Guide to Birth Control
What you need to know, whether you plan on having another child or not
I'm single again and thinking about dating. Besides having a partner wear a condom, do I have any other options to protect myself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Male condoms are still your best bet. And opt for those without the spermicide Nonoxynol-9. It's the condom itself that protects against conception (83 percent of the time) and nearly all STDs, which are now commonly called STIs (sexually transmitted infections). The tiny amounts of Nonoxynol-9 don't really improve protection against pregnancy or infections, and can be irritating. The other option is the female condom, which is similarly shaped but designed to be inserted into a woman's vagina; it has a flexible ring that holds it in place. It's 73 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and offers some protection against STIs, but it isn't as protective as the male condom.
The Pill always made me nauseous. Do the Patch and the Ring have the same side effects?
Although all three contain estrogen, the hormone responsible for your nausea, studies show that the Patch delivers the highest dose. (The Patch has also been linked with an increase in blood clots; its makers now warn of this risk on the product label.) The Ring delivers the lowest dose of estrogen at a steadier rate, so it's your best best.
Another alternative: a lower-dose Pill. Consider asking your physician to prescribe a brand that has the least amount of estrogen, like LoEstrin, Alesse, Mircette, or Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. Or try the new Loestrin 24 Fe or YAZ, which spread out a low dose of hormones over 24 days instead of 21. Then be patient. The nausea usually goes away after about three months, when your body gets used to the medication. Keep in mind, however, that low-dose options may not be as effective if you're overweight.