Hormonal methods of contraception protect against unwanted pregnancy, but not sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here is information on each form of hormonal contraception.

The pill (Oral contraceptives; birth control pills)

  • Combined effects of synthetic hormones called estrogen and progestin.
  • Estrogen decreases production of the hormone that helps develop the ova within the ovaries.
  • Progestin prevents the proper growth of the uterine lining and thickens the cervical mucus forming a barrier against sperm.
  • Pills can be progestin only or a combination of estrogen and progestin.

The shot (Depo-provera)

  • Injectable progesterone that lasts for three months and prevents ovulation.

The patch (Ortho evera)

  • Worn for a week at a time for three weeks, then no patch for three weeks.
  • Can be worn on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso or upper arm.

The ring (NuvaRing)

  • Inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks.

Emergency contraception

  • Combination progestin and estrogen or just progestin; but it’s concentrated enough to interrupt a women’s normal hormonal patterns and prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse has already occurred.
  • Works better if taken right away, but can be taken for up to five days after unprotected sex.
  • Progestin only pill (Plan B) reduces risk of pregnancy by 89 percent.
  • Combined pills reduce the chances by 75 percent.
  • Is available over the counter at the SHS Pharmacy.