Birth control is the act of preventing unwanted pregnancies, but that’s not all it does. For many women, birth control can help regulate menstruation and ease painful cramps and menstrual migraines. Taking birth control can also help manage the painful symptoms of endometriosis and lower testosterone levels for women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Selecting the right birth control method for your lifestyle
Whether you want to ease painful symptoms of endometriosis and PCOS or wait until the time is right, have all the children you want, or choose not to have children, there are safe temporary, semi-permanent or permanent methods that can work for you:
- Birth control pill – A once-a-day estrogen and progestin birth control pill prevents ovulation from occurring. It also thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to swim.
- Contraceptive implant (Nexplanon) – A small rod is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm to provide birth control for up to three years.
- Birth control patch – The patch is a small, thin, beige piece of plastic that looks like a square bandage. Each patch is worn for three weeks, followed by a week without.
- Depo-Provera injection – This is a simple shot of the hormone progestin that provides effective birth control for 12 weeks.
- Birth control sponge – The sponge is a small, two-inch piece of white plastic foam, infused with spermicide, that is inserted into the vagina and sits like a “cap” on the cervix for up to 30 hours.
- NuvaRing – This is a small, flexible vaginal ring that is inserted into the vagina and worn for three weeks, followed by a week without. Similar to the pill and patch, the ring releases hormones over time to prevent pregnancy.
- Cervical cap – A small silicone cap that fits over your cervix, blocking sperm from reaching the egg. Unlike the sponge that comes infused with spermicide, the cervical cap should be used with spermicidal cream or gel, and should be inserted up to 6 hours before intercourse.
- Diaphragm – Similar to the cervical cap, only larger, the diaphragm works by blocking sperm from entering the cervix via a physical barrier and spermicide.
- Female condom – The female condom is a small pouch that goes inside the vagina during intercourse to collect semen.
- Intrauterine device (IUD) – This is a small, T-shaped, copper device that sits just inside the uterus. Sperm doesn’t like copper, so it avoids swimming near the egg. A major benefit of IUDs is their longevity lasing 5-10 years, depending on the type of IUD that is right for you.
- Tubal sterilization – This is a medical procedure in which all or part of your fallopian tubes is removed — preventing pregnancy.
Selecting the right birth control method is an important, personal decision for every woman. Ask one of our Summit OB/GYN doctors about safe, effective birth control in Gillette Wyoming. We’re happy to give you the pros and cons of each method to help guide your decision-making process.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 307-682-6263.