With so many birth control options, finding the right one for your needs can seem overwhelming. Understanding the benefits and differences between an IUD (intrauterine device) and birth control pills will help you decide which birth control method is the best choice for your lifestyle and needs.
The difference between an IUD and birth control pills
One of the main differences between an IUD and birth control pills is convenience. If you want a “set it and forget it” method of birth control that you don’t have to worry about, an IUD is a great option. There are two types of IUDs: copper (non-hormonal) and progestin (hormonal).
Both forms are effective at preventing pregnancy as soon as they’re implanted and offer protection for several years. Progestin IUDs typically last for up to five years, and the copper IUD can last for up to ten years. Best of all, you can opt to have the IUD removed whenever you want.
Birth control pills are hormone-based and require a prescription. For birth control pills to be effective in preventing pregnancy, you have to remember to take the pill every day, ideally at the same time every day. When used correctly, both IUDs and birth control pills are highly effective in preventing pregnancy (approximately 99%).
Birth control pills are non-invasive, but you have to take a pill every day and get refills every month, so there’s more effort involved on your part than with an IUD. Hormone-based birth control methods (the pill and IUD) can cause lighter periods so they might be a good option if you tend to have heavier periods.
Depending on when you start taking it, birth control pills can take up to a week to kick in, so you may need to use an additional form of birth control for the first seven days (the same is true for a hormone-based IUD).
How to choose the right birth control method for your needs
Your choice of birth control is a personal decision, and there are several factors to consider when weighing your options:
- Your health
- Your short and long term reproductive plans
To get started, schedule an appointment with our gynecologists to discuss your birth control needs and find the method that works best for you.
While birth control pills and IUDs are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, they don’t protect against STDs.
For more information about your birth control options and the reproductive health services we offer, contact Memorial Women’s Specialists to schedule an appointment at our office in Houston, or request an appointment online.