Which Birth Control Is Right For Me

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Which Birth Control Is Right For Me

Which Birth Control Is Right For MeWhich Birth Control Is Right For Me? Birth control does just that, it controls the birth rate.  It prevents sexually active women from getting pregnant.  Birth control does not prevent the spread of infection, STDs, or AIDS.  This is why you need to use a condom even if you are on birth control.   The condom is the ONLY method that works as a birth control and also protects against HIV and STD’s, so always keep that in mind!!!

There are many types of birth control available.  The birth control that is best for you is the one that is the easiest and most convenient for you.  No birth control is 100% effective.  Used properly though, the methods listed here are between 94 – 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.  Hopefully these descriptions will help you decide which method is right for you.  This is solely for informational purposes and you should ultimately talk to your physician to determine which kind is right for you.

Remember, if you are having sex without any form of birth control then you MUST be trying to get pregnant.  Without contraceptives, 90% of sexually active females will be pregnant within a year. And, if you are having sex without condoms, then you MUST be trying to get a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

Oral contraceptives or birth control pills, are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken properly.  The pill is a type of hormonal contraceptive that works by preventing the release of an egg from your ovaries and/or making the uterus or “womb” an unfriendly place for a pregnancy.  For it to work correctly, the pill should be taken every day at approximately the same time each day.

It is very important that you do not skip days or forget to take the pill. If a pill is missed then this increases your chance of becoming pregnant.  Oral contraceptives are perfect for those that remember to take it everyday.  But it is not a good choice for those who forget to take it.  There are many different types of oral contraceptives available.  Your doctor can help you decide which type is best for you.  Once the pill is stopped it may take several cycles before you will be able to become pregnant.   The hormones in the pill can increase your risk of getting blood clots.  So if you are a smoker or over the age of thirty-five, you should not take the pill.

As with any form of hormonal contraceptive, the pill has associated risks and side affects which should be discussed with your doctor before using.  Remember, the pill does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

THE PATCH

The patch is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy if used correctly.  The patch is a thin, beige, square that you wear on your body under your clothes.  It contains hormones that are transferred through your skin.  These hormones prevent the release of an egg from the ovaries, and also work to make it difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg.  The patch is applied once a week on the same day each week.  One patch is worn at a time.  It is applied for 3 weeks in a row and then on the 4th week, no patch is worn.  During the 4th week your period is expected to begin.  This routine is repeated each month.

As with the pill, it may take several cycles after stopping the patch before you can become pregnant.  For those who can’t remember an everyday routine, the patch, which only requires thought one day out of a week, may be an option.  As with any form of hormonal contraception there are associated risks and side effects that should be discussed with your doctor.  Remember, the patch does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

DEPOT SHOT
The shot, or depot provera, is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.  The injection is given every 3 months.  Depot provera prevents the release of the egg from your ovaries.  Contraceptive injections have a reputation for stopping monthly periods.  They have also been shown to be beneficial in some chronic diseases such as Sickle Cell.  Once the injections are stopped, it may take up to a year before your menstrual cycle becomes regular and you can become pregnant.

Contraceptive injections are wonderful for those who can’t or don’t want to remember a daily, or even a weekly regimen.  As with the other forms of birth control, there are side effects and risks with this method of hormonal birth control that should be discussed with your doctor before using.  Remember, the depot shot does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

VAGINAL RING

The vaginal ring is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.  It is a small flexible, bendable ring that you put in your vagina.  The ring stays in your vagina for three weeks, then you take it out and throw it away.  The fourth week, while the ring is out, you will have a period.   At the end of the fourth week you reinsert a new ring and again leave it in for three weeks.

The ring prevents pregnancy by releasing small amounts of female hormones.  These hormones stop the release of the egg from the ovary, and also thicken the mucus around the cervix preventing the man’s sperm from reaching the egg.

There is no wrong way to insert the ring.  As long as it stays in the vagina, it is inserted correctly.  It is much like inserting and removing a tampon.  Most women who use the ring say that they can not feel the ring once it is in place.

