What Does Birth Control Do to Your Body?

Reviewed on 10/20/2020

What Is Birth Control?

Birth control side effects depend on the method. Hormonal birth control like the pill or patch may cause nausea, breast tenderness and irregular menstrual bleeding.
Birth control side effects depend on the method. Hormonal birth control like the pill or patch may cause nausea, breast tenderness and irregular menstrual bleeding.

Birth control (contraception) describes methods used to prevent pregnancy

What Are Types of Birth Control?

There are numerous types of birth control. Some types of birth control are used by women, and some types are used by men. Some types work to prevent pregnancy long-term or permanently, and others must be used each time you have sexual intercourse. Some are available over-the-counter (OTC) and others are available only by prescription.

  • Barrier methods
  • Pericoital birth control, used at the time of sex
    • Diaphragms 
    • Cervical caps
    • Spermicidal sponges 
    • Spermicides
  • Hormonal birth control
  • Long-acting birth control 
    • Copper-containing intrauterine device (IUD)
    • Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD)
    • Single-rod progestin implant (Nexplanon)
  • Permanent procedures
  • Emergency contraception, used right after unprotected intercourse 
    • “Morning after” pills
    • Hormonal (Plan B One-Step, available without a prescription) 
    • Nonhormonal (Ella)
  • “Natural” birth control 
    • Does not require medication, devices, or surgery
    • These methods are the least effective

What Are Side Effects of Birth Control?

Side effects of birth control depend on which method you use. 

Side effects of barrier methods and pericoital birth control are minimal. Products containing spermicides may cause local irritation. Spermicide-coated condoms are associated with an increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in female partners. 

Side effects of long-acting birth control include:

  • Copper-containing intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD)
    • Decreases menstrual bleeding (some women stop having periods completely)
  • Single-rod progestin implant (Nexplanon)
    • Irregular bleeding

Side effects of permanent procedures such as vasectomy (for men) and tubal ligation, (for women) include: 

  • Surgical risks: 

Side effects of emergency contraception, used right after unprotected intercourse include:

QUESTION

Men and women are equally likely to have fertility problems. See Answer

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Reviewed on 10/20/2020
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