When discussing birth control, the options and methods can seem daunting and overwhelming. Birth control, family planning, and preventing unplanned pregnancies all fall into the same category of desires/needs a woman may have, however there are many different methods to achieve this goal. Our state of the art NYC gynecology facility equipped with the latest obgyn equipment.
Types of Birth Control
Several different categories of birth control exist. In general however, they can really be split up into two broad categories – Hormonal, and non hormonal. Depending on your specific needs and health history, your gynecologist in Midtown NYC will recommend an appropriate method for contraception.
Hormonal Contraception usually involved manipulating or adding estrogen and or progesterone to the body, in order to prevent pregnancy. The combination or even just one of the hormones alone generally always affects menstrual bleeding to some extent. With any hormonal contraception, you can expect changes in how you bleed, with potential risk of spotting or bleeding while not on your period. Lesser experienced side effects can include headaches, nausea, weight gain/loss, acne, breast tenderness, and changes in mood.
- Birth control pills, these are likely the most well-known of birth control methods. There are hundreds of different compositions of birth control pills but they generally include estrogen and progesterone or progesterone alone. These pills generally suppress the ovaries and cause you to not ovulate, thus prohibiting pregnancy. There are some very important contraindications you and your doctor should discuss before taking these, however. Things your physician will take into consideration may include but not limited to, recent pregnancy, history of tobacco use, age, medications you are currently on, past medical history, history of blood clots your lungs or legs, and even potentially migraines.
- Depo Provera, an injectable form of birth control containing one hormone called progesterone. This injection is performed once every 3 months and is highly efficacious in preventing unplanned pregnancies. This form does have some effects on bone health that can be reversible, however it is not recommended you take depo injection for longer than several years at a time without a small break to let your bones recover, after which you can restart the injection.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD), is a small plastic device that can be placed in the office and goes inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. These devices, once placed, can maintain their position for several years, requiring only annual monitoring such as yearly ultrasounds, as long as they are not causing any issues with pain or bleeding. There are hormonal and non hormonal IUDs available
- Contraceptive Implant, a small plastic device coated in a hormone, progesterone, which is placed in the arm and lasts for several years before needing to be removed, is also available. In the US, the most common implant device is Nexplanon.
- Vaginal ring, which can be inserted into the vagina by the patient, and removed at different intervals. These vaignal rings emit hormones that are systemically absorbed and prevent pregnancy.
- Hormone patch, a small square impregnated with hormone that is placed on the skin, usually a small patch of skin such as just below the hip or buttocks, arm, are small of the back – basically any piece of skin that doesn’t move much during normal activities. The patch also emits hormone that is absorbed systemically to prevent pregnancy. The patch is usually replaced every few days depending on the patch.
Non-hormonal birth control
- IUD, there is a plastic and metal form of the intrauterine device that helps to create an inhospitable environment within the uterus to prevent pregnancy
- Tubal ligation, in which the fallopian tubes are surgically crushed, burned, or removed all together, thus prohibiting eggs from exiting the ovaries and entering the uterus. This is a permanent form of birth control and cannot generally be reversed.
- Barrier methods, which include condoms for males, diaphragms and contraceptive sponges for females. All can contain spermicide vs no spermicide, or a chemical that inhibits sperm
- Vasectomy, a procedure where a male can have the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles cut. This procedure is very effective but requires follow- up several months after the procedure to ensure the male is no longer releasing sperm.
Birth control isn’t one-size-fits-all
IUDs are generally considered to be extremely low risk during placement, maintenance, and during removal. During placement, the risk of infection, perforation (poking a hole through the uterus and the iud going inside the abdomen which would require a small surgery to remove), or pain, can all occur. Luckily, these are all very rare, and there are ways your doctor can mitigate these risk, such as using an ultrasound during the placement of the IUD.
Within each category of birth control are several more forms and brands, each with their own risks, benefits, and alternatives. With the increased number of options, it becomes extremely important to discuss your specific situation with your Midtown gynecologist, to choose an option that works specifically for you.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide gynecology guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult OBGYN doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced gynecologist or certified gynecology specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Have questions about Contraception? Schedule an appointment with the best OB GYN in Manhattan, Dr. Fernando Mariz by calling our office today.
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