Contraception or birth control can help you prevent pregnancy if you are not ready to have a baby. There are different forms of contraceptives, and there is no particular method that suits everyone. Each birth control method has its pros and cons, and therefore you need to consider other factors such as convenience, efficacy, and affordability. If you are having a hard time choosing a form of contraceptive, your Laurel physician assistant can help in your selection process. The following elaborates on different hormonal contraceptives that you can choose from.
The implant is one of the most common and effective birth control methods. It is a narrow rod that your physician inserts in your upper arm in an office or a clinic. The implant releases the hormone progestin in your body, which the tissues absorb. It can offer up to 3 years of protection from pregnancy, but you can have your healthcare provider remove it earlier when you want to get pregnant. The good news is that fertility returns almost instantly after removing the implant.
Depending on when during your menstrual cycle you get the implant, you may or may not need to use a backup contraceptive such as a condom for at least seven days. Most women with implants have reported irregular bleeding as a common side effect.
Combined oral contraceptives contain synthetic estrogen and progesterone hormones. It works by suppressing ovulation and thinning the endometrial lining to reduce the likelihood of implantation. Combined pills also thicken the cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm penetration. Besides preventing pregnancy, combined oral contraceptives offer added benefits: reduced menstrual bleeding and reduced risk for anemia and ovarian and endometrial cancers.
Women who use combined pills may also experience a reduction in acne and menstrual cramping. When taken correctly, combined pills are highly effective. However, a significant downside to them is that you have to take them every day, and missing a day or two predisposes you to pregnancy. Like most contraceptives, combined pills cause side effects such as mild headache, nausea, spotting, breast tenderness, and slight weight gain. Although rare, this form of birth control can cause significant side effects such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and venous thromboembolism.
A vaginal ring is made out of flexible plastic, and its method of action is similar to combined pills. As the name suggests, the ring is placed inside the vagina. How you put it is not essential, considered you feel comfortable and your partner does not feel it during sexual intercourse. Inserting and removing the ring is a straightforward process that you can do by yourself. Specialists recommend leaving the ring inside for three weeks and removing it on the fourth week when you experience bleeding.
Depending on the brand type of your ring, you can reuse or replace it. Its side effects are similar to those of combined oral contraceptives, including breast tenderness, nausea, mild headache, and slight weight gain. Symptoms such as nausea, breast tenderness, bloating, and mood changes improve during the first three months.
If you need help choosing a contraceptive method, consult with your doctor today at Capital Women’s Care.