Taking Control of Your Birth Control
You need a reliable, safe, hassle-free method of contraception. Thanks to developments in contraceptive technology, women have more choices than ever when it comes to contraception and family planning.
The birth control pill remains at the top of the list of birth control options. Pills are synthetic combinations of the two primary female hormones- estrogen and progesterone. Oral contraceptives have been around since the 1950’s, but today’s “Pill” contains much lower doses of estrogen, thereby decreasing side effects while preventing pregnancy. With oral contraceptives, you can opt for a shorter, lighter period by choosing a pill that has a dose pack containing 24 hormonal pills with 4 placebos. Or you can opt to say ‘goodbye’ to your menstrual cycle for several months since there are pills that allow a period only 4 times a year. For women who suffer from severe cycles or menstrual migraines, these pills add quality days to each month.
The biggest ‘downside’ of the birth control pill is the fact that you must remember to take it at approximately the same time each day.
IUD (INTRA-UTERINE DEVICE)
Due to a specific IUD used in the 1970’s that caused serious side effects, all IUD’s developed a bad reputation. However, there are two safe and effective IUD’s to choose from today. Both types of IUD’s are inserted during an in-office procedure and effectively prevent pregnancy by interrupting the movement of sperm. The Paraguard uses copper as its method of action, and is effective for up to 10 years. The Mirena slowly releases progesterone into your uterus and can remain in place for about 5 years.
Nexplanon is the ‘newest’ of all forms of birth control. Nexplanon is a single flexible rod, measuring about the size of a matchstick, that is inserted just under the skin of the upper arm during a quick in-office procedure. Nexplanon releases a small dose of the hormone progesterone that provides reliable birth control for up to 3 years.
Depo-Provera is an injection of the hormone progesterone. It is given intra-muscularly into the upper arm or hip, preventing pregnancy for 12 weeks. It is a safe and effective method of birth control but requires a visit to our office every three months.
Nuvaring is a flexible 5 centimeter ring that you insert into your vagina yourself, where it remains for 21 days. Then, you remove it for seven ‘ring-free’ days while you have your period. The Nuvaring releases the same hormones as the birth control pill, estrogen and progesterone, into your body via the tissue of the vagina.
“The Patch” is a square 1 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch “band-aid” that can be worn on the outer area of the forearm, on your back shoulder area, or “hidden” below your bikini line. The patch contains estrogen and progesterone which is absorbed into your system through your skin. You wear one patch per week for three weeks, then go “patchless” for one week.
The barrier method requires almost no pre-planning, except for purchasing your barrier of choice ahead of time. Types of barriers include male condoms, female condoms, spermicides, cervical caps, contraceptive sponges and diaphragms. Male condoms are the most common and, on average, are effective 85 times out of 100.
Permanent methods of birth control are effected by surgically closing the fallopian tubes in a woman (commonly referred to as “getting the tubes tied”, or medically as tubal ligation) and/or the tubes that carry sperm in a man (vasectomy).
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
The most high-maintenance and risky of all methods, Natural Family Planning (NFP) requires a woman to pay close attention to her body, keeping track of her body temperature and cervical mucus daily to track ovulation. During each period of ovulation – usually seven to 10 days in length – abstinence is imperative.
We look forward to helping you select the contraceptive that best meets your needs and providing the education and healthcare services necessary for safe, effective birth control.