9 Effective Non-hormonal Birth Control Methods For Women

non hormonal birth control

In this article, we’ll share some prominent non-hormonal birth control options for women.


For some women taking birth control pills and other forms of hormonal contraceptives are not conducive. This could be due to allergies, health concerns such as high blood pressure/blood clots/heart, liver, gallbladder disease/age over 35 years and a smoker, etc, or breastfeeding. For such females, non-hormonal birth control options exist. These are cost-effective as well as great for pregnancy protection. In the below-given post, we will discuss the non-hormonal birth control options that women can use.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control

1. Barrier Methods 

Barrier birth control methods are required to be used only during intercourse. These stop the sperm from entering the uterus. Also, such a contraceptive option has fewer side effects than hormonal birth control methods. For the best result, these methods have to be used correctly every time. Below, we have discussed a few barrier methods to protect against unwanted pregnancy.

1.1. Male Condom

Condoms are the most inexpensive form of barrier birth control products. These are non-hormonal contraceptives and effective to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. A condom can also protect against the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. It protects pregnancy by disallowing semen from entering the vagina. The success rate of condoms is between 85% and 98% when used correctly. You do not need a prescription to go get a condom.

  • However, a condom is not as effective as other forms of birth control. Also, men allergic to latex must find alternative methods for pregnancy prevention.
  • Non-latex condoms are also available. Some couples may find that condoms limit sensation and make intercourse less enjoyable.
  • You may also require more lubricant when using a condom. You should choose silicone or a water-soluble one rather than an oil-based lubricant, or it may break the latex condom.

1.2. Female Condom

A female condom like the male counterpart can also protect against pregnancy and the spread of STIs. It is a thin, strong, and protective covering. The product has two rings on each side. This holds the condom in place. When used correctly, the female condom is effective 79% to 95%. A condom has no hormones, inexpensive (but twice as much the cost of a male condom), and available without a prescription.

  • You can insert the female condom before intercourse for up to 6 hours.
  • Some couples may experience a reduced feeling. Others may need more lubricant.
  • If you are allergic to latex, then choose condoms made from other safe materials.

1.3. Spermicide

Spermicide is available in different forms such as suppository, gel, and cream. It has an efficacy rate of 72%. But the success rate increases when used with the diaphragm or cervical cap. Before intercourse, you need to place a spermicide inside the vagina. It helps to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. It is easy to use contraceptive methods. Also, it is inexpensive and available without a prescription. It may have a few rare side effects such as allergic reaction or irritation.

1.4. Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a silicone cup, which is small and flexible. It does not release hormones. But for better efficacy, it must be used with spermicide. You have to insert this into your vagina. This will cover the cervix. You should also put spermicide on the edges of a diaphragm before its insertion. If the diaphragm is used correctly every single time, it is 88% to 94% effective.  Reduced efficacy could be due to incorrect use where people do not follow the directions precisely.

You must get a diaphragm on a prescription. Also, it is the doctor who has to fit it. Each device is usable for up to 2 years. Once it is inserted properly, then both the partners do not feel it during intercourse. Do remember that diaphragm does not protect against STDs. Also, it is unsuitable for use during menstruation.

1.5. The Sponge

A sponge is a birth control product made from plastic foam. You have to insert it in your vagina before intercourse. It contains spermicide and a nylon loop, making it easy to remove later. A sponge does not require a prescription. You can get one for yourself from any pharmacy. The sponge works to prevent pregnancy by stopping the sperm from entering the uterus. It covers the cervix and releases spermicide that immobilizes sperm.

  • However, the sponge is most effective in women who have never been pregnant before than those who have already experienced pregnancy.
  • The efficacy rate in women who have already given is 88%, while for women who have not given birth yet, the efficacy is 91%. 
  • For the best effect, you must use it regularly and accurately.

You can use one sponge only once. After this, you must discard it into the trash but not flush it down the toilet. A sponge also carries an increased risk of toxic shock syndrome and yeast infection. Thus, you must not leave it in your vagina for over 30 hours. Or it can cause allergic reactions or vaginal dryness, which are also two of the rare side effects.

1.6. Cervical Cap

A cervical cap fits into a woman’s vagina. It is smaller than a diaphragm but has a similar function. It is a small silicone cup and fits over the cervix. The success rate of cervical caps is 71% in women who have already undergone vaginal delivery. The success rate is 86% in women who have never given birth. This method is non-hormonal. You need to insert the cervical cap before intercourse.

  • This birth control cap is reusable for up to 2 years.
  • To improve the protective quality of this product, you must use a spermicidal gel along. 
  • You must not use it during periods. This cup should e fitted by a doctor. 
  • You will require a prescription to purchase a cervical cap.

2. Permanent Methods

There are safe and effective birth control solutions. These are long-term and permanent. Some of these options are given below.

2.1. Sterilization

If you do not want to get pregnant anymore, then you can get sterilization done. This involves surgery and is difficult to reverse. For females, the surgical procedure involves tubal ligation. For men, permanent sterilization includes vasectomy surgery. This birth control method could be 100% effective if done correctly. Even if it fails, only 2 women may get pregnant out of 1000 females. Remember that sterilization does not stop the spread of STIs and STDs.

  • There is also a sterilization method available, wherein no surgery is required. It is a tiny spring-like uterine device, which is free of the hormone.
  • The doctor can fit it easily in the vagina on each of the fallopian tubes, without general anesthesia.
  • The mesh substance of the device causes inflammation of the fallopian tubes. This causes the tubes to permanently block and scar over a period of time.
  • After placement of this type of IUD, in some cases, females may experience changes in periods or allergic reaction to the device’s metal or cramping. But, such effects are not common.

2.2. Non-Hormonal IUD

An intrauterine device or IUD works up to 10 years. There are hormonal IUDs as well as non-hormonal IUDs. And here we will talk about the latter. The doctor inserts the device in the uterus and it takes only a few minutes to do so. This is a highly effective form of birth control. The thin copper wire of the IUD releases small amounts of copper in the uterus. This helps to prevent sperm from getting past the cervix.

  • A non-hormonal IUD is a long-lasting contraceptive, and completely reversible. You can get it removed by the doctor when you want to get pregnant.
  • Many women prefer the IUD because they do not have to constantly remind or worry about using hormonal birth control. 
  • Remember than an IUD does not protect against STDs. It may also have a few side effects such as spotting between periods, heavier bleeding, and cramping during menstruation.

To Conclude

The above-mentioned non-hormonal birth control methods are safe and effective. It is your personal choice as to which one to use. However, you may want to consult a physician to understand which could be the most suitable one as per your health, preference, and lifestyle.