Plenty of birth control options are available today, allowing people of childbearing age the freedom to choose if or when they’re ready to get pregnant. With a trusted family medicine physician, you can choose your preferred method of birth control based on its effectiveness, ease of use, and any future plans of having children.
Family planning is a service you can get at Westmed Family Healthcare in Westminster, Colorado. Our board-certified specialists Clifton Etienne, MD, Michael Cavanagh, MD, and Flora Brewington, MD, teach you everything you need to know about the most advanced options for birth control and counsel you on making the right decision for your own.
Here, we’ll discuss five of the most widely used and effective birth control methods so you can make your decision with confidence. Our team at Westmed Family Healthcare can teach you how to use each of the following:
1. Oral contraceptives
Also known as “the pill,” oral contraceptives come in the form of small tablets you take by mouth. You must take the pill consistently every day to get the best results from using it to prevent pregnancy.
Oral contraceptives are just one of several types of hormonal birth control methods that use the hormones estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone) or progestin alone to stop you from ovulating. Aside from pregnancy prevention, specialists can prescribe oral contraceptives for other purposes including:
- Acne treatment
- Regulation of menstrual cycle
- Endometriosis treatment
- Reduction of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms
As beneficial as it may be, the pill doesn’t offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — condoms are the only option that does. You can use the two methods in tandem.
2. Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
A specialist can implant an IUD in your uterus where it stays for years to stop you from getting pregnant. IUDs are among the most effective forms of birth control with only a 0.1% rate of failure. They’re also reversible: Our team can remove your IUD at our office if you decide you want to get pregnant or if you want to explore other options for birth control.
One major draw of IUDs is that you don’t need to worry about taking a pill or missing a dose. Once in place, the IUD simply does its job and you don’t have to think about it. There are two types to consider:
Much like the pill, hormonal IUDs use progestin to prevent ovulation. They also thicken your cervical mucus, which deters sperm from getting to the egg.
IUDs made of copper create an environment in your uterus that is spermicidal, or toxic, to sperm.
3. The patch
The birth control patch releases estrogen and progestin into your bloodstream through your skin. You place a birth control patch on your skin once a week for three weeks of the month, then stop wearing it the fourth week, when you have your period.
4. Vaginal rings
Vaginal rings such as NuvaRing® are placed into your vagina to slowly release hormones and prevent pregnancy while in place. They follow a four-week cycle just like the patch. You keep the ring inserted for three weeks, then remove it for the fourth. Unlike IUDs, you can place and remove vaginal rings yourself.
Like other hormonal options for birth control, the vaginal ring both thickens your cervical mucus and prevents you from ovulating each month.
5. The implant
Our team can place a birth control implant, such as Nexplanon®, under the skin on your upper arm. The device is a small, slim rod and doesn’t cause any discomfort beyond some temporary aching after the procedure.
Once implanted, Nexplanon gradually releases hormones into your bloodstream for up to three years. Our team can remove it at any time earlier than that if your family planning goals change.
Start with a family planning visit
Want to learn more about birth control and compare your best options? To talk to our team at Westmed Family Healthcare, schedule an appointment by calling our office or booking online today.