NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The birth control pill has been the most prescribed contraceptive for decades. New research and science have led to several newer options for reversible birth control methods, both internal and external. Options such as a patch that is worn and also some hormone-free methods.

Dr. Tessa Madden, Yale Medicine’s chief of family planning, shared information on some of the more recently approved options.

Annovera, a relatively new contraceptive vaginal ring, can be reused for one year with a monthly removal option. Its effective rate is high, and its appeal is broad.

“Any age group can use this, from teenagers all the way up to women who are approaching menopause,” Madden said.

A new contraceptive patch worn on the body called Twirla contains a hormone combination like the birth control pill.

“The patch is also a good option for patients, particularly for people who might have trouble remembering to take a pill every day,” Madden said. “The patch has to be changed every week.”

She points out that this patch is not recommended for overweight or obese patients.

The birth control pill remains the most prescribed contraceptive in the U.S. Since it was approved by the FDA in 1960, it’s been used by more than 300 million women worldwide.

There are some newer pill options, such as Nexstellis.

“Which actually has a different estrogen in it, and there are some thoughts that that estrogen might carry fewer potential risks,” Madden explained. She said fewer risks for things like blood clots, but she points out that the FDA labeling shows it has risks similar to other pills.

A new birth control pill named Slynd does not contain estrogen, which Madden said makes it safer for women with those risk issues and smokers over 35.

For women who want a hormone-free birth control option, there is a vaginal gel called Phexxi, which has properties to decrease sperm mobility.

“So that has to be used before intercourse, about an hour before intercourse, and at every intercourse,” Madden said.

Since it is only 86% effective, Madden said Pfexxi is best for women who do not have sex daily.

IUDs, which are implanted for years sometimes, are effective and increasingly popular and can prevent periods. Paraguard is a hormone-free copper IUD.

“Copper seems to have a spermicidal effect,” Madden said. “It interferes with fertilization of a woman’s egg.”

The doctor said IUDs are now approved for all reproductive ages.

“People don’t have to do anything to maintain the high level of effectiveness. These can be great options for busy young people who might have difficulty remembering to take a pill every day.”

Women should talk with their doctors about the risks of some birth control methods.

Madden is encouraged by positive research on reversible birth control methods for men in the pipeline beyond condoms. One option involves pills.