Birth Control Methods

Birth control methods can be divided into five categories. The failure rates listed represent the chances of becoming pregnant during the first year of use. This information is intended to be informative but is not necessarily complete – please talk to one of the physicians at Women’s Health Wise to choose the method that is best for you.

Hormonal Birth Control Methods

Hormonal birth control methods do not offer protection against STDs and a barrier method should be used in addition when there is a concern for exposure to a sexually transmitted disease.

Plan B one step birth control in longmont co at womens healthwisePlan B is a brand of Emergency Contraception – Commonly known as the Morning After Pill – that is the only method that can prevent pregnancy after intercourse. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, emergency contraception can reduce your chance of pregnancy by 89%. Plan B works by preventing a pregnancy but will not harm or terminate an existing pregnancy. It also does not act as a substitute for primary birth control. Plan B can be purchased without a prescription.

  • Failure Rate: 11% – most effective when taken as early as possible in the 72 hour window
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No

 

The Pill package birth control in longmont co at womens healthwiseThe Pill – This birth control method uses the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone in a daily oral pill to suppress ovulation and/or thicken cervical mucus and thin the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy. The pill requires a prescription from your doctor.

  • Failure Rate: 0.05% if taken every day; up to 9% if you miss pills during the month
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No
  • Additional benefits and/or significant negative side effects: can lead to regular, shorter, lighter and less painful periods and cycles can be extended for fewer periods. Some women have irregular bleeding, nausea or headaches when first starting the pill that will go away after a month or two. Women with a history of blood clots or severe headaches should not take the estrogen and progesterone birth control pill.

 

The conttaceptive patch on a woman's stomach birth controlThe Contraceptive Patch – This is a transdermal patch that delivers estrogen and progesterone hormones through contact with the skin. This method involves applying the patch once a week for 3 weeks then going without a patch for a week. The patch also works by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus and thinning the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy. The patch requires a prescription from your doctor.

  • Failure Rate: 0.3% when patches are changed weekly; up to 9% when you forget to change the patch each week
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No
  • Additional benefits and/or significant negative effects: can lead to regular, shorter, lighter and less painful periods and cycles can be extended for fewer periods. Some women get a rash from the patch or it will fall off unexpectedly. Women with a history of blood clots or severe headaches should not use the contraceptive patch.

 

Nuvaring Birth Control Vaginal Ring – Nuvaring – The ring is inserted into the vagina for three weeks followed by one week without using a ring. It delivers a low dosage of estrogen and progesterone hormones that suppress ovulation, thicken cervical mucus and thin the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy. Learn more about Nuvaring.

  • Failure Rate: 0.3% when rings are changed weekly up to 9% if you forget to change or insert a ring on time
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No
  • Additional benefits and/or significant negative effects: can lead to regular, shorter, lighter and less painful periods and cycles can be extended for fewer periods. Some women and/or their partners can feel the ring, or they experience more vaginal irritation symptoms. Women with a history of blood clots or severe headaches should not use the vaginal ring.

 

Nexplanon birth control implant against womans inner armImplants – Implanon and Nexplanon are flexible plastic implants containing the hormone progesterone that are inserted under the skin in the upper arm during an office visit. They protect against pregnancy for up to 3 years. These implants can suppress ovulation, thicken cervical mucous and thin the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy.

  • Failure Rate: 0.05%
  • Reversible: Yes, but needs to be removed during an office visit
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No
  • Additional benefits and/or significant negative effects: It can completely suppress your periods and this effect can decrease period related pain. However it can have the negative effect of causing unpredictable bleeding in some women.

 

depo provera birth control methods in Longmont CODepo Provera – This is a progesterone hormone injection, given at an office visit, that provides contraception for 14 weeks. It can suppress ovulation and/or thicken the cervical mucous and thin the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy.

 

 

  • Failure Rate: 0.2% to 6% if repeat injections are not given on time.
  • Reversible: Yes but can take up to 18 months to resume ovulation
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No
  • Additional benefits and/or significant negative effects: It can completely suppress your periods and this effect can decrease period related pain. However it can have the negative effect of causing unpredictable bleeding in some women.

 

Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s)

photo of paragard and mirena iud borth control methods at women's healthwiseIUDs are small, flexible T shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus in an office visit. IUD’s are the most widely used long acting, reversible form of birth control. The Liletta and Mirena IUD’s contain the hormone progesterone and protects against pregnancy for up to 3-5 years. The Skyla IUD is similar to Liletta and Mirena, but slightly smaller and only lasts 3 years. The Paragard IUD contains copper and protects against pregnancy for up to 10 years.

