All of the hormonal methods have different possible side effects, ranging from weight gain to blood clots in the legs, heart, or brain. Needless to say, you must see a doctor before beginning any of these methods so that you can be aware the side effects. Hormonal methods are all 99% effective in preventing pregnancy if used correctly. Ironically, these methods can tend to mess with your libido, making you… shall we say… frigid or frisky. We'll cross our fingers for you (and your partner) and hope that the latter happens.

The pill

There are many different brands of birth control pills, but there are essentially two types of oral contraception: progestin-only pills and combination pills (which use both estrogen and progestin). Depending on your medical makeup and needs, your doctor will recommend one or the other. The basic function of the pill is to trick your body into thinking that you're pregnant. As you know, when a woman is pregnant, the body sends out signals (that is, progestin) to tell the reproductive system not to allow more pregnancy to occur. That's why women don't become pregnant with a brand new baby when they already have a 6-month-old fetus cooking.

Most pills are in the $20-per-month range. Also, you have to take the pill the same time every day, so it's important to get yourself into the habit of establishing a pill routine (e.g., "I'll always take a pill first thing when I wake up in the morning"). The only time that you shouldn't take the pill is when you're scheduled to menstruate, but many pill kits have harmless sugar pills for you to take on those days so that you don't break the habit. Some brands of birth control pills help clear up your skin, but others cause mild weight gain. That's the price of messing with your hormones.


Needle-phobes beware! With Depo-provera treatment, you will get an injection in the rear end every three months with a needle that releases a hormone similar to progesterone. This hormone keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs, so it's basically impossible to get pregnant. Yes, they hurt, but here's the good news: most women on Depo-Provera no longer have their periods. So burn those bulky pads and buy some condoms with the money you'll save on tampons. Each shot costs about $40.


Norplant is a commitment. Six thin plastic implants are put under the skin of your arm, and hormones are released constantly for 5 years to keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. The insertion is painless (except for the prick of the numbing needle), and it costs around $600. Norplant can be removed early, but removal costs about $150, and therefore, this method isn't worth it unless you plan on leaving the implants in for the full 5 years.