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5 Types of Nonhormonal Birth Control You Should Have on Your Radar

Aug 20, 2021 10:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
illustrations of phone, thermometer, IUD, condo, and a calendar

If you don’t want to get pregnant, the contraceptive pill or any other hormonal birth control methods are not your only option. We know that hormonal birth control methods have different side effects such as weight gain, acne, migraines, or high blood pressure. The pull-out method isn’t a reliable nonhormonal birth control method so here are five nonhormonal birth control options that are worth considering if you want to avoid both pregnancy and hormones.


The most traditional non-hormonal birth-control method is condoms. There are male and female condoms and both are the only forms of birth control that protect against STDs as well since they create a physical barrier that keeps semen from entering. Condoms aren’t 100% effective because condoms can be made from latex, plastic, or lambskin, and lambskin condoms have tiny holes that allow bacteria and viruses to pass through.


In September 2020, a new type of non-hormonal birth control called Phexxi was launched after it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Phexxi comes as an easy-to-use prescription vaginal gel and contains lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate. Phexxi works by altering the pH of your vagina to make it more acidic and less hospitable to sperm. As a result, it's much less likely that sperm will make it to your egg to cause a pregnancy. It comes as a pre-filled applicator you insert into your vagina immediately before or up to an hour before you have vaginal intercourse. According to data cited by the FDA, Phexxi is about 86% percent effective with typical use.

 Nonhormonal IUDs

A form of long-acting, reversible contraception is the copper IUD, or copper coil. This tiny T-shaped device is implanted in your uterus, usually in under five minutes, where the copper it’s wrapped in causes a reaction that makes it difficult for sperm to get to the egg. Nonhormonal IUDs may make your periods worse for the first three to six months. The copper IUD requires fitting by a healthcare professional. Once inserted in the vagina, the copper IUD can be used for five to ten years. This form of non-hormonal birth control has a high effectiveness rate of more than 99%.


A diaphragm is a saucer-shaped silicone cup that you put into your vagina to block semen from entering your womb. You fill it with a contraceptive gel, pinch it in half, then push it as far back as it can go in your vagina where it expands, covering your cervix to keep sperm out and this must be done up to six hours before having sex. You leave it there for at least six hours after sex but no more than 24 hours. Alhthough you may need some practice putting it in and needing a new one if your weight fluctuates, this method is 88% effective, portable, and reusable. Caya is a popular diaphragm brand in the U.S.


Contraceptive sponge

The contraceptive sponge or just ‘the sponge’ is a small, round sponge made from soft, squishy plastic. You put a contraceptive gel on such as spermicidebefore inserting it deep inside your vagina before sex. The sponge prevents pregnancy in two ways. It needs to be deep enough to fit snugly against your cervix, blocking the entrance to your uterus so sperm can’t get to your egg. The spermicide, which slows sperm down so it can’t reach your egg to help prevent pregnancy. The sponge is 76% effective for women who have given birth.



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 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies. She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content. 

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