• TheGyn Guru

Let's discuss birth control options..

It's always good to have options. There are many pros and cons to each method of contraception, so review the info below and then go discuss with your OBGYN which one is best for you.







Condoms

  • Condoms are great for helping to prevent the spread of STDs, but they are certainly not anywhere near 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. The biggest problem with them is you to have to rely on someone else to use them correctly.


  • Condoms should be used to prevent STDs, but also in conjunction with a good method of birth control if you really don't want to get pregnant.







"The pill"


  • The birth control pill is one of the best things ever invented. Truly life-changing for women.

  • Unfortunately, it's also one of the most misunderstood things ever invented. (Why does it get blamed for everything?)

  • The pill actually does "balance your hormones", which is a beautiful thing.

  • The way it works for birth control is that it prevents you from ovulating, or releasing an egg every month

  • You have to take it every day - actually swallow it down - every day at the same time. That's the only way it works. You absolutely must start the pill pack on time - if you start it late, you may ovulate.

  • If you forget to take a pill, now that will cause your hormone levels to drop, and then you will have breakthrough bleeding and feel moody.

  • It doesn't cause weight gain. It just doesn't. Seriously, it's not the pill.

  • It's great for clearing up acne, but it can also decrease your sex drive. (It doesn't make sex painful or prevent you from enjoying sex - you just may find you think about sex less often.)



If you know you won't be great about taking a pill everyday at the same time, there are other great options...





"The PATCH"


  • You just need to remember to change this once every week

  • Usually wear this on your butt, underwear would cover it up

  • You can get it wet - it should not fall off in shower or pool

  • The patch works the same way as the birth control pill. The hormones just get absorbed through your skin, rather than through your stomach.

  • The biggest complaint is skin irritation, so change the spot where you place it every week.




Nuvaring


  • It's a flexible plastic ring inserted into the vagina

  • Leave in place x 3 weeks

  • Leave out for one week and get period, or just replace every 3 weeks to skip periods

  • Also works same way as birth control pill, but hormones absorbed through skin rather than stomach

  • It may cause some increased vaginal discharge, but it's just mucous

  • It can be irritating when left in for sex - so OK to remove ring for up to 3 hours, then just replace it





Nexplanon


  • It's a small plastic rod inserted just under the skin in your arm, near the biceps muscle

  • Effective birth control for 3 years

  • Contains only progesterone (no estrogen)

  • It does make periods lighter, but biggest complaint is frequent, light spotting








IUDs

These are T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus during an office visit


Different brands:

  1. Mirena - best for women with heavy periods, since it significantly lightens periods

  2. Kyleena, Skyla, Liletta - smaller and easier to insert, so best for women that haven't had children yet

  3. Paragard - it's the "hormone-free" one, but it can make periods heavier






Depo-Provera shot


  • You have to come into doctor's office every 3 months for a shot in your arm or butt

  • Contains progesterone only (no estrogen)

  • There can be a lot of irregular bleeding for the first 3 months, but then your period usually goes away altogether after 2nd shot

  • This can cause weight gain, so you must be careful with healthy diet and exercise






Permanent Birth Control

...When you never, ever, never-ever want a(nother) baby


Two options:

  1. Tubal ligation - get portions of or all of your fallopian tubes removed. This is surgery, done in an operating room, under anesthesia, with a 2-week recovery period.

  2. Send your partner for a vasectomy. He would go see a urologist for a relatively quick and easy office procedure. He might complain a bit, but he'll just need to take it easy for a day or two.

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  • Although both procedures have a small failure rate (we never say anything is 100% guaranteed), you should consider these to be permanent procedures. It is difficult to have them "reversed" and not always successful.

  • Consider an IUD if you are not 100% sure you are done having babies.








It's always good to have options. There are many pros and cons to each method of contraception, so go discuss with your OBGYN which one is best for you.






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