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Types of Prescription Contraception methods:

Types of Prescription Contraception methods:

When most people think of birth control, they automatically think of pills; however, there are several other options available when it comes to contraception. Whether you are suffering from heavy painful periods or you are simply trying to prevent pregnancy, birth control may be for you! At All Care for Women, we are here to help navigate you through the process of choosing the best birth control method for you.

INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)

An IUD is a T-shaped device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus by a trained healthcare professional. The device comes in two forms: copper-based and hormonal-based. Although both work in different ways, they are both effective forms of long-acting reversible  contraception.

The hormonal-based IUDs releases a hormone called levonorgestrel which is a form of progesterone. This hormone thins the lining of the uterus and in turn prevents implantation. In addition to preventing pregnancy, this IUD significantly lightens a woman’s period. Overtime, women typically stop getting a period all together. This is a great option for women who have heavy painful periods! This particular IUD is effective for up to 6 years, but can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired.

The copper-based IUD, Paragard, does not contain any hormones. The IUD itself is wrapped in a medical grade  copper that acts as a deterrent for sperm and thickens cervical mucus. In turn, this prevents fertilization and acts as a great form of contraception. Because it does not contain any hormones, it will not alter your menstrual cycle. Therefore, if you are someone who suffers from heavy painful periods this IUD may not be the best option for you. In some cases, it can actually make a woman’s period heavier and more painful. This particular IUD is effective for up to 10 years, but can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired.

Although different, both IUDs are effective and proven to work. They offer contraception that's over 99% effective and in turn one of the most reliable forms of birth control.

Nexplanon

Nexplanon is a small flexible plastic rod that is inserted under the skin in the non-dominant upper arm. This implant releases a type of progesterone, etonogestrel, which prevents ovulation. This form of contraception is good for 3 years but can be removed at anytime if pregnancy is desired. Similar to the IUD’s, this form of birth control offers contraception that's over 99% effective.

Nexplanon is a good option for period control because it significantly lightens bleeding and cramping. However, vaginal bleeding can be unpredictable at times with the implant.

Depo-Provera Shot

Depo-Provera is an intramuscular hormonal injection that is given in the arm or the buttocks. This hormone prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. The effects of the injection last up to 12 weeks; therefore, repeat injections are required every 3 months.

Most women who use Depo-Provera stop getting a period all together. In turn, this option is great for those who have heavy painful periods and are looking for relief. However, it is very important to note that your return to fertility can take up to a year after stopping these injections. This is different from Mirena, Paragard, and Nexplanon as those options can result in pregnancy almost immediately upon removal. This is something to consider before initiating this type of contraception.

Birth Control Pills

There are several different types of birth control pills that act as both contraception methods and menses regulation. Some have a combination of estrogen and progesterone and others are just progesterone. The pills prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation. In order to be effective, the pills must be taken at the same time daily. This may be challenging for some busy women, therefore other options may be more appropriate.

If women are able to take the pills daily as prescribed, predictable and lighter vaginal bleeding generally occurs. Although all oral birth control pills work the same way to prevent pregnancy, they are not all equal. Considering this, if you develop any side effects or cannot tolerate the pills we can simply try another one.

NuvaRing

NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina by the patient herself. This ring releases a combination of estrogen and progesterone in order to prevent ovulation, thicken the cervical mucus, and in turn prevent pregnancy. The ring must be changed out every three weeks in order to ensure contraception. The ring is generally removed for one week at a time, which will in turn trigger a period to occur. When a woman does get her menses with the Nuvaring it is generally lighter, more manageable, and predictable. Therefore, this form of contraception is appropriate for those looking for better period control. At the start of the fourth week a new ring is then inserted and the cycle starts over again. Lastly, it is important to store the unused rings in the refrigerator or at room temperature. If the ring falls below room temperature then it will no longer be effective at preventing pregnancy.

Annovera

Similar to the Nuvaring, Annovera is also a flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina by the patient herself. However, the main difference is one single ring is good for an entire 12 months as opposed to the Nuvaring which must be changed out every 3 weeks.

It is advised that you keep the ring in for 3 consecutive weeks and then remove the ring for the fourth week. By removing the ring for a week, a period typically follows. At the start of the fifth week you are to rinse the ring off with soap and water and then re-insert the same ring back into the vagina to start the cycle over again. After 12 full cycles, or months, a brand new ring must be ordered and inserted. When women get their periods with this ring they tend to be predictable, lighter, more manageable.

This ring is a combination of progesterone and estrogen and is effective at preventing pregnancy by preventing ovulation. Because this is an annual ring, this option may be more convenient for those who have a busy schedule, travel a lot, or are unable to make it to the pharmacy several times per year.

Xulane (Contraception Patch)

Xulane is a prescription birth control patch that can be applied to a woman’s upper outer arm, back, lower abdomen, or buttocks. Patients should avoid application on the breasts, groin, face, areas of skin irritation, or opened wounds. This patch releases both estrogen and progesterone into the skin which prevents ovulation and as a result prevents pregnancy. The patch contains enough hormones to be released over an entire week. Considering this, the patch must be changed out weekly for three weeks in a row. The fourth week is a patch free week, which in turn triggers a period. When women get their periods with the patch they tend to be lighter, more manageable, and predictable.

In order to be effective, one must continue to check the patch to ensure it is adequately adhered to the skin. If part of the patch peels off, it will no longer work to prevent pregnancy. If this happens, an entire new patch should be applied. Because this adheres to the skin directly, one of the most common side effects is skin irritation. If this occurs, it is recommended that the patch be removed and a different form of contraception be considered.

 

If you are interested in hearing more about these options or want further direction as to what form would be appropriate for you, call our office today at (716) 634-9303 for a consultation!

Author
Taylore Passero PA-C

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