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Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
Jun 22nd, 2011 Headlines

Condoms and “the pill” aren’t the only forms of birth control. Women today should be aware of some long acting reversible contraceptives, which may just be the better alternative.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has updated its most recent recommendations from 2005 and says that these birth control methods are good options for most women of reproductive age, including teenagers.  The fact that they are safe and low maintenance, make them ideal choices for many ladies out there.

Two examples of these long-lasting reversible birth control methods are IUDs and hormone implants. It is a common misconception that IUDs, in particular, are dangerous.  The older IUD that was commonly used in the 1970’s was associated with an increased risk of serious infection. The newer models, however, are much safer and the risk of infection is now quite small.  Due to the ease of use and effectiveness, numerous doctors are now recommending it to women of all ages.

What exactly is an IUD and how does it work? An IUD (or intrauterine device) is a small T-shaped piece of plastic that is either wrapped in copper or contain hormones to increase their effectiveness. The IUD is placed directly into the uterus by a healthcare provider and can be left in place for 5 to 10 years.

There may be a few side effects when using an IUD. Women with the copper IUD may experience greater cramping or bleeding with their period at first. These side effects, however, usually get better over time. Hormonal IUDs, like the Mirena, contain a small amount of the hormone progestin which can cause headache, weight gain, mood changes and irregular bleeding. These side effects, too, usually get better with time.

Fewer than 6% of women in the United States used IUDs between 2006 and 2008. Although there aren’t a rather large number of women who use IUDs, they are extremely effective with a failure rate of less than 1%.

The small percentage of users may be due to a few problems. One problem is that women aren’t too familiar with them.   On top of the unfamiliarity, the costs upfront for an IUD, between $400 and $750, can be higher than for other birth control methods.  Although the initial out of pocket expense may be higher, they are more cost-effective than other contraceptive methods in the long run, and may be covered by health insurance.

Another form of reversible, long term birth control is contraceptive or hormonal implants. They are matchstick-sized rods that are placed under the skin in the upper arm.  The contraceptive implants emit a progestin hormone for three years. They are actually a little more effective than IUDs with a failure rate of 0.5% for most users.

These two contraceptive methods are great options for many women out there. They are safe and effective methods that provide women with the convenience of not having to worry about taking a pill, inserting a diaphragm, or ensuring that their partner is wearing a condom. In addition, these methods are especially helpful for adolescents who may have a hard being consistent with birth control.  The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that they will not prevent STDs. Therefore, you still have to use condoms for protection from sexually transmitted infections.

For more information, visit this article.



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