When a woman decides she needs birth control, the choices can be overwhelming. Deciding which one is right for you requires equal consideration of your lifestyle, your family planning goals, and your gynecologist's input. Birth control options have come a long way since "the Pill," and having to think about your birth control daily. Many can now assist with difficult periods as well. Here are three popular options that might be right for you.

Intrauterine Devices

An IUD is a good choice for women who have decided they don't want any more children in the near future. Depending on the type, an IUD can last several years. Some have hormones in them, which can be useful in women who have heavy periods or severe cramping. The hormones can even prevent a monthly period altogether. It is a small t-shaped piece of plastic or copper wire that is inserted into the uterus and held in place by the cervix. It is also extremely effective, and for people who don't want to worry about their birth control daily or every time they have sex, it's a convenient option.


A birth control implant is a small device, about the size of a matchstick, which is inserted just under the skin, usually in your upper arm. It uses the hormone progestin to thicken your cervical mucous and make the environment inhospitable to sperm and their mobility difficult. Progestin can also inhibit the release of the egg to begin with. An implant will last up to four years, and is another good option for women who don't want to become pregnant anytime soon. Like the IUD, the implant can improve flow and menstrual cramps.

Vaginal Ring

This is a small ring of plastic that has the both the hormones progestin and estrogen. Every month, you simply insert a new ring. If you want a monthly period, you take it out after three weeks, wait a week, and then insert a new one. If you prefer to skip dealing with your menstrual cycle at all, simply replace it every four weeks. The ring works by stopping ovulation completely. Additionally, the cervical mucous thickens, making it difficult for the sperm to swim through the sticky substance. The option to not have deal with the side effects, mess, and expense of a menstrual cycle is great, and if you do choose to have a period some months, it's totally up to you.

None of the above methods protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so be sure to still use a condom if you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship.