How FOLX Can Help with Birth Control or Contraception

Discover personalized birth control options with FOLX, offering inclusive, affirming care tailored to your unique needs. Find the right method for your lifestyle and identity.

June 6, 2024
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This article was clinically reviewed by Michelle Forcier, MD.

Introduction

Choosing the right birth control or contraception is a personal decision that can significantly impact your health and well-being. For the LGBTQIA+ community, getting birth control options from a clinician that understands and affirms our identities and sexualities can be challenging. At FOLX, we are committed to providing inclusive, compassionate care tailored to your unique needs.

Whether you are a bisexual cisgender woman looking to prevent pregnancy, a transgender man wanting to control his periods, a nonbinary person seeking relief from uterine cramps or a more predictable cycle, somebody with sperm who partners with people who can get pregnant, or anyone else interested in exploring birth control or contraception for any reason, we are here to support and guide you. 

This guide aims to empower you with the information about what it might be like to get a birth control consultation and or medications via FOLX.

Please note: when you meet with our clinicians, they will ask you for the preferred terms for yourself and your body. Many people use different terms for their body parts, especially people in the transgender and nonbinary community. For the purposes of this article and clinical clarity we have used non-gendered language and anatomical terms, but we will always respect your own language and choices.

How do I know which birth control method is right for me?

Selecting the right birth control involves considering your health, lifestyle, body parts, sexual practices, personal preferences and how effective you want your birth control to be. It's important to consult with a clinician who understands your unique context and can help you navigate the various options available. FOLX clinicians are trained to provide affirming care that respects your identity and supports your health goals.

What kind of birth control options are available?

FOLX clinicians provide a comprehensive range of birth control options, including:

Hormonal Methods:

These methods are designed for people with uteruses and ovaries who want to prevent pregnancy from occuring in their bodies. They are also used to control hormone levels for other reasons, such as for painful, irregular or heavy periods or the treatment of PCOS.

  • Pills: Daily oral contraceptives that prevent ovulation. Suitable for many people but particularly effective for those with regular routines who can commit to taking a daily medication at around the same time.
  • Patches: A weekly patch that releases hormones through the skin. Ideal for those who prefer not to take a daily pill.
  • Rings: A monthly vaginal ring that releases hormones locally. Good for those who prefer a method that doesn't require daily attention and don’t mind inserting something vaginally.
  • Shots: A quarterly injection of hormones. Useful for those who want a long-term method without daily or weekly maintenance.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs):

These are also designed for people with uteruses and ovaries who want to prevent pregnancy from occuring in their bodies. They may also be used to control hormone levels for other reasons, such as for painful periods or the treatment of PCOS. These require an in-person insertion, so we do not offer these via our telehealth services, but we can refer you to a local provider who can. 

  • Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus that can be hormonal or non-hormonal. Suitable for many bodies, including those who may not want or cannot use estrogen.
  • Implants: A small rod inserted under the skin of the arm that releases a very low dose of progesterone only hormone over several years. Ideal for those seeking a long-term, low-maintenance solution.

Non-Hormonal Methods:

These are also designed for people with uteruses and ovaries who want to prevent pregnancy from occuring in their bodies, and do not impact hormones.

  • Copper IUDs: Long-term, hormone-free option that prevents pregnancy. Suitable for those who cannot or prefer not to use hormones.
  • Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM): Tracking your menstrual cycle to avoid sex on fertile days. Requires discipline and a regular cycle, suitable for those preferring natural methods. 

Note: Fertility awareness is vastly ineffective compared to the other methods. Condoms are less effective than hormonal birth controls. And the LARCs, or inserted IUD or implant, are the most effective options, easy to use and with rare failures.

Barrier Methods:

These can be used during sexual activity and are not just useful for birth control but may also prevent or reduce risk of STIs. Internal and external condoms can be used for sex using the vagina as well as the anus. 

  • External Condoms: Prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Suitable for anyone engaging in penetrative sex.
  • Internal Condoms: Worn inside the vagina to prevent sperm from reaching the egg or inside the vagina or anus to prevent transmission of certain sexually transmitted infections. 
  • Diaphragm, cervical cap and sponge: A dome-shaped cup like device inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. 

Emergency Contraception:

These are designed for people with uteruses and ovaries who want to prevent pregnancy from occuring in their bodies, after an unprotectedsexual act has occurred. They work by stopping ovulation. They would not interrupt or abort an already in progress pregnancy.

  • Morning-After Pills: Pills taken after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. More effective the sooner they are taken. Plan B or levonorgestrel is available over the counter. Ullipristal, which is more effective for heavier persons and taken up to 5 days after sex, requires a prescription. 
  • Copper IUDs: Can be used as emergency contraception if inserted within five days of unprotected sex. Suitable for those who prefer a non-hormonal option and seek long-term contraception.

Is there anything I should prepare for my visit?

To make the most of your visit, consider your current health, lifestyle, sexual practices, future family building goals (if any) and any previous experiences with birth control. Document any side effects you've had with past methods and any preferences you have. Be open about how your identity and experiences impact your health, as this can inform the most effective birth control choice for you.

What should I expect during a FOLX visit for birth control?

In a telehealth visit for birth control, you can expect comprehensive, affirming care. Your clinician will discuss your health history, preferences, and any concerns you have. Together, you'll explore the different birth control options and develop a plan that aligns with your health goals and lifestyle. Your FOLX clinician will provide ongoing support and tools to help you manage your birth control effectively.

After your visit, we can send any prescriptions to a pharmacy of your choice.

Other Resources / Further Reading

For more information and support on birth control, explore these resources:

FAQs

Q: Can birth control be used to manage other health issues?

A: Yes, birth control can help manage various health issues, such as regulating menstrual cycles, reducing menstrual cramps or heavy bleeding, treating acne, and managing symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Q: How does birth control impact gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT)?

A: Birth control options can be tailored to complement your GAHT plan. It’s important to discuss your specific needs with a clinician who understands both birth control and GAHT to ensure the best approach for your health and gender-affirming care.

Q: Are there side effects to using birth control?

A: Side effects vary depending on the method. Common side effects include nausea, weight changes, mood changes, and spotting between periods. Discuss any concerns with your clinician to find the best option for you.

Q: How do I switch birth control methods?

A: Transitioning between birth control methods should be done under the guidance of a clinician to ensure continuous protection and minimize side effects. Your FOLX clinician can help you develop a plan to switch methods safely.

With FOLX, you have a supportive partner in managing your reproductive health, ensuring you receive the personalized, compassionate care you deserve.

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FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, or another identity, you can find LGBTQ-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!

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