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Home » Women’s Health » Birth Control and Other Contraceptives

Birth Control and Other Contraceptives in Cincinnati, OH

If you are sexually active and you want to avoid pregnancy, there are several options. Sensitive, compassionate board-certified gynecologists (OB-GYN) Drs. Chandra Gravely and Cindy Hansel at Crescent Women’s Medical Group offer several hassle-free methods of birth control tailored for each woman according to her individual family planning goals. Our office serves patients in Cincinnati, Blue Ash, and the surrounding communities of Ohio.

Birth control methods vary widely in terms of ease of use, effectiveness, side effects and costs. Your choice of birth control should consider such factors as your overall health, the type and frequency of sexual activity you have, the need for protection from STIs, and your family planning goals. Our team of specialists can help you decide what form of birth control is most suitable for you.

What is Birth Control?

Birth control, or contraception, refers to a variety of methods used to deliberately prevent or avoid pregnancy. Birth control methods vary in their ease of use, effectiveness and side effects. Condoms are the only birth control method that, in addition to preventing pregnancy, also provides significant protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Long Acting Reversible Contraception

There are currently a variety of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) options on the market, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and NEXPLANON® (formerly IMPLANON®), a progesterone-containing rod that is implanted in the upper arm. These devices offer effective, reliable, reversible contraception because once they are inserted you don’t have to do anything else to prevent pregnancy. LARC devices provide excellent protection from pregnancy for anywhere from three to 10 years depending on the device, yet they may be removed at any time with no ill effects on future fertility. In fact, once an IUD or NEXPLANON® is removed, a woman may become pregnant after her first menstrual cycle. Although not as popular as traditional combined hormonal contraception (such as birth control pills, NuvaRing® and Ortho Evra® patch), many studies report that LARC users report the highest rates of continued use and satisfaction after one year of use.

Intrauterine Devices (IUDS)

IUDs are small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus to provide long-acting reversible contraception for up to five or 10 years, depending on the device.

IUDs are normally inserted in the doctor’s office, requiring a simple process similar to a Pap test. The IUD is gently inserted through the cervix and into the uterine cavity. The threads that trail from the bottom of the IUD through the cervix, which are there for the purpose of removing the IUD at a later date, are trimmed at the end of the procedure and may be checked by the user on a monthly basis to confirm that the IUD is still in place. The threads typically curl up and lie flush against the cervix; however, sometimes your partner may be able to feel these threads during intercourse. If this occurs and it’s bothersome, the threads may be trimmed further at the one-month follow-up appointment.

The most typical side effects at the time of IUD insertion are cramping and light bleeding, which may be relieved by taking ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) prior to the IUD insertion appointment. The main risks associated with IUDs include bleeding, infection, and very rarely, perforation of the uterine wall. If uterine perforation occurs, laparoscopic surgery is required to remove the IUD from the abdominal cavity. In some cases, the IUD may also be spontaneously expelled from the uterus through the cervix. The possibility of this happening is highest during the first month following insertion. The one-month follow-up appointment after any IUD insertion is extremely important in order to confirm that the IUD is in the correct location and functioning properly.

Women that have never been pregnant or those who have never given birth vaginally may safely use IUDs. IUDs are also a safe choice during the post-partum period and while breastfeeding, as there is no adverse effect on lactation or milk supply. There is no risk of affecting your baby’s health.

IUDs may be removed at any time, and you can become pregnant as early as one week after IUD removal. If you still wish to avoid pregnancy, you must immediately begin an alternative form of birth control once the IUD is removed.

NEXPLANON®

NEXPLANON® is a birth control method that protects against unwanted pregnancy for up to three years. NEXPLANON® is an implant consisting of a thin plastic rod that releases a progesterone hormone called etonogestrel to prevent pregnancy. NEXPLANON® is typically implanted beneath the skin on the inner part of the upper arm and is a simple procedure performed in the comfort of the doctor’s office using only local anesthesia and requiring a very small incision. Ideally, the implant is positioned at the time of your menstrual period, and if it occurs within five days of starting your period, you will be fully protected against pregnancy immediately. NEXPLANON® is also recommended for mothers who are breastfeeding since it does not affect milk production. NEXPLANON® has replaced the original IMPLANON® and is identical to IMPLANON® in size, concentration, and efficacy; however, the NEXPLANON® implant has an improved insertion device and contains a radio-opaque material so that it may be detected on an X-ray or CT scan if necessary.

NEXPLANON® is almost 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. NEXPLANON® not only prevents ovulation, but it also thickens the cervical mucus and alters the lining of the uterus, making conditions more difficult for conception. The most common side effect associated with NEXPLANON® is irregular, unpredictable menstrual bleeding, though some women also report weight gain (six to 12 percent), worsening acne (10 to 14 percent), mood swings or depression.

If NEXPLANON® is not optimal for you, the implant may be removed at any time and you may become pregnant as early as one week after NEXPLANON® is removed. Unless you wish to become pregnant, you will need to immediately begin using another method of birth control.

Many women seek guidance on the variety of available birth control methods today. Crescent Women’s Medical Group provides birth control counseling and contraceptive options for residents of Cincinnati, Blue Ash, and the surrounding communities of Ohio in the privacy of our friendly and compassionate office. Contact us today for an appointment.