Yes, you can use the ring and still have sex!  The ring does not interfere with sexual intercourse.  Most of the women’s partners say that they do not feel the ring during sex.  Remember, the vaginal ring does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

DIAPHRAGM

The vaginal diaphragm is 94% effective when used absolutely correctly.  But for most, there is a 20% failure rate in preventing pregnancy.  The diaphragm, (pronounced diafram), is a soft circular ring designed to fit over the cervix.  The diaphragm acts as a barrier to sperm.  It blocks sperm and prevents them from getting to the egg.

Diaphragms are not one size fits all.  They come in a variety of sizes.  The only way to know which size is best for you is to undergo a pelvic exam by your doctor.  Your doctor will then be able to determine the appropriate size.  This is important because if it does not fit correctly it can slip out of place and sperm can go around it and enter the uterus (womb).

You insert the diaphragm into the vagina before you have sexual intercourse.  It must be used every time you have sex.  Before use, contraceptive jelly or cream must be placed on the diaphragm.  With each act of sexual intercourse the spermicide needs to be reapplied.  It is very important that you talk to your doctor and know how to properly use the diaphragm.

One good thing that people like about the diaphragm is that it can be inserted up to six to eight hours before sex (spermicide must be reapplied immediately before sexual intercourse).  Some side effects include vaginal wall irritation and an increased risk of urinary tract infection.   Diaphragms are for women who only have one sex partner and she is sure he is HIV/STD-Free.  Remember, diaphragms do not protect against HIV/AIDS.

IUD – Intrauterine Device

Intrauterine device, or IUD is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. An IUD is a small plastic or copper T shaped device with a string on the end. The IUD is placed into the uterus by your doctor during a quick in-office procedure.  It is a small procedure that may result in mild cramping and bleeding.

There are two types of IUDs. One that releases the female hormone progesterone, and one that is copper and does not release any hormone. IUDs work by changing the uterine environment, making it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant, or by stopping the release of the egg from the ovary.

The IUD is an effective long acting method of birth control that requires very little effort or thought. Once inserted it can be left in place for five to ten years.  It is important however, to check and make sure that the string or tail of the IUD is still in place after each menstrual cycle. Insert two fingers into the vagina and feel for the cervix.

IUDs should not be used by women who have more than one sexual partner, women with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, or a history of ectopic pregnancies.

IUDs are good options for those in a relationship where both partners are only having sex with each other, those with one or more children, breastfeeding women, and women who do not wish to undergo surgical sterilization. Once removed fertility can return in as little as one month or as long as one year.  Some risks associated with IUDs are pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), puncture of the uterus, and sexually transmitted diseases.  Remember, an IUD does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

PERMANENT CONTRACEPTION – NEVER GET PREGNANT AGAIN

Surgical or chemical Sterilization is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.  For women, the procedure is called Tubal ligation (“tying my tubes”).  For men, the procedure is called a vasectomy.  These methods of contraception should be considered permanent and irreversible.  It is very important that careful consideration has been taken before undergoing surgical sterilization.

Tubal ligation is performed in a surgical center or operating room under general anesthesia.  The surgery involves cutting the fallopian tubes.  The fallopian tube carries the egg from the ovary into the uterus (womb).  This prevents the egg from entering the tube, and also prevents sperm from interacting with the egg.  This procedure can be reversed although it is not recommended.  After reversal, 60 to 80% of women may become pregnant.

Vasectomy for men can be done in the doctor’s office.  This procedure involves cutting and sealing the vas deferens.  The vas deferens are tubes that carry sperm to be ejaculated.  This procedure should also be thought of as permanent although it can be physically reversed.  After reversal 30 to 40% of men will regain fertility.

There is also a chemical form of sterilization called Essure.  This is a quick non-surgical option for permanent contraception.  Remember, surgical and chemical sterilization do not protect against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.