Do you like confusion? Probably not. No one wants to experience this when it comes to their health. There are so many birth control options available now that it can make your head spin. Are you aware of what’s available and the pros/cons associated? Read on to learn about a few popular options:
This type of pill goes by the name Estrostep Fe, LoEstrin 1/20, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Yasmin or Yaz. It can be used to ease hot flashes and correct irregular periods. When taken every day at about the same time, it’s 99 percent effective for preventing pregnancy. This shouldn’t be taken by smokers and those 35 and older (because the estrogen can cause dangerous blood clots) and people suffering from migraines (because it can trigger headaches).
These go by the names Micronor, Nora-BE, Nor-QD and Ovrette. Progestin-only pills don’t contain estrogen and are known as “the mini pill”. This is a safer option for heart disease patients, smokers, diabetics and those who risk getting blood clots. Women who are breast-feeding can also know that these pills won’t reduce their milk supply. They need to be taken at exactly the same time every day. If you can’t do that, you should look for another option.
This pill is called Lybrel, Seasonale and Seasonique. The extended cycle pill prevents pregnancy and allows a woman to have her period every three months. That is, unless she’s taking Lybrel, which stops menstruation for a year, but needs to be taken every day. It may be a risk because there’s no long-term research that shows it’s safe to not have a period. Yet, there isn’t any that proves this is dangerous.
This ring is made of plastic and acts like the combination pill, delivering both progestin and estrogen. Women who have blood clots, smoke or have certain cancers should not use this form of birth control.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
Mirena and ParaGard are names for the IUD. ParaGard keeps sperm from reaching the egg and is surgically implanted. Mirena is also implanted surgically and works by releasing hormones. IUDs are more than 99 percent effective and last for 10 years. This may not be a wise option unless you’ve already given birth, as it can be painful when the uterus is expanded after implantation. Also, look for other methods if you’re planning on having children in a couple years–it’s costly and not likely worth short-term use for many.
Norplant and Implanon are examples of implants. They are small (about matchstick size) and placed under the skin on a woman’s upper arm. Implants are almost 100 percent effective and last for three years. Women who are overweight or taking St. John’s wort may want to consider other options, as it may not be as effective.