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Understanding Birth Control (Part 1): Hormonal and Barrier Methods Explained

hormonal birth control

When considering birth control, it's crucial to understand the varied methods and their associated risks. Each type of birth control can cause certain side effects. Here, we explore the intricacies of hormonal birth control and barrier methods, shedding light on their benefits and potential risks.

Hormonal Birth Control


Hormonal birth control is the most widely known. In the 1950s, the invention of the “magic pill”  popularized and normalized the concept of birth control itself in the American consciousness.  Hormonal birth control includes birth control pills, patches, vaginal rings, and injections. It works by regulating hormones to prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

Risks of Hormonal Birth Control

1- While effective, hormonal birth control can lead to side effects like headaches, nausea, mood changes, and irregular bleeding. More severe risks include an increased susceptibility to blood clots, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. 

2- Hormonal methods do not protect against STIs.

Failure Rate

The failure rates range from 0.3% to 9%, contingent on proper usage and the specific method. You can learn more by reading the NHS’s guide to birth control risks. 

Barrier Methods


Barrier methods prevent sperm from reaching the egg. This includes 

  • male and female condoms

  • Diaphragms

  • cervical caps. 


While generally safe, incorrect usage can elevate the risk of pregnancy. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions. They also have limited effectiveness against STIs. 

Failure Rate: 

Male condoms have a failure rate of 12% to 18%, while female condoms range up to 21%. Diaphragms and cervical caps have failure rates between 12% and 24%.

Hormonal Birth Control and Barrier Methods 

Understanding the nuances of hormonal and barrier methods is crucial in making an informed decision about birth control. Stay tuned for the next part, where we'll delve into long-acting reversible contraception, permanent contraception, natural methods, and abstinence.

If you have queries about birth control methods or want to explore options, reach out Pregnancy Center of Lapeer. Call us at (810) 667-0055  or visit The Pregnancy Center of Lapeer for more information.

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