Contraceptive Counseling

Many options are available to women of all ages for birth control and choosing the right one can help you stay in control of your life. During your visit we will discuss the options available and assist you in choosing the contraception method that best fits your medical history and lifestyle.

The information here will help you understand the various forms of contraception and how the method we choose together may affect your life and your plans for the future.

Transdermal contraceptive patch
The transdermal contraceptive patch (brand name, Ortho Evra®) is a highly effective, weekly, hormonal birth control device worn on the skin to prevent pregnancy. Each patch is worn for one week and replaced on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks. It is then removed for the fourth week; this week is "patch free." The thin, smooth patch is one and three quarter inches square. It is beige and can be worn on the upper outer arm, the buttocks, the abdomen or the upper torso (excluding the breasts). It uses a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy - much like most birth control pills. Studies have shown that the patch remains attached and effective when you bathe, swim, exercise or wear it in humid weather. The patch is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy if used correctly and consistently and is uniformly easy to use across all ages. You do not have to do anything before, during or after sex.

Birth control pills
Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent pregnancy. Today's pills are safe and effective for most women if taken as prescribed. They can help protect against cancer of the ovaries and uterus and against infections of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. They may also lighten monthly periods and lessen cramps. Most birth control pills are taken for 21 days, followed by seven days of either a placebo or no pill. New, low-estrogen birth control pills reduce the amount of estrogen to 25 mcg. These formulations were developed with the goal of balancing the good cycle control of the higher-dose pills with the reduced estrogenic effects (e.g., bloating, headache, breast tenderness) of the lower-dose formulations.

Intrauterine system
The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (brand name, Mirena®) is a T-shaped system that is placed gently in your uterus (womb). It contains a five-year supply of a progestin hormone that prevents pregnancy. The system releases a low dose of the hormone each day.

Another intrauterine device (brand name, Copper-T) is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic that contains copper, which prevents pregnancy. The physician puts it in the womb, where it can remain for up to 10 years.

Each of these systems is extremely effective at preventing pregnancy. You don't have to do anything once it is in place. The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system may also make your monthly period lighter and less painful - and can reduce the anemia (low blood count) that heavy bleeding can cause. Both of these systems require insertion by a physician

Barrier methods
Barrier methods include over-the-counter and prescription methods. Male and female condoms, sponges, and spermacides can be purchased in drug stores; our office can also prescribe the diaphragm or cervical cap. Barrier methods are placed either in the woman's vagina or over a man's erect penis (condoms) before a couple has sex. You must use them correctly every single time you have sex. By using a barrier method, you have full personal control over its use. There is no need for special medical procedures or examinations. They are a useful, short-term option if you don't have sex often.

Birth control injections: 3-month
This injection (brand name, Depo-Provera®), which is given in the arm or buttocks once every three months, contains a single hormone (progestin) that prevents pregnancy. This is for women who want a form of birth control that endures longer than the monthly shot. It is safe, highly effective and long-lasting. There is no need for action before, during, or after sex. This particular injection helps protect women from cancer of the lining of the womb and reduces monthly bleeding and anemia.

Vaginal ring
The vaginal ring (brand name, Nuvaring®) is a flexible, thin, soft, doughnut-shaped device that delivers birth control hormones. Made of a special type of vinyl, it is worn continuously for three weeks in a row out of the month. It is folded and inserted into the vagina, where it slowly releases estrogen and progestin hormones for absorption into the bloodstream. The ring is about two inches in diameter, and one size fits all women. Women seldom feel the ring, and most partners are not disturbed by it during intercourse. After you have worn it for three weeks, remove it for a one-week break and then insert a new one. With correct and consistent use, the ring is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and you do not have to do anything before, during or after sex.