To make sure your method of contraception is effective, it’s a good idea to understand how it works.
The most common type of contraception is hormonal, whether a pill, patch, implant, IUD, ring, or injection. Each of those options contains varying amounts of hormones such as estrogen and/or progesterone (or similar hormones that mimic the effects). As these hormones enter the bloodstream, they interact with the pituitary gland in the brain by altering the release of substances that dictate egg development and ovulation. They also affect the uterus by thinning the inner lining. Hormonal intrauterine devices also cause some of the same effects. Some may also thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it hard for sperm to travel to an egg.
Other methods of contraception serve as a membrane barrier, keeping sperm from traveling through the cervix and fertilizing an egg. These include a diaphragm, a cervical cap fitted over the cervix; a male condom, fitted over the penis; and a female condom, lining the length of the vagina. If used correctly (without tearing, in place only for the recommended amount of time, and not reused if not intended for that), and especially when paired with spermicide, these methods can be almost as effective as hormonal birth control. The vaginal “sponge” releases a substance that affects the quality and life of the sperm.
Permanent methods of contraception include tubal ligation, which prevents eggs from reaching the uterus, or a vasectomy, which is minor surgery barring sperm from entering the semen. Both prevent contact between the egg and sperm.
For any questions about which contraception method might be right for you give us a call at 717-840-9885.
Many forms of birth control are now covered (per your health insurance guidelines) under the Affordable Care Act. To find out more, click here.
If you have any questions about birth control coverage, you can contact us at any time.
Dr. Julie Drolet
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