Short Term vs Long-Term Non-Hormonal Birth Control – Differences Explained

Short Term vs Long-Term Non-Hormonal Birth Control – Differences Explained

Short Term vs Long-Term Non-Hormonal Birth Control – Differences Explained


With the continuing advancement of birth control methods, there are a variety of choices for women depending on their needs. There are forms of birth control without hormones, birth control with one type of hormone, or with multiple. Each form has its own pros and cons. And it’s no surprise that women often wonder which birth control would work best for their bodies when they are starting out or switching methods.


Between side effects, PMS and period symptom control or, most importantly, preventing pregnancy, it’s important to know how much and when you can count on your birth control to work properly and keep your body healthy.


Below are some of the most common types of birth control methods and whether they are non-hormonal, low-hormone, or include a combination of hormones. Knowing this is crucial for planning for a safe and healthy sexual life.


Temporary Non-Hormonal Birth Control Explained


Non Hormonal Birth Control Options: Condoms, Diaphragms, and Cervical Caps

Condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps are all forms of physical birth controls or barrier birth controls. Instead of using hormones to change your body chemistry into not producing the necessary environment to get pregnant, they simply block the sperm from entering the cervix.


Condoms are a form of physical birth control that are worn by men during sexual intercourse. They are made of latex or similar rubbery materials and are put on before sex. Condoms don’t contain any hormones and are the only type of birth control that help protect against sexually transmitted diseases. You can get condoms over the counter without a prescription, and even for free at some health clinics.


Cervical Caps are also a form of physical barrier birth control that helps prevent pregnancy. This sailor hat-shaped silicon device goes in front of a woman's cervix to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. A cervical cap is used every time before sexual intercourse and varies in effectiveness, depending on how well it is used. Cervical caps work best for women who have never given birth. Cervical caps need to be combined with spermicide, a chemical compound that kills sperm before they can fertilize an egg. This double approach helps increase the effectiveness of cervical caps.


Diaphragms are similar to the cervical caps explained above, but come in a different shape. A diaphragm is a dome-shaped insert that is used to cover your cervix during intercourse. Like cervical caps, diaphragms have no hormones because they are a barrier type of birth control. For maximum effectiveness, diaphragms should also be used with spermicide to both block off your cervix and also kill sperm before they enter. Diaphragms boast a relatively high effectiveness percentage when used correctly (up to 92%).

Because condoms contain no hormones, they have no side effects. Unless the latex causes irritation for individuals with latex sensitivities or allergies, there are no other side effects.


Similarly, since cervical caps and diaphragms do not use hormones, they do not alter your period or have the ability to make you sick. Cervical caps and diaphragms both require spermicide to be more effective, there are some side effects from using spermicide as well. The most common chemical in spermicides, nonoxynol-9, can irritate your vagina.

Because of this irritation, using a cervical cap and diaphragm can increase your risk of STDs, especially HIV. While spermicide is not a hormone, use of spermicide makes some women feel it is not a natural birth control and seek different non hormonal birth control options.

Additionally, using them can increase urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially if you have an incorrect size. Talk to a doctor if your diaphragm feels uncomfortable, your vagina is sore or itchy, or if you have a burning sensation when you urinate.

It is very rare, but possible for individuals using cervical caps or diaphragms to develop toxic shock syndrome. Call a doctor right away if you are vomiting, have aching muscles or a rash that, feeling faint, or have a sudden high fever


Long-Acting Hormone-Free Birth Control Methods


Hormone Free Birth Control: ParaGard, the Copper IUD

An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a type of birth control device that is inserted into your uterus and can be left in for up to 12 years. There are two main types of IUDs – copper IUDs, like ParaGard, and hormonal IUDs, like Mirena or Skyla. Copper IUDs work by changing the direction of sperm (sperm does not like copper and wants to stay away).


Hormonal IUDs have similar side effects as birth control pills or other hormonal birth control. Both types of IUDs are extremely effective and because they can be left in for so long, are a good choice for women who want a “set it and forget it” approach to birth control.

The copper IUD is a method of birth control without hormones and can be used by people with a preference for non-hormonal or have a history of medical problems because of birth control hormones. Many women prefer this method for natural birth control as it is extremely effective, hormone free, and requires no upkeep. This does not mean that the copper IUD does not come with any side effects.


All kinds of IUDs, even the copper IUD, can have negative side effects that usually go away in 3 to 6 months. These can include: pain upon insertion of the IUD, backaches or cramps following the procedure, irregular periods, spotting between periods, and with the copper IUD worse menstrual cramps and heavier periods.


Although rare, there are some even more serious complications that can happen:

·         The IUD can slip: It is possible, though very unlikely that the IUD can slip and need to be removed.

·         Risk of ectopic pregnancy: It is also possible to still get pregnant with an IUD and if the IUD stays in place, there is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, where the egg is fertilized in some place other than the womb.

·         Infection upon insertion: There is a small chance of infection when inserting the IUD, which can jeopardize your ability to get pregnant in the future.

·         Call a doctor right away if you have any of the following warning signs: the length of the IUD string changes or you can feel the IUD, you think you may be pregnant, you have abdominal pain or bad cramping, you have pain or bleeding during sex, or you have unexplained trouble breathing, fever, chills, or vaginal discharge


For any information on the CopperPearls Long-Acting Non-Hormonal IUD, click here to get in touch with us today.



Cover Image Credit: Marie Stopes Australia