Contraception exists in many forms and is used to prevent, delay or plan pregnancy. Birth control suppresses your ovulation, preventing your ovaries from releasing eggs every month. Depending on the day of your cycle that you begin taking contraception, you may need to continue to use back up contraception, such as condoms. It is important to note that most contraceptives do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and the use of condoms may reduce exposure to infection.
Consult your Gynecologist if you have any questions about the timing of your birth control or to decide on the best contraception for you. The different methods of contraception can be divided into two categories, short and long term.
Short-term contraception: Short-term contraception exists in the form of barrier contraceptives and hormonal combinations.
- Barrier contraceptives (condoms): Condoms decrease sexual transmission of HIV and other infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomonas. However, they may be less effective in preventing infections transmitted by skin-to-skin contact (such as Genital Herpes, Genital warts or syphilis) as they do not cover all exposed areas.
- Hormonal combinations:
- Pills: With conventional birth control pills, you will have your period every month on a set cycle. With continuous dosing birth control pills, you may have your period only four times per year or eliminate your period entirely while taking the pills.
- Patches: Birth control patches release estrogen and progestin into your blood, controlling the timing of your menstrual cycle. Typically, you apply one patch per week for three weeks and have your menstrual cycle the fourth week. Patches work very similarly to conventional birth control pills.
- Injectables: Injectable forms of birth control are typically used once every three months.
Long-term contraception method:
- Intrauterine Device (IUD): This is a device that is inserted into the uterus for long-term birth control. One form of IUD is wrapped with copper wire coils, causing a sterile inflammation in the uterus, acting as a spermicide. If fertilization does occur, the IUD will prevent the embryo from implanting in the lining of the uterus. Another form of IUD, sometimes referred to as a hormone secreting intrauterine system (IUS), releases a type of progestin, also preventing implantation of the embryo and suppressing ovulation. It is important to note that IUDs do not offer protection against STDs. These devices can be removed at any time.
- Delaying your period: Delaying your period may be convenient to time your menstrual cycle around important events, religious pilgrimage or vacation dates. It is a very easy process that involves oral medications (usually progesterone tablets or combined oral contraceptives). The drawbacks are that when you do get your period, it may be heavier than usual and you may experience more cramping. If you are interested in delaying your period, contact one of our physicians today. It not recommended to frequently delay your period.
To discuss your sexual health or speak about any concerns with your physician, schedule an appointment at Fakih Fertility Center today.