I wanted to take this opportunity to review a very important topic. briefly. This is my first blog post, and I think it will be the one that keeps giving, because fortunately there are so many birth control options. I will start with a summary now, and hope to revisit more options in the future.
Birth control or contraception is primarily of course intended to prevent unplanned pregnancies. There are many different varieties of contraception available to us… and the exciting news is there are new contraceptive options just this year. I think this is phenomenal because pregnancy prevention and family planning can still be improved on.
For the purposes of this blog I will try to arrange contraception by categories. Let’s focus on what most people are the most interested in these days, hormonal contraception and non-hormonal contraception.
Hormonal contraception includes the infamous birth control pills. Most birth control pills combine estrogen and progesterone to interfere with ovulation. This requires daily use. Birth control pills can also have desired impacts on skin in the treatment of acne and facial hair. Birth control pills also can lead to improvement in symptoms such as PMS, menstrual cramps, and pelvic pain.
Other hormonal contraceptives include the birth control patch, which also combines estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation. These patches are changed weekly. This increases the ease of use by eliminating the need to use a pill daily.
I would also include the contraceptive ring in the hormonal category. The NuvaRing, is a ring that uses estrogen and progesterone to interfere with ovulation. The ring remains in the vagina for 3 weeks at a time before it is discarded, and a new one is placed.
TRUMPETS PLEASE: because I have the rare opportunity of introducing a new form of contraception. Annovera. This, like the NuvaRing, is a form of contraception which uses estrogen and progesterone to interfere with ovulation. Unlike the NuvaRing, this ring is good for an entire year. This means, it is not necessary to travel to the pharmacy or wait for a new ring in the mail to continue contraception for the year. Any contraceptive that reduces obstacles in its design improves compliance.
This concludes the hormonal contraceptives I’ll list here that interfere with ovulation. (I have left out Depo-Provera, and Nexplanon but hope to address this in another blog)
There are a group of intrauterine contraceptive devices, IUD’s, which contain a progesterone. However, these devices are not designed to interfere with ovulation. The progesterone in these IUD’s acts primarily on the uterine lining so that menses become lighter and shorter. This can also result in the favorable affect of less pelvic pain and menstrual cramps. These devices are good for 3-7 years depending on the device chosen. Two of the IUD’s in this category – the Skyla and Kyleena- are smaller than the others and very ideal for young women who have never given birth.
The IUD is my favorite form of contraception because it is as effective as permanent sterilization and immediately reversible.
Nonhormonal methods of contraception include condoms and diaphragms. There is also a non-hormonal IUD, the ParaGard IUD which is also an effective contraceptive option. It is effective for 10 years.
There is a new non hormonal option available to us now -TRUMPET FANFARE: Phexxi. This is a vaginal gel which is inserted into the vagina 1 hour prior to intercourse. There it interferes with the mobility of sperm to prevent pregnancy. It is available by prescription.
I am so excited there are new forms of contraception this year. I am optimistic contraception and family planning will continue to evolve to allow women greater control over their reproductive plans. The contraceptives I have reviewed here are not comprehensive and I look forward to exploring contraception in greater detail via blog in the future.