The pill. IUDs. Vaginal rings. Contraceptive injections. Arm implants. Diaphragms. Condoms. With so many options to choose from, picking out the right birth control method for you can be… a lot.

Between 2017 and 2019, approximately 65 percent of women aged 15 to 49 in the United States used contraception—and yet they still face numerous challenges, from potential side effects to managing the costs, particularly for people whose insurance coverage doesn’t include contraception.

But, you do have some help: By using GoodRx’s free prescription savings platform, you can save an average of $43 on birth control pills. You can also find cost-effective solutions for many different methods of birth control, thanks to GoodRx’s manufacturer partnerships.

But how do you know which of those options is right for you? Sophie Vergnaud, MD, senior medical director at GoodRx, is sharing three questions you can ask yourself to help narrow down your options. And, for those looking for more information about birth control generally, a helpful resource is GoodRx’s Women’s Health Hub, where you can find extensive educational resources about birth control options and available savings.

1. Are you okay with making birth control part of your daily routine?

We all have that friend whose alarm goes off during every social gathering, reminding her to take her birth control. If you’re cool with joining her ranks, then the pill—the most common form of birth control—may be a good option for you. It’s been around for decades and has two main types: Combination pills that contain estrogen and progestin and mini pills that contain only progestin (like the first FDA-approved over-the-counter birth control pill, Opill). The pill is 99 percent effective—but only if you take it at the same time every day and don’t miss a dose, Dr. Vergnaud says. (Hence the alarm.)

By checking GoodRx, you could save an average of $43 on birth control medications, and find savings on common birth control pills such as Loestrin or Yaz. However, there are still other affordable options available to you if the daily reminder isn’t your thing. “If your lifestyle makes this challenging or you don’t want to have to think about contraception every day, consider an IUD or injection,” Dr. Vergnaud says.

A ring is another good set-it-and-forget it option. Try the monthly NuvaRing for as low as $48 a month via GoodRx, or the annual Annovera ring, which works out to $1 per day. No phone alarms necessary.

2. Are you worried about side effects?

You’ve most likely heard stories from friends (or experienced some yourself) about the potential uncomfortable side effects of birth control—ahem, headaches, nausea, mood changes, and breast tenderness. If you’re sensitive to these types of side effects, you may want to consider a non-hormonal or low-dose birth control option, such as Lo Loestrin Fe, which contains only 10 micrograms of daily estrogen. “From vaginal rings, to patches, IUDs, implants, and injections—you have many options,” Dr. Vergnaud says. “You’ll find something that works well for you.”

Talk to your health-care professional—whether that be a doctor or a pharmacist (yes, in 34 states and Washington D.C., pharmacists are allowed to prescribe birth control)—about your options.

3. Are you looking for contraception that doubles as treatment?

Birth control can do more than prevent pregnancy. “Some forms of contraception double up as treatment for a whole range of conditions—including hormonal acne, mood disorders, fibroids, and endometriosis,” Dr. Vergnaud says. “Depending on what other health concerns you’re trying to address, it may make sense to switch your contraception to maximize the benefits.”

The most common example of this is the pill, which can be prescribed to treat pain from periods, PCOS, and endometriosis, as well as to help clear up acne.

Bottom line: You don’t have to navigate the complicated world of contraception alone. Although figuring it out may not be an exact science, tapping GoodRx for info and savings—and working with your health-care professional—can help put you in control of your health care.

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