Hormonal birth control (or contraception) is a way for you to temporarily alter your reproductive cycle. The synthetic hormones in birth control are similar to actual hormones in your body, and keep it from going through the time-to-conceive process every month. All in all, they make becoming unexpectedly pregnant a lot less likely. Certain types of hormonal birth control also have the added benefit of reducing some of the uncomfortable symptoms you may get around your period, and can make your period lighter and more regular.
Hormonal birth control isn’t permanent. You can keep taking it indefinitely, switch methods or stop using it if you wish to have a child. Some types of hormonal birth control are better for specific health issues or age ranges, so it’s good to check in with a doctor every now and then to make sure your birth control is still right for you.
Hormonal contraception is only available by prescription in the US. A doctor will help you narrow down the best option because there are quite a few out there, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal.