What most women don’t realize is how many contraception choices they have available to them. With so many choices, it is really important to encourage women to be knowledgeable first, so that they can make the best decision for themselves and their lifestyle.
Long-term contraceptives are actually some of the most effective and user-friendly types of birth control because they don’t require any maintenance. If you are not planning to have a baby in the next few years, an IUD (intrauterine device) or single-rod implant may be a great choice for you. These options are more than 99 percent effective and have few side effects for most women. While they last anywhere from 3 to 10 years, depending on which you choose, they are not permanent. If and when you decide you want to try to have a baby, the device can quickly be removed at an office visit and you will be ready to go!
IUDs may sound intimidating to some women because they are actually placed inside your uterus. However, if it is placed correctly, you should not even feel the IUD once it has been inserted. There are three types of IUDs: Paragard, Mirena and Skyla.
Paragard does not contain hormones and lasts up to 10 years. Major side effects include a heavier or longer period, especially for the first couple of years.
Mirena can provide birth control for up to five years and Skyla is effective for three years. Skyla is smaller and more easily inserted, as it is designed for women who haven’t had a baby. Other than that, these two IUDs are very similar, as they release a hormone (progesterone) over time to protect against pregnancy. While they are in place, most women have very light periods or no period at all. Both are used to treat abnormal heavy menstrual bleeding even if a woman does not need contraception.
Nexplanon is the name of the single-rod implant, which is inserted just under the skin of the inner upper arm and can protect against pregnancy for up to three years. Like the progesterone IUDs, it slowly releases a hormone through the body to provide very effective birth control. The main side effect is irregular spotting or bleeding, especially for the first few months. However, like Mirena and Skyla, a lot of women experience very light spotting or no periods at all while using Nexplanon.
The reason these devices are so effective in preventing pregnancy is that women who have them don’t have to think about birth control on a regular basis. Between work, school, family and friends, we all have enough to keep track of every day. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand how other forms of birth control like a daily pill, monthly ring or injection can get missed and cause an unplanned pregnancy. Of course, none of these options protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so please remember to use a condom, if needed.
We frequently schedule consultation visits to discuss contraception with our patients here at Prevea Women’s Care. We are all here to help you decide what option would work best for you!