I need a contraceptive that isn't hormonal. I'm allergic to condoms. I've heard a copper IUD can be painful or dangerous. What are my options?
If hormones aren’t your thing, you still have a few birth control options. But first, when you say you’re allergic to condoms, are you sure you’re not just allergic to latex? There are condoms made from a few different materials out there, like polyurethane and polyisoprene. If you haven’t tried those yet, it’s worth finding out if they work for you because condoms are not only a great non-hormonal birth control option, but they also help protect you from STDs.
The copper IUD is the most effective and convenient of the non-hormonal options. Like all birth control methods, it has some risks, but overall it’s really safe. In terms of pain, you may have some pain when you get it put in, but that goes away pretty quickly. Some people have heavier periods or worse period cramps with the copper IUD, but that also tends to taper off over time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about the copper IUD to find out if it’s right for you.
The diaphragm, the cervical cap, and the sponge are also solid non-hormonal options, but they’re a little more high maintenance than other methods. They require that you take care of your birth control in the time right before you have sex, which isn’t for everyone.
Finding the right birth control method can take some trial and error. Talking through your options with your doctor or nurse or the staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center is a good first step.