Contraception: not just for pregnancy prevention
Contraception is the use of methods, medication or devices to prevent pregnancy. It provides individuals with control over their reproductive health and the ability to make decisions about if and when to have children. There are many different types of contraception available, each with their own benefits and risks. In this blog post, we’ll briefly discuss the various types of contraception, as well as some common added benefits beyond birth control.
Non-hormonal Methods: work by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Patients that do not want or have a medical contraindication to hormone exposure often choose these options. The fertility awareness based method can be taught to abstain from intercourse during the fertile window. Pregnancy rates range from 2-25% based on perfect and typical use. Condoms or barrier methods provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STI). The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is long-acting (FDA approved for up to 10 years) and can be used for emergency contraception. Vaginal gel (ex. Phexxi) can be used as needed.
Hormonal Methods: estrogen and progesterone combined can prevent ovulation (the release of an egg). Combined oral contraceptives or “the pill” have both estrogen and progesterone. They have several benefits such as regulation of the menstrual cycle (preventing heavy bleeding or pain). Reducing premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Decreasing acne. Even reducing the risk of ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancer. The patch and the vaginal ring also contain estrogen and progesterone. Risks of estrogen use include blood clots, so use of these methods are contraindicated in those at risk.
Other forms of hormonal contraception include the progesterone only pill taken daily, progesterone shot given every 3 months, progesterone rod (Nexplanon) safe for up to 3 years and the progesterone IUD.
Long-acting reversible contraceptive devices (LARC): prevent sperm from reaching the egg. LARC refers to IUDs and the implant. Both stay in place for several years. Both are highly effective with a less than 1% failure rate. IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus. There are two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal. Hormonal IUDs can help prevent heavy menstrual bleeding.
Permanent contraception (Sterilization): is considered non-reversible for those that are sure they no longer desire childbearing. Women have the option of postpartum tubal ligation done at the time of a delivery or interval done when not pregnant. Both procedures are done in the hospital. Both have been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer with the effects more pronounced after bilateral salpingectomy (complete tubal removal). Vasectomy is an in-office same day procedure done that is relatively quick, safe and effective.
In conclusion, contraception is an important tool that allows individuals to have control over their reproductive health. There are many different types of contraception available, each with its own risks, benefits and effectiveness. It’s important to choose a method of contraception that works for you. If you have any questions about contraception, please talk to a healthcare provider, so that you can find the option that is best for you.
Call our office to schedule your appointment with Dr. Deutsch today. You can work as a team to find the right solution for you. 847-692-9234