Birth Control: What are my options?
There is a lot to consider when deciding which type of birth control to choose. Convenience, possible side effects, effectiveness, cost, accessibility, and other factors are all significant when making the choice. It’s very much a personal decision, and you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons. Here is a quick look at the different options.
Oral contraceptive: Commonly referred to as “the pill,” this type of birth control needs to be taken every day. It contains progestin and/or estrogen. Some side effects may include nausea, vaginal spotting, and bloating.
Skin patch: Similar to the pill, a skin patch contains progestin and estrogen hormones that are released into the bloodstream. The patch can be placed on the upper arm, shoulder, upper back or hip, and is changed weekly with the exception of the week your menstrual period occurs. The side effects are similar to those of the pill.
Vaginal ring: This is a thin, flexible ring that you insert into the vagina for three weeks releasing hormones that become absorbed into the body. You remove the ring the fourth week when you menstruate. A new ring is inserted every cycle and can be removed for a couple of hours, as needed, for sexual activity. Side effects also include increased vaginal secretions, mood changes and bloating.
Birth control injection: Done in a medical office, this is a long-lasting injection administered once every three months. It is very common for women to stop getting their periods if they receive the injection for over a year. Periods generally return within six months of the last injection. Therefore, it is not recommended for women hoping to get pregnant the year after using it.
Implant: This single-rod progestin implant is inserted under the skin in the upper arm area. It becomes effective within 24 hours and can help prevent pregnancy for at least three years. Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect.
Intrauterine device (IUD): IUDs are T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus that can last five to 10 years. There is a copper-containing version that does not contain hormones and is effective for up to 10 years. The hormone-releasing IUD can last up to eight years, and may decrease the pain associated with menstrual cycles.
Barrier methods: These forms of contraceptive create a barrier that prevent sperm from entering the uterus. This includes condoms and spermicides.
Your healthcare provider can offer guidance and answer questions when it comes to choosing the right type of birth control. If you have questions on what type of birth control is right for you, please schedule an appointment with our office at 307-634-5216.
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