some cancers, and lessen the amount of bleeding and pain women feel during their period. They are even often used by fertility doctors to prep the ovaries and eggs before invitro fertilization (IVF). Hormonal contraceptives are like a Swiss army knife with a lot of different uses.
You wouldn’t suffer through a cold without some medication to ease your symptoms, so why would you suffer through a painful period? Providers want to offer you a proven solution to assist bad cramps and heavy bleeding while also reducing your risk of unplanned pregnancy.
Pick a Contraceptive to Fit Your Lifestyle
Before settling on any method, you should ask yourself (and your provider) the following questions:
- How do you see contraception fitting into your daily routine?
- What is the level of pregnancy risk you’re willing to tolerate? (The answer to this may change throughout your life, and that’s okay.)
- Do you have other underlying health conditions?
- What are your side effect deal breakers?
- How long do you need to use this method? One year, five years, longer?
We understand that although most providers view hormonal birth control as the first choice, just because it works for many doesn’t mean it works for everyone. That is why we educate on both hormonal and non-hormonal options. Don’t think that you need to pick a “side” between the two options. Both might be great options at different times or circumstances in your life. So don’t throw shade at one side, because you might need other options later! If your provider isn’t listening to you about your goals, tolerance to side effects, or overall expectations, then look for someone who will listen.
It’s time to take control of your body and customize your contraceptive plan. Between all the hormonal and hormone-free options available, the list of contraceptives can seem endless. Let OvaryIt help you meet your contraceptive match. Because you deserve to make an educated decision. And you deserve all the best options.