Women today have so many choices when it comes to birth control. We’re long past the days of only having ‘the pill’ as an option for family planning. While the pill is still one of the most popular methods of birth control, there are several other forms of birth control that work similarly to the pill. These types of contraceptives work by releasing hormones into your system to prevent you from becoming pregnant. 

Some women, however, opt to use non hormonal methods of contraception for several different reasons. When used correctly, they can be just as effective as hormonal types of birth control.

What does Non Hormonal Birth Control Mean?

  • Non Hormonal birth control is any kind of contraception that doesn’t use hormones to keep you from becoming pregnant. Many forms of birth control like the pill, patch, and ring, use synthetic versions of female sex hormones to prevent pregnancy.
  • Combined hormonal contraception: These birth control methods contain the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. Together, they prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs each month during your cycle. They also thicken the mucus in your cervix to make it difficult for sperm to travel through it and make the lining of your uterus thinner so fertilised eggs are less likely to attach.
  • Progestogen-only contraception: Women who can’t take oestrogen can take a progestogen only birth control pill that can be just as effective as combined hormonal contraception.
  • Low dose hormonal contraception: This form of birth control contains lower amounts of progestogen and oestrogen and tends to have fewer health risks and side effects.

What is the Best Non Hormonal Birth Control?

If you’ve decided you’d rather use non hormonal birth control, you might be wondering which method you should choose. However, the ‘best’ method is subjective because what works for one woman may not work for another. The most common type of non hormonal birth control are barrier methods, namely condoms. Other effective and less common barrier methods are diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges. Barrier methods work by physically blocking any sperm from reaching the uterus.

Other non hormonal contraception work by either killing off sperm or making the environment inside the vagina inhospitable to sperm. This includes copper intrauterine devices (IUDs), spermicide, and contraceptive gel. Some barrier methods may also use spermicides to increase their effectiveness against unwanted pregnancy.

What are the Benefits of Non Hormonal Birth Control?

Except for the IUD, non hormonal birth control doesn’t require any long-term commitments and are only used as needed. Because of this, they may be more cost-effective because you won’t need to buy them unless you need them. 

While the IUD is a long-term form of birth control, once it is inserted you won’t need to worry about it for several years.

The most popular type of non hormonal birth control, condoms, are very easy to use and are widely available in a variety of shops and pharmacies. When used correctly, they can be up to 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. Plus, condoms don’t require any GP appointments or prescriptions! 

Each woman is different so it may take some trial and error to find a birth control method that works for their individual needs. However, some women may find that they aren’t able to take hormonal birth control because of the hormonal shifts or side effects.  

All medications come with the risk of side effects, but some women experience more severe side effects than others when taking birth control. If the symptoms are too disrupting to their daily lives, they may decide to stop using that method of birth control.

Side effects of hormonal birth control include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Being sick
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular periods
  • Mood swings
  • Lowered libido

Hormonal birth control isn’t recommended for some groups of women because of an increased risk to their health. While birth control like the pill are safe to use in the long term, there may be an increased of stroke, heart disease, and other serious health conditions in women who:

  • Smoke and are over the age of 35
  • Have a history of breast or endometrial cancer
  • Experience migraines with auras
  • Have untreated high blood pressure
  • How to Use Non Hormonal Birth Control

Directions for use will depend on which method you use. Your prescriber will give you instructions and there should be a leaflet included with your birth control that has instructions, directions and information. The following is just a guideline and you should always follow your healthcare provider’s advice on how to use your preferred birth control. 

Condoms are worn over an erect penis before sex and should not be re-used if you have sex again.

Diapgrahms are inserted high into the vagina and can be put in up to two hours before sex and need to stay in place for at least 6 hours after sex.

Spermicide should be inserted deep into the vagina 10-15 minutes before sex and are usually only effective for 60 minutes. You shouldn’t wash out spermicide after sex and if you have sex again you’ll need to reapply more.

IUDs will need to be fitted by a healthcare professional, usually at a GP surgery, GUM clinic, or other health care centres. Once inserted, it’s immediately effective and can last up to 5-10 years.

Birth control vaginal gel is inserted into the vagina with a prefilled applicator up to an hour before sex. It will need to be reapplied if you have sex again.
What if I want to use hormonal birth control?

While there are a lot of non hormonal birth control options, there aren’t any non hormonal birth control pills. So if you want to use birth control pills, you’ll need to use some form of hormonal birth control like Microgynon birth control pills.

Microgynon is a combined oral hormonal contraceptive pill that can be up to 99% effective when taken correctly. Each pill contains 150mcg of levonorgestrel and 30mcg of ethinyl estradiol, two hormones that work together to effectively prevent pregnancy.

You can buy Microgynon online in the UK hassle-free and at cheap prices from Pharmacy Planet