Hormonal methods are always prescribed and monitored by a Doctor or nurse. None of them will help to prevent STIs. When used correctly, they all work in the same ways to prevent pregnancy:
- They stop an egg from being released from the ovary
- They thicken the mucus covering the cervix which makes it difficult for the sperm to pass from the vagina into the cervix
- They thin the lining of the uterus
Although all hormonal methods work the same way to prevent pregnancy, the female user (nothing exists yet for those with sperm) uses each of them differently. None of these methods prevent STIs so using them with condoms is always recommended.
- The Shot (Depo-Provera) is given every 12 weeks by injection into the arm or hip muscle of the user by a Dr. or nurse to make it 99.7% effective against pregnancy.
- The Ring is inserted and worn in the vagina for 21 days in a row with up to 7 days out of the vagina before the next ring is inserted to make it 99% effective against pregnancy.
- The Patch is put on the upper arm, back¸ torso or bum of the user one week at a time, three weeks in a row. The fourth week is patch free to make it 99% effective against pregnancy
- The Pill is taken every day at the same time often to make it 99% effective against pregnancy.
You do not need a physical exam to be prescribed a hormonal method of birth control, you simply need to chat with a Dr or nurse and have your blood pressure checked to ensure that you will be able to use them safely.