Today, women have many different options to choose from when it comes to their individual contraception needs. If you want to take a birth control pill, there are dozens to choose from. If you are not a consistent pill taker, then possibly the you may want to consider other options such as the vaginal ring or the contraceptive patch.

 

Contraception

In addition to understanding your lifestyle and overall contraceptive needs, we also help you understand HOW contraception works in your body; WHAT the side effects are; WHY some options may work better than others. Remember, just because one type of contraception worked for your girlfriend, does not mean it will necessarily work for you. Each woman’s body is different, so each woman’s response is different.

We give you the facts regarding your health, contraception, and any myths that you may have heard from your best friend’s sister’s mom’s neighbor’s co-worker. Correct information will decrease any concerns or questions. If you are unsure of something, PLEASE ASK YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. (The Internet will provide you with basic information, but it is your responsibility to bring your questions to your healthcare provider for the most accurate information. Otherwise, you may suffer from Internet-Hyperchondria-Syndrome).

Your have hormones circulating throughout your body every day. With contraception, the two most popular hormones are estrogen and progesterone. (In case you didn’t know, you also have male hormones circulating in your body such as testosterone).

Oral Contraception

Fancy way of saying “Birth Control Pills”. There are wide varieties of birth control pills that are available to you. Most contraceptive pills have two basic hormones, a synthetic estrogen and a progestin. Pills differ by the amount of hormone and the chemical formulation of each hormone. Some pills have a very low amount of estrogen and progestin while others have more. One birth control pill is taken daily by mouth. The hormones are then absorbed into the body through the digestive system.

One type of birth control pill is a monophasic pill which means that for the first three weeks of the month, there is the same amount of hormone in each pill. In the fourth week (the pills in this week do not typically have hormones in them), you have withdrawal bleeding.

Another type of birth control pill is the triphasic pill which means that each week of the packet, you will see a different color that signify a different amount of hormone for each week. This is designed to mimic the natural fluctuations that normally occur in your body during the month. The last week of pills have no hormones and is when you should have withdrawal bleeding.

A third type of birth control pill is the sequential pill which gives you the same amount of hormone for 90 sequential days. With this pill, the last week of pills in your pill pack have no hormones during which time you will have a period. This is a wonderful option for women who have endometriosis.

Ring

The vaginal ring is a flexible 2″ ring that is inserted vaginally once a month. The ring releases continuous hormones to prevent pregnancy. It is removed from your vagina after three weeks. A new ring must be inserted no more than 7 days later. (During the ring free week, you should have a period). www.nuvaring.com

The vaginal ring contains two types of hormones: a synthetic estrogen and progestin which are the same hormones that are found in birth control pills. With the vaginal ring, hormones are released once the ring comes in contact with your vagina. The hormones are absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body. When it is used correctly, it works as effectively as the birth control pills – 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Patch

The contraceptive patch is a once-a-week birth control patch. You apply a new patch for three weeks and then remove the patch on the fourth week. Three weeks on and one week off. You place the patch on one of four areas of your body (upper outer arm, abdomen, buttock and upper torso – excluding the breasts) and the hormones: estrogen and progestin are distributed throughout your body transdermally or through your skin. www.orthoevra.com

Injection

The Depo Provera (also known as DMPA or Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate) is a hormone injection that lasts for 12 weeks to prevent pregnancy. This injection contains no estrogen. It is usually given in the arm, hip, upper thigh, or upper thigh. Depo Provera works by stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs, thickening cervical mucus, and thinning the lining of your uterus.

You do have to make an appointment with your healthcare provider every 12 weeks to get the injection. It is a very reliable method of contraception. www.depoprovera.com

IUD

An intrauterine device or IUD is a small object that is inserted through your cervix and placed in your uterus. There are two types of IUDs (available in the United States):

  • Paragard T: A T-shaped piece of soft , flexible plastic wrapped with natural copper. It is hormone free, so it allows your body to cycle naturally. Because it is hormone free, you do not experience any of the hormonal side effects such as weight gain or mood swings. It’s effectiveness lasts up to 10 years. www.paraguard.com
  • Mirena: A progestin only method that delivers small amounts of hormones directly to the uterus. It is made of soft flexible plastic and inserted though your cervix and placed in your uterus. It’s effectiveness lasts up to 5 years. Mirena works continuously without the hassle of having to take a pill every day. www.mirena-us.com

Condoms

There are many types of condoms available. Most are made of latex rubber, but some are made from polyurethane or even animal tissue “natural skin.” They may be lubricated, ribbed or treated with spermicide. When used consistently and as directed, condoms are helpful in protecting you and your partner against Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning has also been called fertility awareness, the calendar method, the rhythm method or basal body temperature method. This method is based on being aware of your own menstrual cycle in order to determine when you are ovulating. Ovulation is when your ovary produces a mature egg – perfect for conception. By identifying when you ovulate, you can either have relations with your partner during this time if you are trying to conceive. If you are trying to avoid pregnancy, this is the time NOT to have relations with your partner.

Your body gives you signals when you are ovulating such as identifying changes in your cervical mucus and your basal body temperature during ovulation. www.irh.org/nfp.htm