Which Method of Birth Control Involves Hormones?

a medical device is laying on a blue and yellow surface

There are many different kinds of birth control. Some are more reliable than others.

Hormonal methods, like the pill, implant, and non-copper IUDs work by stopping ovulation or changing the thickness of your cervical mucus. Some hormonal methods don’t protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The most reliable way to prevent pregnancy is to abstain from sex. But that can be hard to do.

The Pill

The Pill is a daily pill that has hormones to help change the way your body works and prevent pregnancy. The most common type of Pill is a “combination pill,” which has estrogen and progestin in it to stop your ovaries from releasing an egg during each menstrual cycle. If an egg isn’t released, it can’t be fertilized. The Pill also thickens the mucus in your cervix, so sperm can’t get in to meet an egg.

There are lots of different kinds of pills. Some have different doses of the hormones or contain no estrogen at all. The Pill is usually very safe, and it’s the most reliable birth control method available. It doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), though, so you still need to use a condom for protection during sex.

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of the Pill, and it’s often free for people who qualify. You can find it at your local family planning clinic, women’s health center, or drugstore. You can also buy it online.

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The Pill is most effective if you take it at the same time each day, without missing any days. It’s best if you use a backup form of birth control, such as condoms, for the first 7 days after you start taking the Pill. Also, make sure you don’t stop taking it until your period has stopped. If you stop it early, you might get pregnant.


A hormone-releasing IUD, or a coil, is inserted into the uterus by a doctor or nurse. It’s long-term, reversible and one of the most effective methods of birth control. The hormone levonorgestrel is absorbed by the lining of your womb, making it harder for sperm to get to an egg. It also thickens the mucus in your cervix (the opening to your womb), so sperm can’t swim through it. There are two types of IUDs: the hormonal IUD, Mirena, Kyleena and Liletta, and the copper IUD, Paragard.

During your first 3 to 6 months with an IUD, it’s common to have spotting between periods. This is because the IUD thins the lining of your uterus. Some women experience amenorrhea, or no menstruation, while the IUD is inserted. This is due to the releasing of the hormone progestin, but this will return once the IUD is removed.

Other side effects of hormonal birth control include sore/tender breasts, weight gain, headaches and changes to your skin and moods. It is important to discuss the different birth control options with your partner, as they may have preferences that differ from yours. You should also consider how committed you are to using birth control consistently. The best way to prevent pregnancy is not to have sexual intercourse at all, but this can be difficult for many people. Therefore, it is a good idea to use a backup method of birth control.

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The Ring

The Ring is a birth control method that involves a small, flexible ring that you wear inside your vagina. It releases hormones to prevent pregnancy 24/7, and works really well if you use it correctly. The ring, which has the brand name NuvaRing or Annovera, is available through Planned Parenthood Direct to eligible women.

The ring requires consistent, regular use and can be less effective if you make a mistake, like missing a day of wearing it or forgetting to replace it after three weeks. To help you remember, you can wear a ring reminder patch on your arm or get a ring-specific app to set an alarm for you. You can also get a ring prescription through the app and ask for a refill before you run out.

There are many things to consider when choosing a birth control method, including how often you have sex and your goals for the future. If you want to learn more, talk with a trusted provider or visit one of our Planned Parenthood locations. They can answer questions and explain how each birth control method works, including its risks and benefits. You can also read our blog, How to Choose Your Birth Control, for more information and tips. And don’t forget that abstinence is a safe, reliable option that can protect you from STDs.

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The Patch

The patch releases a daily dose of hormones through the skin into the bloodstream. Like the combined pill, it has the hormones estrogen and progestin, but the patch prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation and thickening cervical mucus so sperm can’t swim to an egg and cause fertilization.

It also makes the womb lining thinner, so any fertilized egg would be less likely to implant and grow inside the uterus. It’s a convenient and effective method of birth control. Almost 99% of the time, it prevents pregnancy in women who use it as directed. (But if you skip your week 4 patch or forget to change it, you could become pregnant.)

Like other hormonal birth control methods, the patch doesn’t protect against STIs. And it may cause some side effects, including irritated or itchy skin where the patch is applied, breast tenderness and bleeding between periods.

If you get the patch, you should start with a 3-month supply to see how you feel and make sure it’s working for you. If it is, you can continue to use it for up to a year at a time. Talk to your health care provider or clinic about getting the patch. They can help you choose the right one for you, explain how to use it and what to do if it falls off or gets wet, or help you find another option if it doesn’t work for you.

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