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Pills, Patch, or Ring? A Brief Guide to Birth Control

     

Birth Control Pills (oral contraceptives)

What:

  •  The average birth control pills usually contain doses of estrogen and progestin.
  • They come in packs or 21 or 28 pills and are to be taken daily.
  • The hormones are taken for 21 days, and for 7 days they are either not taken, or placebo pills are taken. During these seven days is when the menstrual period occurs

How:

  •  They inhibit ovulation in females, and create a mucus layer just within the cervix which blocks sperm cells from entering the uterus.
  •  They can be up to 99% effective, depending on if it is taken every day, at around the same time each day.

Pros:

  • Very efficient
  •  Inexpensive
  •  Can help with acne problems
  • Can reduce symptoms of PMS
  • Lighter, shorter periods
  • Regular periods
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces risk of

Ovarian and Endometrial cancer

  • Reversible

Cons:

  • Does not protect against STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
  • Possible side effects within the first couple months
  • Must be taken at the same time everyday
  • Requires a prescription

Popular Brands of Birth control Pills:

Yasmin, Yaz, Alesse, Cyclen, Tri-Cyclen, Ortho-cept

 

Birth Control Patch

 

 

What:

  • A thin beige adhesive patch that sticks to the skin (worn on the arm, abdomen, or buttocks) and releases estrogen and progestin.
  • One patch lasts 7 days, and 3 patches are used in one month.
  • For one week no patch is used and this results in a menstrual period.

How:

  • Inhibits fertilization by preventing ovulation
  • Will thicken the mucus in the cervix
  • May thin the lining of the uterus
  • It is 99% effective if the patch does not fall off, and a new patch is replaced within 24 hours.
  • It is more effective than birth control pills because it does not need to be “taken” everyday.


Pros (Similar to Birth Control Pills):

 

  • Can help with acne problems
  • Can protect against pelvic inflammatory disease and etopic pregnancy
  • Reduces the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers
  • Does not need to be taken everyday
  • Lighter, shorter, and more regular periods
  • Reversible

Cons:

  • Does not protect agasint STI’s
  • Requires a prescription
  • It can fall off due to loss of adhesiveness
  • It may be less effective for heavier women
  • It can cause skin irritation
  • Slightly more expensive than Birth Control Pills

 

Popular Brand of a Birth Control Patch:

Ortho-Evra patch

Birth Control Ring

What:

  • A small flexible ring that is inserted and worn in the vagina for three weeks.
  • It releases low doses of estrogen and progestin for three weeks, and is removed for 7 days.
  • For one week no patch is used and this results in a menstrual period.

How:

  • Inhibits fertilization by preventing ovulation
  • Will thicken the mucus in the cervix
  • may thin the lining of the uterus
  • As effective as the birth control pill, possibly more effective because it does not require daily consumption, like the pill.

Pros:

  • Can reduce symptoms of PMS
  • Can help with acne problems
  • Can protect against pelvic inflammatory disease and etopic pregnancy
  • Reduces the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers
  • Lighter, shorter, more regular periods
  • Does not need to be taken every day, only taken out replaced every month
  • Reversible

Cons:

  • Requires a prescription
  • May fall out
  • May cause a yeast infection
  • Does not protect against STI’s
  • More expensive than birth control pills and patches

Popular Brand of Contraceptive Ring:

NuvaRing

 

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