As of 2018, there were approximately 61 million U.S. women of reproductive age (ages 15 – 44). Depending on their situation, millions of these women rely on contraception to prevent pregnancy or control health issues and symptoms related to their reproductive system. But for these women, the choice of birth control is not always easy - primarily because there are so many options available to them.
From non-hormonal to hormonal birth control, and from temporary to permanent birth control, women have more contraception options than ever before. If you are not sure which method is right for you, we can help! Somerset Gynecology & Obstetrics is committed to a personalized women’s health experience. No matter your age, your situation, your preferences, or your medical constraints, we can help you find the birth control that’s right for you. During every visit, we will discuss your birth control needs, the effectiveness of different contraceptives, and the side effects of different types of contraception. And once you have the information you need, we will help you make your final decision on your next (or maybe first!) type of birth control. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (248) 816-9200!
FAQs on Contraception:
What Contraception Services are Available at Somerset?
The term "contraception" refers to the practice of preventing pregnancy as a result of sexual intercourse. We offer prescriptions and contraceptive counseling on a variety of contraception options. We also advise all that patients that while these contraceptive options can protect against pregnancy, they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Using condoms or female condoms, however, will lower a patient's chances of getting or spreading STIs.
Contraception options available through Somerset include:
- Mirena IUD and Paragard IUD
- NEXPLANON Implant
- Oral pills
- Tubal ligations (including the Essure sterilization procedure)
What Do I Need To Know About Mirena and ParaGard IUDs?
- An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, t-shaped piece of plastic inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
- They are over 99 percent effective and are recommended to women of all ages.
- Mirena is a hormonal-based IUD that thickens mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg, as well as thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation. It is effective for five years. Mirena's hormones can also make periods shorter and less painful.
- ParaGard does not release hormones. Instead, copper wire coiled around the device produces an inflammatory reaction that is toxic to sperm and eggs, preventing pregnancy. It is effective for ten years. ParaGard’s copper metals, though not toxic, can induce heavier bleeding and increased menstrual pain in patients.
- An IUD insertion is quick but is still considered a minor surgical procedure. Most women will experience some cramping, similar to the ones during their periods, when the IUD is placed.
- Couples can begin trying to conceive as soon as an IUD is removed.
What Do I Need To Know About NEXPLANON?
- NEXPLANON is a small, thin, and flexible birth control implant. It's placed discreetly under the skin of your inner upper arm.
- This implant is more than 99% effective.
- NEXPLANON releases progestin hormones to stop ovulation and prevent pregnancy. It provides three to five years of continuous protection.
- Like other hormonal birth control, the implant can affect menstrual cycle length and flow, impact a patient's mood, cause breast tenderness or pain, and contribute to changes in appetite or nausea.
- Couples can begin trying to conceive as soon as an implant is removed.
What Do I Need To Know About Birth Control Pills?
- Birth control pills are some of the most popular contraceptives on the market and have been for several decades.
- When used perfectly, the pill is 99% effective. The actual rate of effectiveness, however, is about 91%. This primarily accounts for patients forgetting to take their pills on time. Some medications can weaken pill effectiveness as well.
- There are two types of birth control pills. Combination birth control pills are a daily medication containing two hormones (estrogen and progestin) to prevent pregnancy. The minipill, also known as the progestin-only birth control pill, doesn't contain estrogen.
- Combination birth control suppresses ovulation. The minipill, while sometimes suppresses ovulation, primarily thickens cervical mucus and thins the endometrium, preventing fertilization and implantation from occurring.
- There are dozens of birth control brands, each containing different doses and combinations of hormonal contraceptives. These various hormone levels will affect every woman differently. Patients will need to work with their doctor to find a dosage that works best for them with minimal to no side effects.
- Unlike implants, birth control pills need to be taken by the patient on a set, daily schedule to be effective.
- Birth control pills are linked to a decreased risk in reproductive health cancers. They also often provide relief from menstrual symptoms (i.e. heavy flow, cramping, etc.).
- In some women, birth control can carry an increased risk of heart problems or clotting.
- After ending birth control pill use, most women begin ovulating again within a few weeks. Some women, however, may not begin ovulating for one to three months.
What Do I Need To Know About the Birth Control Patch?
- The patch contains both estrogen and progestin, i.e. is a type of combined hormonal contraception.
- When used perfectly, the patch is more than 99% effective. The actual rate of effectiveness, however, is about 91%. This is primarily due to patients forgetting to change their patch on a weekly basis. The patch may also be less effective in women over a certain weight limit. Talk to your doctor about this risk before starting to use the patch.
- Birth control patches are placed on the skin and replaced on a weekly basis (on the same day every week). Patches should be worn at least three weeks in a row; skipping the fourth week will allow a woman to have her period.
