Dr. Jorge Villarreal, a Texas native, is an OB-GYN in El Paso, Texas. Dr. Villarreal has performed over 300 robotic and minimally-invasive surgical procedures and looks forward to joining the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery.
Birth Control Q & A
How Do I Choose a Birth Control Method?
This is one of the most important questions for a sexually active woman, and with so many effective options, it’s a good idea to start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to get pregnant at any point in the future? This may exclude permanent methods, which are also the most effective.
- How would an unplanned pregnancy affect your life? Some forms of birth control are much more reliable than others.
- Do you have health factors that could exclude certain forms of birth control? Your doctor can tell you if the birth control pill is safe for you.
- Are you concerned about the risk for sexually transmitted disease? Not all birth control methods provide protection.
Do I Need a Doctor to Get Birth Control?
Some forms of birth control are available without a doctor’s prescription, but these tend to be less reliable than other methods. They include:
- Male and female condoms
- Natural family planning/”fertility awareness”
You will need to see a doctor if you want one of the more reliable methods, including:
- Birth control pills
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Diaphragm/cervical cap
- Birth control implants
- Depo-Provera shots
- Rings and patches
Is Birth Control Safe?
All prescription medications, including birth control drugs, carry some small amount of risk, but when used properly, birth control is extremely safe, and the benefits far outweigh the risks for most women. In fact, doctors prescribe birth control pills for a number of reasons aside from preventing pregnancy; they are used to regulate menstrual cycles and make them lighter and more comfortable, as well as to treat menstrual migraines and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
When you see your doctor for birth control planning, he or she will evaluate your health history and lifestyle factors and help you choose the safest, most effective birth control method for you.