  • Failure Rate: 0.2% to 0.8%
  • Reversible: Yes, but needs to be removed during an office visit
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No, IUDs can increase the risk of STDs leading to a pelvic infection.
  • Additional benefits and/or significant side effects: Liletta, Mirena, and Skyla can lessen periods and eventually prevent them and therefore eliminate period related pain. However when initially inserted it can lead to prolonged irregular bleeding- see the hormonal IUD page for more details. The Paragard IUD is a nonhormonal form of birth control however it can cause heavier and more painful periods in some women. IUDs, if they fail, can increase the risk of a subsequent pregnancy growing in the fallopian tubes which is called an ectopic pregnancy and can lead to emergency surgery.

 

The Rhythm Method

Image of caledar with x's to track rhythm method birth controlThis type of birth control involves keeping track of your periods and having intercourse during times when you are less likely to get pregnant.

  • Failure Rate: 5% to 50%
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No

 

Barrier Methods

Graphic of male and female condoms side by sideBarrier methods attempt to block the sperm from getting to the egg. They include male and female condoms, diaphragms, and contraceptive sponges with spermicides.

 

Barrier methods are the only contraceptives that will protect against some sexually transmitted infections when properly used.

Male Condoms – Condoms, typically made from latex, are rolled over the penis trapping the sperm.

  • Failure Rate: 2% to 18%
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Yes

Female Condoms – These are barrier contraceptives worn inside the woman’s vagina. Rings at each end hold the device in place.

  • Failure Rate: 5% to 21%
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Yes

 

Graphic showing hoe to insert a diaphragm birth control Diaphragms – Typically used with spermicidal jelly, a diaphragm is a latex or silicon cover that fits over the woman’s cervix. You need to be fitted for the right size diaphragm during an office visit. It must be inserted prior to having sex and is left in place for 8 hours after intercourse. Additional spermicide must be inserted with continued intercourse.

  • Failure Rate: 1% to 39%
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Yes

 

Contraceptive Sponge birth control methodsContraceptive Sponge – Infused with spermicide, the sponge is inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse and to be effective must block the entrance to the cervix. Sponges are typically more effective for women who have not previously had children.

  • Failure Rate: 9% to 32%
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No

Spermicide – Spermicide gel is inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse and kills the sperm before it can get into the uterus and fertilize the egg.

  • Failure Rate: 6%
  • Reversible: Yes
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Some

 

Sterilization Options

There has been evidence for some time that having had a tubal ligation (tubes tied) can decrease your risk of ovarian cancer. The reasoning behind this is that the pathway from the vagina to the ovaries is interrupted and therefore possible cancer causing agents can no longer reach the ovaries. In addition to this evidence, new research shows that actually removing the fallopian tubes may decrease your ovarian cancer risk by another mechanism. It may be that some ovarian cancers begin in the fallopian tubes. Removing the fallopian tubes during hysterectomy may lower the risk of developing the most common type of ovarian cancer, researchers said in an article published in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists journal.

See our blog titled Having Your Tubes Removed May Decrease Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer for more information!

Tubal ligation and Essure

Tubal Ligation birth control methodsIn women, surgical sterilization is done by tubal ligation, commonly known as getting your tubes tied, banded, or clipped. There is also the Essure procedure, which blocks the fallopian tubes. Tubal ligation involves using a laparascope inserted in the umbilicus to visualize the fallopian tubes. It has the advantage of allowing us to also visualize the uterus and ovaries in addition and diagnose other conditions- such as endometriosis. The Essure is done by going through the vagina into the uterus to reach the tubes as they enter the uterus and block them. Tubal ligation can be done at the time of childbirth, with a cesarean section, or as a separate procedure after a vaginal delivery. When not performed after delivery, it can be done at a later time as an outpatient procedure. Essure is not done following childbirth but later as an outpatient procedure. Sterilization could also be the result of a hysterectomy. In men the sterilization procedure is called a vasectomy.

  • Failure Rate: 0.5%
  • Reversible: No
  • Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases: No
  • Additional benefits and/or significant negative side effects: If it fails, this procedure can increase the risk of a subsequent pregnancy growing in the fallopian tubes which is called an ectopic pregnancy and can lead to emergency surgery.

Removal of Fallopian Tubes

Removal of fallopian tubes can prevent ovarian cancerThe fallopian tubes are removed by transecting them from their connections to the uterus and the connective tissue that supports them. This does not effect the ovaries or the hormones that they produce.

At Women’s Health Wise we are encouraged by this research that offers a way to protect women from the deadliest type of gynecological cancer. We recommend that our patients discuss this procedure with our physicians to explore wether it is an appropriate option for them.