There are numerous good contraceptive options available today, including:
Birth control pills
Taken daily, birth control pills employ a mixture of hormones—estrogen and progesterone—to stop the ovaries from producing eggs and to thicken the cervical mucus, preventing sperm from entering the uterus. Used correctly, birth control pills are 99% effective.
Condoms prevent pregnancy by keeping the egg and sperm from meeting and can be provided and worn by both men and women. They can help prevent sexually transmitted diseases and infections. There are both male and female condoms.
This is a small, flexible ring which also employs the hormones estrogen and progesterone and, like birth control pills, prevents ovaries from releasing eggs while simultaneously thickening the cervical membrane to block sperm. The ring can also change the lining of the uterus, making it more difficult for eggs to attach. Inserted into the vagina, the ring is effective for 3 to 4 weeks and, used correctly, is 99% effective.
Birth control implant
A small plastic rod, about the size of a matchstick, is placed under the patient’s skin, usually on the arm, and releases a progesterone-like hormone. The implant can last up to 3 years and, used correctly, is 99% effective. It can be removed by a trained provider at any time.
Birth control injection
Also known as Depo or Depo-Provera, this is administered via injection in the patient’s arm or buttocks. It lasts up to 3 months and is 99.7% effective.
Intrauterine device or IUD
A small, T-shaped object, inserted through the cervix and placed in the uterus. This is easily and quickly done by a trained provider (and can be removed, at any time, also by a trained provider).
Two main types of IUD are common:
- Non-hormonal IUD, “Copper T,” or ParaGard, which can last up to 10 years. It does not contain hormones. Women continue to have periods with this device. More information can be found here.
- Progesterone containing IUD’s: There are two types and they both contain a small amount of progesterone, which can lighten your period and decrease menstrual cramping.
– Mirena can last up to 5 years or http://www.mirena-us.com/index.php
– Skyla can last up to 3 years. http://www.skyla-us.com/index.php
Your Mill Creek Family Practice provider can help you decide on which method will best meet your contraceptive needs. You should consider your options carefully, and make sure you understand its risks and benefits, and all of the alternatives fully, before you make a decision about what’s right for you. You can also discuss more permanent options with your Mill Creek Family Practice medical provider.