“Dr. Fernandez was patient in explaining all the sorts of birth control methods available. She seamlessly inserted my IUD and i’ve never felt more comfortable with a doctor before.”
Emily, Boca Raton, FL
Choosing a Birth Control Option
Deciding on a birth control option that fits your medical condition and lifestyle can be challenging as there are many options and have their own pros and cons.
The objective of this article is to present information that will help you decide with your physician which method is best for you.
Birth Control Method Reliability
- Tubal ligation and IUD’s are the least dependent on patient participation and are therefore the most reliable.
- Hormonal methods which are injected every few months are next.
- Oral contraceptives, hormone containing rings and patches are less reliable because they depend on correct usage.
- Other methods such as diaphragms, condoms and withdrawal are associated with much higher pregnancy rates.
The Many Things To Think About
When choosing a contraceptive method, you should discuss with you provider any medical condition that you may have. You should also discuss how long you want to use the contraceptive, cost, reversibility, safety, timing of next pregnancy and possible and effect on your menstrual flow.
Preventing Pregnancy For Less Than A Year
The pills of course are given orally and are highly effective if taken as directed (less than one out of hundred users will become pregnant if taken for one year). The actual rate is closer to 9 of 100 people using the pill over one year. Other benefits of oral contraceptives include less pain and quantity flow with periods that are lighter and more predictable. For women that are in the early stages of menopause oral contraceptives may help with hot flashes.
Side effects may include nausea vomiting and weight gain but most people do not experience effects severe enough to discontinue the pill. A rare but important side effect of the pill is blood clots in the blood vessels and this is most common in older patient and smokers. This should be discussed at length with your doctor at your appointment.
Vaginal rings and patches
The contraceptive vaginal ring is a small flexible ring that contains hormones and is released over time. It is applied only once monthly making it easier to remember.
Patches are applied to the skin two to three times weekly also making them more convenient.
The patches and ring share similar potential side effects as oral contraceptives.
Depo-Provera injections are good for women that have trouble remembering to take their medications.
However, patients tend to experience more problems with weight gain and irregular bleeding, application at the doctor’s office is required every three months, and the effect may last longer than the anticipated 3 months.
Condoms, diaphragms, sponges, and cervical caps
Condoms, diaphragms, sponges and cervical caps are all barrier methods of birth control.
These options are best for people who do not want or cannot tolerate hormonal methods. Also, they help prevent sexually transmitted diseases and I recommend use of condoms with all persons that may be exposed to sexually transmitted infections.
Preventing Pregnancy For More Than a Year
If you are interested in birth control for more than a year or two you may consider the above-mentioned methods or you may want to consider the longer acting and more reliable long term methods.
If you are looking for a permanent solution, outpatient sterilization or office sterilization is a good choice. There is practically no downtime and the pregnancy rate per year of use is less than 1%
Outpatient sterilization usually involves three small incisions, one of which is hidden in the naval area. The patient is usually sent home the same day and may return to work in a few days.
Office sterilization is a procedure in which small implants are placed in the fallopian tubes. This is an office procedure with no general anesthesia and essentially no down time. I have had excellent results with this procedure although you should speak to your doctor about the pros and cons of this procedure .
The levonorgestrel implant is inserted under the skin, lasts up to 3 years, and is very reliable as the pregnancy rate is less than 1 per 100 women per year.
You may experience lighter or irregular periods or spotting and because it must be inserted, there is a small risk of scarring and infection.
Intrauterine devices are one of the most reliable forms of birth control methods with less than 1% pregnancy rate per year.
IUDs are now approved for almost any age group and various kinds are available.
The Benefits of IUDs
- The discomfort of heavy or painful periods can be reduced
- Busy women don't have to remember to take a daily pill.
- IUDs are easy to remove if you change your mind or want to be fertile again.
- Various kinds are available
- May last 3-5 years
The rate of complications is very low with IUDs but may include uterine perforation and infection .
Pembroke Pines Gynecology & Obstetrics
New Day Women's, is dedicated to providing quality obstetrics and gynecological services in Pembroke Pines. Contact us today at 954-404-8664 for more information.
New Days Women’s Care & Wellness accepts almost all insurance plans for added convenience and peace of mind. Her office is open late so you can easily schedule an appointment in the evenings or after work. Appointments are available within two weeks of your call and usually take approximately 20 minutes.