An Inside Look into Hormonal Contraceptives

Birth control or contraception is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy before it begins. There are different methods available to keep you from getting pregnant, but professional help is essential in deciding the proper method for you. When choosing a birth control method for you, you need to factor in variables like potential side effects, convenience, cost, and future pregnancy plans. The following information discusses various hormonal methods of contraception that your Serenity Women’s Health & Med Spa healthcare provider may recommend.

Birth control implant

The implant is a small device that a healthcare provider places beneath the skin into the upper arm. It releases small amounts of progestin hormone, absorbed into the surrounding tissue. The hormone prevents ovulation and thickens your cervical mucus, making it hard for the sperm to penetrate and fertilize the egg. Besides being an effective method of birth control, the implant is also convenient; you don’t have to worry about using it correctly or remember to take it often. Once in place, the implant offers at least three years of protection from pregnancy but can be removed earlier if you prefer not to use it or want to get pregnant.

However, the implant has several drawbacks; for example, expect side effects such as pain, bruising, and redness from putting the implant. The most common side effects of the implants include irregular menstrual bleeding, but other possible side effects include acne, weight gain, breast pain, and nausea.

The combined pill

The pill is an oral contraceptive that contains estrogen and progestin hormones; it keeps you from getting pregnant by:

  • Thickening the cervical mucus, making it impenetrable to the sperm
  • Preventing ovulation
  • Keeping your uterus lining thin.

The pill has additional benefits; for example, it makes menstrual bleeding more regular with a lighter flow and fewer days of bleeding. Women who use the combined pill report a reduction in menstrual cramps and acne. The combined pill also reduces your risk of iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cancer, and uterine lining cancer. However, one potential downside to the pill is that you have to remember to take it every day, which is inconvenient for most people. Common side effects of using the combined pill include breast tenderness, nausea, mood changes, bloating, and irregular bleeding. These side effects usually resolve within the first two to three months without treatment.

Progestin-only pill

As the name suggests, progestin-only pills, also called mini-pills, only contain progestin hormone. They are an alternative for women who cannot or should not take estrogen, such as breastfeeding mothers and patients with high blood pressure. Progestin-only pills are equally effective as the combined pill when taken ideally at the same time every day. However, they have a higher failure rate when you take the pill three hours later than the expected time. If you are more than three hours late or skip a pill, you should use a backup form of birth control for at least seven days. Most women who use progestin-only pills experience breakthrough bleeding or spotting.

If you need help choosing a birth control method, consult your doctor at Serenity Women’s Health & Med Spa.