There are many safe and effective birth control methods available. We offer various methods for preventing pregnancy. These birth control and contraception options are commonly used today and will limit your chances of getting pregnant. You can discuss with Dr. Shobin the best methods for your needs.
Barrier Birth Control
A barrier, usually latex or a polymer, keeps sperm from meeting the egg. The most popular barrier is the male condom. It is important to put on the condom prior to insertion and, after withdraw, to check for leaks. Used alone, condoms are 90-95% effective. They also help prevent STDs spread through intercourse. The female condom is a pouch inserted into the vagina before intercourse. It also helps prevent STDs and is 95% effective.
1. Female Diaphragm
The female diaphragm is a round, flexible rubber or latex barrier inserted before sex that blocks the cervix. It is used with a contraceptive lubricant. It can be inserted any time before intercourse but must stay in six hours after the last sex act. It is not as effective as condoms in preventing STDs.
2. Cervical Cap
The cervical cap is a silicone cup like a mini-diaphragm. With similar advantages as the diaphragm, it is around 80% effective. It is soft, flexible, and fits over the cervix in order to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Using the cervical cap removes the hormonal effects of the pill, implant, patch, or shot.
Hormonal Birth Control – “The Pill”
The female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, used in combination or singly, provide contraception by stopping ovulation, the release of an egg (ovum) from the ovary. Used properly, they are 99% effective, but don’t protect against STDs. Since the 1960s, the most popular hormonal method is the birth control pill. “The pill” is taken daily and results in regular, 28-day, pain-free periods. There are 4 weeks of pills per pack, and during the last week, the patient has her “pill period.” Some pills are packaged so that the patient gets less frequent periods, usually every three months.
Hormonal Birth Control Other Than The Pill:
1. Nuva Ring
The vaginal ring (Nuva Ring) is a polymer ring about 2 inches wide inserted into the vagina, where is remains in place for 3 weeks. The polymer is impregnated with birth control hormones, which are released and absorbed through the vagina at a steady rate. It does not interfere with intercourse. After 3 weeks, the ring is removed and the patient has her “ring” period. The ring’s advantage is that it has to be inserted only once per month.
2. Birth Control Patch
The birth control patch, like the ring, is impregnated with birth control hormones, which are absorbed through the skin. The patch is like an adhesive Band-Aid which is applied once per week. There are three patches per box, and the patient changes them weekly. The fourth week, she doesn’t use one and has her “patch period.” Like the ring, the patch’s advantage is that it doesn’t have to be used daily.
3. Birth Control Shot (Depo Provera)
The shot is a form of hormonal contraception, but it uses only one female hormone: a synthetic progesterone called medroxy-progesterone-acetate. In long-lasting or “depo” form, the hormone is given by injection and prevents pregnancy for three months. Thus, it is administered every 12 weeks, which is also its advantage. Its disadvantage is that it can cause irregular bleeding. Many patients get no period at all, but some have unpredictable spotting or staining, especially in the first 6-12 months.
The implant is a tiny polymer rod inserted under the skin of the arm. The rod is impregnated with a synthetic progesterone-like drug that is slowly released. It provides contraception for three continuous years. This is its great advantage. Like other hormonal methods, it works by preventing ovulation. Common implant brands are Implanon and Nexplanon. After three years, the implant is removed.
The intrauterine device has a storied history. For thousands of years, Arab camel herders placed a stone into a female camel’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. It worked by acting as a foreign body that either prevented implantation of the egg or affecting the way sperm move to interfere with fertilization. This is how all IUDs work. Subsequent IUDs included metal rings or coiled loops of silk. Modern IUDs (the most popular are Mirena and Para-Gard) are T-shaped pieces of plastic inserted into the uterus. Although IUDs can be removed at any time, they can last between 5-12 years if not disturbed. The Mirena’s plastic is impregnated with synthetic progesterone and may help lessen heavy periods.
6. Spermicides and The Sponge
A spermicide is a chemical that immobilizes or kills sperm. Spermicides are available in different forms, including gels, creams, foams, films, and suppositories. The sponge, which can act as a barrier, mainly works by containing a spermicide. Used alone, spermicides are around 75% effective. Used with a condom, the effectiveness is 97%.
Essure – Permanent Birth Control
In addition to assessing recommending monthly and long-term birth control solutions, we also perform permanent birth control procedures. Commonly referred to as Essure, permanent birth control is ideal for those who are absolutely certain that they no longer intend to have children. However, because it is permanent, we recommend that patients weigh this hefty decision accordingly.
During the Essure procedure, small plugs are inserted into the fallopian tube, blocking them. These plugs gradually encourage the growth of scar tissue, which forms a barrier over the fallopian tubes. This procedure is generally performed in under an hour, and is minimally invasive.
Due to the permanent nature of Essure, we recommend that patients stay in contact with physicians after the procedure to ensure that it is still effective.