Which method of contraception suits me
What method of contraception should I use?
Family planning has been truly groundbreaking, allowing women to choose when and if they would like to have children. Contraception options for women are endless today. There is so much on the market to choose from and it can be overwhelming. There are different types of birth controls and a multitude of brands. Often a woman may have to try different types of birth control before she finds the one that works the best for her. The goal is to find contraception that works well with minimal side effects.
While contraception is obviously used for birth control. Your doctor may prescribe contraception for the following conditions.
- Menstrual cycle regulation
- Heavy Painful periods
- Conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Fibroids, etc.
You should always have a conversation with your doctor before starting or changing your contraception method. Based on your lifestyle and health, she will help you choose the most appropriate form of contraception.
What are the most used forms of female contraception?
Here we will explore the most popular female contraceptives.
1.) Oral Contraceptive Pill/Combined Oral Contraceptives
“The Pill” is the most frequently prescribed form of contraception. The pill contains estrogen and progesterone and is taken daily. The pill is 99% effective in pregnancy prevention if used as directed. It prevents ovulation and also helps with the following health issues:
- Heavy periods
- Period-related pain
- Regulation of menstrual cycles
- Acne relief
Unfortunately, some women do experience side effects from the Pill and that includes:
- Intermittent bleeding/ spotting
- Breast tenderness
However, if you have a history of:
- Gynecological/breast cancer
- Developing blood clots
you may want to explore another form of contraception.
2.) Hormonal Contraceptive Patch
If you have difficulty remembering to take pills, the patch may be for you. It also has a 99% efficacy rate against pregnancy. Like the Pill, progesterone and estrogen are the active ingredients in the patch. The patch can be placed on the following areas of your body:
- Lower belly
- Upper arm
Since the Patch uses the same hormones as the pill, if you suffer from any of the conditions listed above, you should not use the Patch either.
4.) Hormonal Injections
Hormonal injections are administered every couple of weeks. The hormonal injection works by stopping your body from releasing eggs and thickens the mucus of the cervix.
Some benefits include:
- Extremely effective( more than 99%)
- Excellent for breastfeeding moms
If you have any of the health issues mentioned above, hormonal injections are a good choice.
5.) Birth Control Implants
This type of contraception lasts up to 3 years. A small rod-shaped implant containing synthetic progesterone is inserted under the skin in the inner upper arm. Not to worry, your doctor will administer a local anesthetic to make your arm numb before putting in the implant.
Birth control effects begin with 24 hours of insertion if implantation occurs within the first 5 days of menses.
- Easy to remove
- Can be done during a consultation
- 99.8% effective
6.) Intrauterine devices (IUD)
IUDs have been around for quite some time. They are T shaped instruments inserted into the cervix to prevent ovulation and egg implantation. They provide up to 3-5 years of pregnancy protection. There are generally available in progesterone-releasing or plain copper IUDs. You may be asked to take STD tests and a pregnancy test before having one inserted. If you think it sounds uncomfortable, you are probably right. There are side effects and over the years more and more women have complained about IUD related complications which includes:
Risk of ectopic pregnancy – These are embryos that implant outside of the uterus.-
- Infection- This usually occurs during the insertion process. If left untreated it can cause Pelvic inflammatory disorder.
- Apparatus Expulsion- Your IUD can become dislodged and result in a partial or complete expulsion. A partial expulsion can cause abdominal cramps. A complete expulsion means the IUD has been pushed into the vagina. Any type of expulsion will affect birth control effectiveness.
- Perforation. This occurs when while being inserted it becomes embedded in the walls of the uterus. Sometimes the removal process is complicated. On rare occasions, the IUD may migrate to the pelvis, abdominal cavity, gastrointestinal tract, or bladder. Surgery is required for its removal. Of course, if there is a perforation, the effectiveness of the IUD will be compromised.
If you have a history of cervical or uterine cancer; pelvic infections or ectopic pregnancies, your doctor will not recommend an intrauterine device for you.
7.) Barrier Contraception
Condoms( male or female) are the only forms of contraception that protect against pregnancy and STDs. Unfortunately, it is less effective than all the other methods that we have discussed.
High Condom failure rate due to:
- Condom slippage, incorrect withdrawal
- Incorrect condom placement & timing
- Inappropriate lubricant use
High Failure rate of approximately – 15%!
Do speak to your doctor today for the different methods of contraceptives!
IS IT TRUE THAT THE USE OF BIRTH CONTROL PILL CAN LOWER SEX DRIVE?
It is possible although it is not experienced by all women. The science behind this occurring is that the combination of progestin and estrogen in the Pill has the effect of lowering testosterone levels in women. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for your sex drive. You may have guessed by now that even though testosterone is a “male” hormone. Women produce testosterone albeit in smaller amounts than men. However, low testosterone is not the only cause of decreased libido. So you should have a conversation with your doctor if you have any concerns.
DOES THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL CAUSE DEPRESSION AND MOOD SWINGS?
While this is not a common side effect of the Pill, some women have experienced OC dysphoria. This is the name given to the mood swings and associated depression brought about by oral contraceptives. In a Harvard Medical School study, it was discovered that less than 20 percent of women experienced mood issues with the Pill. However, women who suffered from depression were more prone to experience these unpleasant symptoms. Those who experienced depression or mood swings discontinued use before their monthly supply ended. If you notice changes in your mood, you should let your doctor know, so that an alternative could be explored.
So now you are able to consider all your contraception options. You know that some forms of contraception may cause unpleasant side effects. In order to also protect yourself from STDs, you can combine the barrier method with any of the other contraception methods. Now you can make an informed decision. Make an appointment with any one of our clinics for more information today!
- Nya-Ngatchou, J. J., & Amory, J. K. (2013). New approaches to male non-hormonal contraception. Contraception, 87(3), 296–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2012.08.016
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