There are a variety of contraceptive options available to women, and many of them are now covered (per your health insurance guidelines) under the Affordable Care Act. Each works a different way and requires a different commitment from you. Here's a quick overview:
- Depo Provera Injection: Given by a shot once every three months, the hormone medroxyprogesterone acetate enters the bloodstream. The result affects the uterine lining so that pregnancy does not occur. The hormone also prevents the release of hormones from the pituitary gland, stopping ovulation.
- Intrauterine device: the Mirena IUD is a small plastic “T” shaped device inserted into the uterus through the vagina, and releases the hormone levenogestrel. The hormone changes the uterine lining, as well as ovulation, through its ongoing release. It can be kept in for up to five years. The Copper IUD releases copper making the uterine environment inhospitable for the sperm or egg.
- “The pill”: taking a daily tablet containing progestin and sometimes estrogen hormones, which both keep the menstrual cycle regular and prevent release of hormones from the pituitary gland, stopping ovulation.
- Using the patch: a square patch placed on the arm, stomach, or rear, releasing estrogen and progestin through the skin into the blood stream. These hormones keep ovulation from happening. The patch must be changed once each week for three weeks, and then left off on the last week.
- Inserting a vaginal ring: A stretchy ring releases continuous small doses of progestin and estrogen just like the pill but with less risks of nausea. A woman places it into her vagina, and leaves it for three weeks, during which time the hormones work to prevent ovulation. After three weeks the ring is removed, and one week later a new one is inserted.
- Nexplanon: a small plastic rod about one inch long and very thin is placed by a doctor just under the skin of a woman's arm. It releases a progesterone-like hormone called etonogestrel that prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation and thinning uterine lining. Can be used for up to three years.
For permanent contraception, a woman can have the fallopian tubes blocked either through minor surgery or an in-office procedure with no incision. Some not as highly effective methods of birth control also exist, including a fitted diaphragm, condoms, cervical caps, emergency contraception, and a sponge.
If you aren’t sure which options may be right for you, give us a call today at 717-840-9885, or fill out this form for someone to contact you.
Dr. Julie Drolet
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