Great question! Many people don’t realize how many estrogen-free options there really are. Most of the negative side effects women feel from birth control is caused by the estrogen, not the progestin, although everyone is different. While not all of these are hormone free, they are all estrogen free and may be the perfect fit for you!
An IUD: All IUDs are estrogen free! Mirena and Skyla IUDs contain progestin only and release a small amount locally to your uterus. Paragard is completely hormone free and prevents pregnancy with the copper on the IUD. These flexible T-shaped devices are all over 99 percent effective and you basically don’t have to think about them once you get them inserted. Skyla can last for up to 3 years, Mirena for up to 5, and Paragard for up to 10!
The Nexplanon implant: The implant is a tiny matchstick-sized rod that’s inserted into your arm, where it protects you from pregnancy for up to 3 years by releasing a type of progestin. Nexplanon contains only progestin and it’s over 99 percent effective.
The Depo shot: The Depo shot is an injection you get once every three months that contains progestin only. The shot is more than 99 percent effective with perfect use (94 percent if you also factor in imperfect use, like not getting the shot on time). The only down side to the shot is having to come in every 3 months to get it.
A mini pill: The mini pill is a progestin-only pill that you take once a day every day with no week of placebo pills. (You still get a period, but you just take an active pill each day.) Like typical pills, the mini pill has to be taken at the same exact time every day for maximum effectiveness, but its actually even more important with mini pills. Progestin is metabolized faster by your body, so if you go even a couple hours past the time you are supposed to take it, you have a higher risk of getting pregnant. This option is not the best option for someone who isn’t great at remembering their pill every day.
These options are also all great for women who cannot take estrogen for other reasons such as high blood pressure, smoking, Migraines, uncontrolled hypertension, a history of thrombosis, etc. If you have questions about whether estrogen is safe for you, please make an appointment to see one of our contraception specialists!