Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is the most effective birth control?"
Is it pills?
The most effective forms of birth control, in terms of preventing pregnancy, are sterilization procedures (tubal ligation for females or vasectomy for males) and intrauterine devices (IUDs). These are all nearly 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. On the other hand, oral contraceptive pills are probably only 95% effective. This is because they are often not used entirely correctly (for example missing doses of the pill, etc). If used 100% correctly, they are probably almost as effective as IUDs. The problem is, however, that in the 'real world' we do often forget to take medications despite our best intentions! Barrier methods for contraception, like condoms, are even less effective, probably only 75-85% effective. Again, part of this lack of effectiveness is because they may not be used all the time, despite best intentions. However, they are also prone to mechanical failure, i.e. breaks and leaks. It is also important to remember that oral contraceptive pills, IUDs and similar methods of contraceptives do not provide any protection at all against the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. If you are concerned about potentially acquiring a sexually transmitted infection, you will have to use a barrier method (such as condoms) in addition to an oral contraceptive pill.
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