Condoms are thin tubes made of latex, polyurethane, or lambskin designed to fit over the erect penis. Condoms are barriers, meaning they prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm from entering the vagina. Condoms can also be used to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Essential Health Clinic also offers female condoms (or internal condoms). An internal condom is a soft, loose-fitting sheath designed to be inserted into the vagina before intercourse. These condoms also act as a barrier, preventing sperm from entering the vagina. They are effective in reducing the spread of STDs.
For more information about both male and female (internal) condoms download our Male and Female Condoms Patient Education Sheet.
Oral Contraceptives - Pills
The pill contains two hormones (estrogen and progestin), which protect against pregnancy by preventing ovulation (the ripening and release of an egg from the ovary) and can help make periods lighter and more regular. The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There are several different types of pills and your provider can help you find one that works for your body.
For more information about oral contraceptives download our Oral Contraceptives Patient Education Sheet (English) | (Espanol).
Progestin only pills ("mini-pills") are oral contraceptive pills that contain no estrogen. Like other oral contraceptives, they prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). Each pill in the pack contains progestin, therefore there is no hormone-free week with progestin-only pills.
For more information about Progestin only pills download our Progestin Only Fact Sheet (English) | (Espanol).
The hormonal ring is a clear flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina to release a steady combination of progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. It works to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). The menstrual period occurs when the ring is removed by the patient once a month.
For more information about the hormonal ring download our Hormonal Ring Patient Education Sheet (English) | (Espanol).
Hormonal Injection - Depo Shot
The most common hormonal injection is Depo-Provera®, commonly called "Depo" or "the shot." It is an injection of the synthetic hormone DMPA and works by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). The shot is given every three months by a healthcare provider.
For more information about the hormonal injection download our Hormonal Injection Patient Education Sheet (English) (Espanol).
The implant, Nexplanon™, is a flexible plastic rod the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm and slowly releases hormones into the bloodstream. Nexplanon™ is a progesterone-only method of contraception that works by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). It is a long-lasting and effective method, as it provides continuous contraception for up to four years.
For more information about the hormonal implant download our Nexplanon™ Patient Education Sheet (English) (Espanol).
The intrauterine device (IUD) is a soft "T" shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. IUDs can be either non-hormonal (ParaGard®) or contain the hormone progestin (Mirena® and Skyla®). IUDs are highly effective contraceptive methods.
The non-hormonal IUD, ParaGard®, uses copper to prevent pregnancy. It provides continuous contraception for 12 years.
Hormonal IUDs release a small amount of the hormone progestin directly into the endometrial cavity. Skyla® is effective for three years, and Mirena® is effective for six years. Both have the ability to decrease heavy periods.
For more information about the intrauterine device download our IUD Patient Education Sheet (English) (Espanol).
The diaphragm is a soft latex or silicone dome that expands to create a seal against the walls of the vagina. It is inserted deep into the vagina to cover the cervix and prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. It is always used with a spermicidal cream or jelly. The diaphragm must be fitted by a healthcare provider to ensure effectiveness.
For more information about the diaphragm download our Diaphragm Fact Sheet.
Fertility Awareness Method
Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is when a person identifies the fertile days (days pregnancy is most likely) and less fertile days (days pregnancy is least likely) in a their cycle. This is done by watching a person's body closely, charting cycles to notice patterns and signs of ovulation, and counting days in the cycle. Fertility awareness methods are basic and easy and can be used to avoid pregnancy or to become pregnant.
For more information about Fertility Awareness Methods download our FAM Patient Education Sheet (Espanol).
Other birth control methods include:
Our clinicians will provide counseling about all methods of birth control, including those listed above. However, Essential Health Clinic does not provide vasectomies or tubal ligations. We do not carry the sponge at our clinic locations. Contraceptive sponges are available at most pharmacies and do not require a prescription.
One of our providers can help you decide the best option for you.