Whether you want to prevent pregnancy or are interested in contraception for another reason, there are several birth control methods open to you that you should learn about before speaking with your gynecologist. Below is a general guide to contraception methods so you can be prepared to discuss them in depth with your OB-GYN.
Contraceptive methods prevent ovulation and prevent sperm from reaching the eggs. There are six popular, effective types of birth control that are available: pills, implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), injections, vaginal rings, and patches, all of which are more than 90% effective. Hormonal pills are taken at the same time every day, and a dose cannot be missed. An implant, like Nexplanon®, is inserted just below the skin on your arm, and it releases hormones for up to 5 years, effectively preventing pregnancy. IUDs, such as Mirena®, are inserted in your uterus. Vaginal rings are worn in the vagina, where the hormones they release are absorbed. An injection, such as the Depo-Provera® shot, prevents ovulation and is needed roughly every three months. With a patch, you apply a new one each week for three weeks, take a week off, and then repeat.
All methods offer different benefits. Birth control pills and patches are 91% effective at preventing pregnancy, make your periods lighter, reduce period symptoms (especially cramping), make you less likely to develop an ectopic pregnancy, and can limit acne, cysts, feminine cancers, and anemia. IUDs are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy; injections are 94% effective, and they can reduce the frequency of your periods and the likelihood of uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancy.
No form of pregnancy prevention mentioned above prevents sexually transmitted diseases, and all of them come with side effects, from headaches and breast pain (implants) to pain and worsened periods (IUDs) to rare but serious complications (any hormonal method). With pills, patches, rings, and injections, the primary disadvantage is forgetting to take birth control. Some methods, such as the injection, also prevent pregnancy for a while after you discontinue them. Cost can be a factor as well, with implants and IUDs costing upwards of $1,000. The best way to decide what’s right for you is to speak with your OB-GYN specialist, who will help you consider affordability and safety.
Are you ready to discuss your birth control options with an experienced gynecologist? Talk to the team at Greece Obstetrics and Gynecology in Rochester, NY, about contraception. Serving the Monroe County community for over 30 years, the staff of skilled professionals offer complete female care for women aged 12 and up, including advanced robotic surgeries, contraception, STD testing, and family planning. Plus, they now offer evening hours to better serve their patients. Learn more about their services online, and call (585) 225-6680 to schedule a consultation today.