Choosing the right birth control can sometimes be overwhelming and frustrating. With so many options and perceived notions, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you. While there are many types, the one I suggest to all patients is condemns. While these are not a full proof method, they are a precaution and help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
For a more full-proof method, birth control pills are a popular choice. These reduce bleeding and pain for some women during their periods and help put the body on a predictable cycle to avoid spotting or bleeding outside of the monthly menstruation week. These must be taken daily and failure to do so could result in pregnancy.
If this is a concern, a contraceptive patch or ring might be a good alternative option. These methods are more permanent because they only need to be changed weekly or monthly. These have the same benefits of the pill in keeping a regular menstruation schedule while reducing bleeding and possibly pain.
An intrauterine device (more commonly referred to as an IUD) is another contraception method and can last for three, five or ten years. This non-hormonal option greatly reduces bleeding, with some women no longer experiencing monthly periods. This long acting, reliable solution is also easily reversible. Simple removal of the device can be done in a physician’s office with no interruption to daily activity. Some women experience more painful periods and irregular spotting with IUD’s.
Important factors for choosing a birth control include age and whether you plan on trying to get pregnant again. For teenagers, injections such as Depo-Provera are a common method as they last longer and don’t require a pelvic exam. Effective immediately, this shot reduces bleeding and is only needed up to four times a year to be effective. This method has been shown to cause weight gain and if used for more than two years, can lead to bone marrow deficiency. However this is quickly reversed once the shots are terminated.
When talking to your doctor about your options, find out about side effects, what will be required of you for it to be effective and what changes to expect in your body. Both control doesn’t have to be a nuisance, explore what option will work best to help keep you comfortable and on track.
** This blog post was written to provide guidance and potential risks associated with certain birth control methods and should not be taken as concrete medical advice, nor do the views above reflect the views of Colorado Complete Health for Women or the HealthONE organization. For medical questions or concerns, please discuss your own personal situation and treatment options with your physician.
Vanessa Gilliland, MD, received her medical degree from the University of Colorado and completed her residency at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital in Denver. Dr. Gilliland provides prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of obstetrical and gynecologic conditions in women of all ages. Specializing in maternity care, she performs minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, long acting reversible contraception and well-woman exams.