There are so many types of birth control and options for contraception, it is hard to know which one is right for you. Even harder for any person trying to do things “naturally” is to knowingly put hormones in your body that are synthetic and potentially increasing the risk of cancer. Despite this, if pregnancy prevention is the desired outcome you want to make an educated decision based on your unique health profile to make the best choice. The doctors at Desert Wellness Center are here if you are looking for a mindful conversation about which one is right for you.
Birth Control: Estrogen/Progestin/Combo: The traditional oral form of birth control has both estrogen and progestin. They are taken daily to prevent pregnancy over 99% of the time. It works by preventing ovulation (egg leaving the ovary) and thickens cervical mucus so sperm cannot penetrate. A big downside is remembering to take a pill every day. Also taking the pill it does put strain on the liver. It can lower testosterone and increase a protein known as SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). This can result in difficultly in balancing hormones once the birth control is stopped.
Hormone Patch: A hormone patch contains estrogen and progestins. Easy to use with applying 1 patch per week for 3 weeks then 1 week without. The product known as Ortho Evra is 99% effective. It works by blocking ovulation (eggs leaving the ovary) and thickens cervical mucus so sperm cannot penetrate. This is a better form of hormone birth control because the hormones are delivered through the skin vs. oral. (Easier on the liver). Read more about the research here.
Arm Implants: A hormone implant made with progestin placed in the arm with a minor surgical procedure. The implant known as Implanon or Nexplanon is the size of a matchstick and can last up to 3 years. It works by blocking ovulation (egg leaving the ovary) and thickening the cervical mucus. A big benefit of the implant is that it can be used while breastfeeding. It also contains no estrogen and does
Intrauterine Devices (Hormonal IUD): Mirena or Skyla are a “T” shaped device inserted into the uterus through the cervix. Minor discomfort may develop after insertion but most find it helps reduce pain associated with menses. It works by blocking ovulation and increasing the thickness of cervical mucus.
Daysy: A fertility monitoring devices that combines your daily temperature and menstrual cycle to predict ovulation. When used properly it prevents pregnancy over 99% of the time. It reports the information to an app on your cell phone for easy tracking. For more info read more here: Daysy.
Diaphragm: A silicone disc inserted to cover the cervix during intercourse. When used properly it is 94% effective. It is very cost effective ($75) and lasts for 2 years. There are different sizes and it can be easily fitted at a Gynecologist visit. The diaphragm does not affect hormones and can be placed several hours prior to intercourse. Some women will use it as a menstrual cup during their menstrual cycle. However the diaphragm can increase a woman’s chance of urinary tract infections (UTI).
Intrauterine Device (Non-Hormonal IUD): Paraguard is a “T” shaped device made with copper that is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. It prevents pregnancy over 99% of the time without hormones. It works by preventing sperm from meeting up with the egg, fertilization of the egg and prevents implantation. Once implanted it can be left in place for up to 10 years. Some women will develop pelvic pain or heavier cycles. Read more here: Paraguard
Essure: An in office procedure provides permanent contraception. The procedure uses a small nickel titanium implant is placed into both of the fallopian tubes. It is placed without any incisions. There are no hormones and the implants will not interfere with the menstrual cycle. Although it is easy and non-hormonal, there are risks. The implants can cause pelvic pain, the implants may migrate out of the fallopian tubes and due to the nickel some may develop an allergy resulting in an allergic reaction. Read more here: Essure.
Vasectomy: A simple in office procedure that provides permanent pregnancy prevention for men. It involves a small access point (no real incision) at the base of the scrotum. The tubes that carry sperm are tied, cauterized or clipped. The side effects are minimal bruising and soreness after the procedure. Although designed to be permanent it can be reversed. If you are not sure about having future children then a simple solution is to bank sperm as a “just in case”.