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Our Doctor-Nurse teams work with women to educate and empower them to make the best health decisions possible.
Our Doctor-Nurse teams work with women to educate and empower them to make the best health decisions possible.
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Birth Control 101

By Connie Masak, APNP

 

Navigating birth control options and finding what is right for you and your partner can be a confusing, even overwhelming process. You’ve read all the articles about risks, benefits and side effects, but how do you know what is right for you? I like to ask patients these simple questions to learn more about their needs and priorities.

 

– Do you think that you would like to have children/more children at some point?

– When do you think that might be? What is your timeline?

– How important is pregnancy prevention until then?

 

With these answers in mind, we can explore the many birth control options. Keep in mind that birth control can require trial and error. You can always try a different method once you see how your body reacts.

If pregnancy prevention is of utmost importance, consider the following options:

 

Abstinence 100% effective
Sterilization/Vasectomy 99% effective – less than 1/100 pregnancies
IUD hormonal/non-hormonal 99% effective – less than 1/100 pregnancies
Implant (arm) 99% effective – less than 1/100 pregnancies
Depo injection 94% effective – 6/100 pregnancies
Hormone (pill, patch, ring) 91% effective – 6-9/100 pregnancies
Morning-after pill 89% effective if taken in a timely manner
Condom male/female 71% effective
Spermicide/film/suppository 71% effective
Sponge 76-88% effective
Fertility Awareness 76-88% effective
Withdrawal 12-24/100 pregnancies

 

If you need something easy to use, no hassle, or if you are just worried that you will forget from day to day, these are the options you should consider:

 

IUD No maintenance required and lasts 5-10 years
Implant No maintenance required and lasts 3 years
Abstinence No maintenance required
Withdrawal Low effectiveness but no maintenance required
Sterilization No maintenance – this is a permanent option and not meant for anyone who plans to have children in the future

 

Many women suffer from cramping and pain during periods and look to birth control to help relieve some of those symptoms. The following options can be used both for birth control and period management:

 

Hormone (pill, patch, ring) Shorter, lighter periods, less cramping
IUD (5 year only) Can make periods go away or light, occasional spotting
Implant (arm) 50% of women have no period or irregular spotting
Depo injection Can make periods go away

 

If you need an immediate form of birth control, the following options are readily available at the pharmacy without a visit to your provider:

 

Condoms, spermicides, film, suppositories Must be used before intercourse
Sponge Must be used before intercourse
Morning-after pill Must be used in a timely manner after intercourse

 

The following options require a visit to your provider:

 

Implant (arm) Must be inserted by your provider
IUD (hormonal and non-hormonal) Must be inserted by your provider
Depo injection Must be inserted by your provider
Ring Must be inserted by your provider
Patch Must be prescribed by your provider
Pill Must be prescribed by your provider
Sterilization This is an out-patient surgery done at the hospital
Vasectomy This is an in-office surgery

 

The following options are non-hormonal. If you are worried about the side-effects of hormonal birth control, you should consider these options:

 

Condom Available at the pharmacy
Sterilization This is an out-patient surgery done at the hospital
Copper IUD Must be inserted by your provider
Sponge Available at the pharmacy
Spermicide Available at the pharmacy
Fertility Awareness This requires tracking cycles and there are apps that can assist with this

 

Before choosing the option you feel is best for you, talk with your partner so that you are both on the same page and make that decision together.

You can discuss any of these methods with your provider, as well as choosing the best choice based on your history. We recommend that you visit a Women’s Health Specialists provider on a yearly basis. We might not do a pap, but we can listen to any concerns that you might have. Come ready with questions, that’s what we are here for!

To make an appointment, please call (920) 749-4000.


Posted By Women's Health Specialists on October 17, 2018

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