Women Birth Control Contraceptives Guide

As most people know, condoms are the only efficient way to protect against STD's. Although, there are better options when it comes to Birth Control. Preventing an unwanted pregnancy can be easy and also very beneficial. The type of person you are and the lifestyle you live can help you chose the method that is right for you. There are many different types of birth control and all have advantages and disadvantages. To help you understand the pros and cons of the different types of contraceptives we've compiled an easy to follow description of all the available methods out there.

The following is not meant to diagnose or cure any problems you may have, but instead to inform you of each contraceptive and how it works. When reading, please remember that the effectiveness of all the monthly contraceptives goes down if you smoke. Smoking is not only a hazard to your health but can cause complications with many medications. Never smoke if you think you may be pregnant. Be sure you inform your doctor that you are on birth control first thing before getting prescribed medications or undergoing procedures. If you think you may be pregnant before getting on one of the many options make sure to tell your doctor. Some hormones can complicate pregnancies and potentially harm your fetus.

"The Pill"

There are many different brands of the pill. They are all relatively the same thing with the exception of Lybrel. They come in two different packs. One is a 28-day cycle, while the other is only a 21-day cycle. Both packets have 21 hormone pills. The only difference is the 28-day pack has 7 sugar pills to help keep you on track while you have your period. You stop taking the hormone pills for 7 days when you are using the 21-day pack and start a new pack after the 7 days are up. Depending on how much time you have in your day can really affect your ability to keep up with the pill. One pill must be taken at the same time everyday. The risk of pregnancy goes up if you accidentally miss a day or are not taking it at the same time of the day consistently. If you happen to miss a day, it is okay. On the next day take two at your regular time. If you miss more then three days do not compensate. Wait until the next week and start over giving the pills a week to be effective again. You should always be sure to inform your partner that you have missed one and an alternative back up method should be used. The typical use of the pill will result in eight pregnancies for every 100 users. With perfect use, one to three out of 100 women will get pregnant. As with all birth control there are advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages consist of, protection against the following:

  • Acne
  • Cancer of the lining of the uterus
  • Cancer of the ovaries
  • Ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube)
  • Excess body hair
  • Iron deficiency anemia that can result from heavy menses
  • Non-cancerous breast growths
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Premenstrual symptoms, as well as related headaches and depression
  • Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse related to menopause

Some disadvantages are:

  • Must take everyday
  • Must take it at the same time everyday
  • Takes around 7 days to start working after starting it

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"The Shot" (Depo-Provera)(DMPA)

The shot is an injection in the arm or upper buttocks that protects against pregnancy for 12-14 weeks. Most women on the shot lose their periods while some have spotting or sporadic bleeding. The shot is a very effective form of birth control, in which for every 1,000-consistant perfect users only one to three women will get pregnant within the first year. Continued use will lower your risk of pregnancy. After receiving the shot, the place of injection will be bruised and sore for one to two days. Most women prefer to have the shot in the buttocks because it hurts less then the arm. The way the shot works is by not releasing an egg each month and thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from joining an egg. After discontinued use of the shot it may take a while before you can get pregnant and your regular menstrual cycle returns to normal. There have been studies that the shot also restricts calcium. It is highly recommended that when on the shot the user should make sure she gets her necessary 1200 mg of calcium a day, weather it's in her daily diet or in a supplement. You should get your next shot within the 12th week for best results.

Advantages:

  • Can be used by women who cannot take estrogen
  • Can be used while breastfeeding
  • Effective for 12-14 weeks
  • Ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube)
  • Helps prevent cancer of the lining of the uterus
  • No pill to take daily, nor nothing to worry about for 3 months.

Disadvantages:

  • Pregnancies, which very rarely occur, are more likely to be ectopic (in a fallopian tube)
  • Takes an average of nine to 10 months - or sometimes more than a year - to get pregnant after getting the shot.
  • Must receive shot every three months
  • The place of shot will most likely be sore and/or bruised for 1 to 2 days.
  • Not reversible if side effects start bothering you.
  • According to a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, women who use DMPA may be at risk for bone loss. The FDA says using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection for long periods of time may cause loss of bone density. The longer it is used, the more bone is lost. This bone may not return after a woman stops using the medicine. New warnings say that a women should not use DMPA, long-term, more than two years unless other birth control methods aren't right for her.

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Norplant

The norplant are 6 flexible match-size plastic implants that are inserted into the upper arm. They are constantly releasing hormones and protect against pregnancy for five to seven years. When getting the norplant, the doctor will numb your arm and make an incision and insert the implants. The process is very fast and effective after only 24 hours. If you chose to get the norplant and are over-weight you should only keep in for 5 years because it starts to become less effective. The big thing about the norplant is when it is time to get them out. It can be a complicated process and difficult to find a doctor that is able to take them out. It is especially hard to have them removed if you are over weight, as it can be hard to find them.

Advantages:

  • Protection for up to 7 Years
  • Getting them inserted takes only around 10 minutes
  • Effects start working within 24 hours
  • Can be used by women who cannot take estrogen
  • Can be used while breast-feeding
  • No medicine to take every day
  • Ability to become pregnant returns quickly when use is stopped

Disadvantages:

  • Can have irregular intervals between periods
  • May get longer or heavier menstrual flow
  • May have irregular bleeding or spotting between periods
  • May not have menstrual bleeding for months at a time
  • It can be hard to take them out. It may take more then one cut or visits to the doctor to get them out.

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"The Patch" (Ortho Evra)

The patch is a convenient form of birth control for those who like having their regular period. The effects are much like that of the pill. Although the patch can potentially be more effective than the pill when used correctly having on average less then one pregnancy for every 100 women. For three out of four weeks you wear a patch. Every week on the same day the patch will need to be replaced with a new one. On the fourth week no patch is worn so your regular period is present. The patch can be placed on your upper outer arm, buttocks, stomach, or upper torso, although never on the breast. The patch is very thin and beige colored. For the best results it should change location each week rotating in a relatively similar cycle over the months. Seven days must go by after first starting the patch for it to become fully effective. The patch can potentially be more effective than the pill when used correctly having on average less then one pregnancy for every 100 women.

Advantages:

  • Many women who use the Patch have more regular, lighter, and shorter periods
  • After stopping the patch, your ability to get pregnant returns quickly
  • Protects against most of the same things the pill protects.
  • Patch can withstand swimming and showering.

Disadvantages:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • May have changes in mood
  • If you have to under go a major operation where you will need to be on bed rest after it's completed, there's a high risk for blot clots.
  • Must be changed on the same day of the week.
  • Pregnancy can easily happen if the patch falls off for more then 24 hours.

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"The Ring" (NuvaRing®)

The ring is inserted once a month and kept in for 3 weeks. The fourth week, while using no ring, is for your period. Although unlikely, if left in for more then three weeks there can be a risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome). The effectiveness is very high, having less then one pregnancy for every 100 women that use the ring correctly. Some medicines-such as the antibiotic rifampin, some drugs that are used to help mental illnesses and controlled seizures, and certain medications for yeast infections that are taken orally-can reduce the effectiveness. The ring can be convenient because you still have your period but there is nothing to remember to do before having vaginal intercourse. The ring should be taken out on the same day put in, three weeks later. A new one should be inserted exactly one week later.

Advantages:

  • Protects against the same things as the pill
  • Only inserted once a month.
  • Does not interfere with sex.

Disadvantages:

  • Most of the disadvantages of the ring clear up after 2 to 3 months of use.
  • The patch and the ring are very similar with their advantages and disadvantages.

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