Birth Control Methods for Women with Health Conditions

While many forms of birth control are considered safe for most women, certain medical conditions or behaviors may influence a woman’s choice of birth control method.

If you have an existing health concern, consult with your physician for advice on choosing a birth control method that meets your needs and lifestyle. Contact a CU OBGYN

Barrier methods

Condoms are an alternative birth control option for women who opt not to use hormonal forms of birth control, or who want additional protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Condoms made of polyurethane are a good alternative for women or their partners who have latex allergies.

Other barrier methods of birth control, such as diaphragms, may be used as well.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

While the Mirena IUD is a progestin-only form of birth control, the copper form of IUD, known as ParaGard, is a non-hormonal alternative for women with health concerns. Talk with your physician to find out if an IUD will meet your health and contraceptive needs.

Permanent birth control (sterilization)

If a woman is certain that she will not want to have any children in the future, sterilization is a permanent form of birth control that may be considered by women with health concerns.

Hormonal birth control

Hormonal forms of birth control (such as the pill, patch, ring, or Mirena intrauterine device) may provide relief from symptoms of certain medical conditions, like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, for other medical problems, hormonal birth control may interact with medication or increase the risk of serious complications.

Most side effects of hormonal birth control like the pill are minor, including lighter periods, nausea, mood changes and sore or swollen breasts. Birth control pills rarely cause serious conditions.

Serious conditions that can be caused or worsened by taking birth control pills include high blood pressure, blood clot formation and stroke. Though these effects from birth control pills are extremely rare in healthy women, it is still wise for all users of birth control pills to keep the following symptoms in mind and to immediately contact a doctor or seek medical attention should they occur:

  • Severe headaches
  • Blurred vision or other eye problems
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling or aching in the legs.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, finding a safe and effective method of birth control requires careful consideration. Our specialty trained, Family Planning physicians can help you decide which option is best for you.

To learn more about medical conditions and birth control, choose a topic below:

Medication & hormonal birth control

Many forms of medication – including natural supplements like St. John’s wort or soy isoflavones – can interact with hormonal birth control, making one or both forms of medication less effective.

Be sure to notify your doctor of any medicines or natural supplements that you are taking before you begin using hormonal birth control.