Technology never sleeps. After every imaginable pill has been created, there are now more methods of birth control available for women than ever before. Deciding which one to use can be a difficult task. Arm yourself with as much information as possible to help to ease the burden of making a major decision. Some of the newer forms of birth control come in the form of an injection, a patch, and implants.
Birth Control Injection
Depo-Provera is an injectable form of the hormone progestin. The injection goes into a woman’s arm or buttocks and provides protection against pregnancy for 12 weeks. Depo-Provera is monitored and given by your health care provider every 12 weeks. It is 99% effective against pregnancy. Side effects of Depo-Provera are similar to the Pill. 50% of women, who use Depo-Provera beyond a year, stop having periods while on the medication.
Birth Control Patch
Ortho Evra is a prescription patch that delivers continuous levels of estrogen and progesterone through the skin and into the bloodstream. The hormones in the patch prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg and also increase mucus production in the cervix, which makes it more difficult for sperm entry. The patch is about 99 percent effective if used correctly. It is less effective (92%) in women weighing more than 198 pounds.
How Birth Control Patch Is Used
The patch is a 1¾-inch square that contains the hormones in its adhesive layer. It can be worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, upper arm, or upper torso, but should not be worn on the breasts. One patch is worn continuously for one week and then replaced with a new patch, on the same day of the week, for a total of three weeks. No patch is worn during the fourth week when the menstrual period occurs. The patch is worn during bathing, showering, and swimming. No lotion or oil should be applied on or near the patch site.
Complications and Side Effects of Ortho Evra
An additional form of birth control is needed during the first seven days after applying the first patch. Some medications, such as antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, and migraine medications, can lessen the effectiveness of Ortho Evra. Use an additional birth control method while taking these medications. Side effects include mood swings, irregular bleeding, headaches, nausea, menstrual cramps, breast pain or tenderness and a possible allergic reaction to the adhesive. There is an increased risk for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke especially if you smoke.
Birth Control Implants
Implanon is an implanted form of progestin. A matchstick-sized rod is implanted into a woman’s upper arm. The implant releases a slow stream of progestin for up to three years. It is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Side Effects of Implanon
Some women will experience more bleeding, less bleeding, no bleeding, or breakthrough bleeding with Implanon. This is likely to continue for the entire three years unless you have the implant removed.
Side effects include weight gain, headache, mood swings, acne, and depression. Implanon is not recommended if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant. In addition, if you have a history of blood clots, unexplained vaginal bleeding, liver disease, or breast cancer, you should not use Implanon.
Being informed about these and all available birth control options will help you make the best choice for yourself and your lifestyle.