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Risks of Birth Control Methods

There are several types of birth control for couples to choose from in their daily life. Choosing one that works well with their personalities, schedules and finances can provide protection without stress; however, each type of birth control does come with certain risks. Weighing the risks against the benefits can help you make the best choice when it comes to birth control for you and your partner.

Birth Control Pill

Birth control pills increase the incident of cervical and liver cancer in women who use them. The longer you are on the pill, the higher that risk becomes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The progestin in birth control pills has been shown to increase the LDL in women; therefore, it is important to ask your doctor to prescribe one with the lowest possible levels of progestin.

Women over 35 who are on the pill are at a significantly higher risk for stroke and heart attack. The risk is high enough that the Mayo Clinic recommends you choose a different form of birth control if you are not willing to quit smoking.

The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.


Condoms can break or tear during use, which places the couple at risk for unwanted pregnancy, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, according to Planned Parenthood, there is a 15 percent fail rate for protection against pregnancy if the couple does not use the condom properly 100 percent of the time. For couples who use condoms correctly every single time, there is a 2 percent fail rate.


An IUD is a device that is placed in the uterus by your health care provider. When it stays in place, it is very effective in preventing pregnancy; however, there can be complications with its use. The IUD can slip from its original spot and leave the uterus, which increases your chance of becoming pregnant.

An infection can be triggered as the IUD is inserted, and if not treated promptly, can render you infertile. The infection will usually become apparent within the first three weeks following IUD insertion.

If you do become pregnant with an IUD inserted, you run a higher risk of having a miscarriage or a tubal pregnancy.

The IUD is not effective against sexually transmitted diseases.

The Patch

The glue on the birth control patch can become loose, and the patch can fall off. If you forget to change it on your change date, you can become pregnant. The FDA reported in 2005 that the patch exposes the patient to 60 percent more estrogen than the birth control pill does. The patch can also cause the user to develop headaches and irregular bleeding. The patch does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

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