- Patches should be placed on the belly, upper outer arm, buttocks (butt cheeks), or back (but never on a woman's breast).
- The patch is made to stay in place while swimming or sweating, as long as it's placed on clean and dry skin (i.e. no lotions, oils, or makeups are used prior to its application).
- Side effects of the patch can initially include headaches, nausea, sore breasts, or spotting (light bleeding or brown discharge) between periods.
- If a woman decides she wants to get pregnant, simply removing the patch is all that’s needed.
What Do I Need To Know About Birth Control Rings?
- NuvaRing is a small, soft, flexible plastic ring that contains and releases the hormones estrogen and progestin. This makes it a type of combined hormonal contraception.
- When used perfectly, the ring is about 98% effective. The actual rate of effectiveness, however, is about 91%. This is because women are more likely to get pregnant if a new ring isn’t inserted on time every month, or if the ring is removed from the vagina for more than 2 days (48 hours) during the weeks it’s supposed to be worn.
- NuvaRing is worn inside the vagina for three weeks, where the vaginal lining absorbs the estrogen and progestin. The hormones then stop ovulation. During the fourth week, the ring is removed to allow a woman to have her period. NuvaRing needs to be replaced promptly at the end of the fourth week.
- The vaginal ring has potential side effects that are similar to other hormonal types of contraception. These include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breast tenderness, fatigue, moderate weight gain, and a change in appetite.
What Do I Need To Know About the Birth Control Shot?
- The birth control shot is an injection of progestin provided to patients once every 3 months. It's sometimes called Depo-Provera, the Depo shot, or DMPA.
- When used perfectly, the shot is about 99% effective. However, typical use rates are closer to 94%, primarily due to patients missing their regular appointments and follow-up shots.
- The shot prevents ovulation, as well as thickens the cervical music to prevent sperm from swimming through to the fallopian tubes.
- The shot is only effective when patients remember to get it every 12-13 weeks.
- Side effects can include irregular periods, increased spotting and breakthrough bleeding, weight gain, changes in appetite or sex drive, and nausea and/or soreness.
- After your last shot, you might not be able to get pregnant for up to 10 months, as it takes time for ovulation to “restart” after being on the shot.
What Do I Need To Know About Diaphragms?
- Diaphragms are a non-hormonal form of birth control that creates a barrier between a woman’s uterus and a man’s sperm.
- When used perfectly, the diaphragm is about 94% effective. However, typical use rates are closer to 88%, primarily due to improper use. This can include forgetting to wear a diaphragm at all, inserting a diaphragm after initiating intercourse, not properly inserting the diaphragm, or forgetting to use spermicide.
- These dome-shaped, silicone cups are inserted in the vagina (and fitted over the cervix) hours before sex to prevent pregnancy. However, to truly work effectively, a diaphragm needs to be used with spermicide to kill sperm entirely.
- After sex, a diaphragm needs to be left in place in the vagina for at least 6 hours.
- Diaphragms can be made from latex or silicone, and will need to be made and fitted based on a woman's vaginal measurements.
- Once ordered and prescribed, your doctor can show you some key steps on using a diaphragm (i.e. insertion, spermicide application, etc.).
- Diaphragms cannot be used and worn while a woman is having her period. They should also never be left in the vagina for more than 24 hours.
- Diaphragms need to be replaced every two years, as well as any time a woman has a baby, has pelvic surgery, or gains or loses more than 15 pounds.
- Patients using a diaphragm to prevent pregnancy should call their doctor if they experience vaginal pain, painful or frequent urination, vaginal itching, or abnormal vaginal discharge.
What Do I Need To Know About Tubal Ligation?
- Tubal ligation is a medical sterilization procedure for women who are sure they don't want a future pregnancy. These procedures cannot be reversed.
- Once complete, the Essure procedure is 99.3% effective at preventing pregnancy.
- Somerset specializes in the Essure procedure, which - unlike other tubal ligations - does not use an incision in the skin. Instead, it is carried out through the vagina and cervix directly.
- During an Essure procedure, we will place a tiny coil into each of your fallopian tubes. Over time, your body will naturally form tissue around the coils. This blocks off your fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy.
- You don't need general anesthesia for this procedure. Instead, your cervix will be numbed before the coils are inserted. However, patients can feel some pain or cramping when the coils are going in.
- The majority of patients return to their normal routine the same day as their procedure.
- Essure won’t start preventing pregnancy for at least 3 months, as the body needs time to build fallopian tissue around the inserted coils. We ask that patients return for a three-month check-in so that we can check on their progress and ensure the tubes are properly blocked.
- Patients should NOT have sex without another method of birth control until their medical team gives them the all-clear to do so.
Somerset Gynecology and Obstetrics is committed to providing every woman with the information and advice she needs to confidently choose the right contraception for her needs. Contact us today if you’re interested in discussing which birth control is right for you!