Long acting reversible contraceptives (known as LARCs) are very convenient and effective methods of birth control. They are not only more reliable than condoms and birth control pills, LARCs are also much less expensive to use over time. When a woman using LARCs decides she wants to get pregnant, she can have the contraception undone, or reversed, and be ready to conceive safely immediately.
Types Of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
Products such as the well-known NEXPLANON, are hormone-releasing birth control implants for women that prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years. The implant contains a progestin hormone called etonogestrel. It also contains a small amount of barium sulfate so that the implant can be seen by X-ray, and may also contain magnesium stearate.
The implant is a flexible plastic rod that resembles a matchstick. It is implanted just under the skin of the inner side of your upper arm. Once implanted, it may take up to a week to become effective. Your doctor can discuss with you the need to abstain from sex during that period of time or use a backup method of birth control, such as a condom.
NEXPLANON is very effective in preventing pregnancy but certain medications can affect its efficacy. Your doctor can discuss with you whether any medications you are taking would interfere with the NEXPLANON product.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDS)
IUD products are more than 99% effective in providing long-term birth control for women. An IUD is a T-shaped device that is placed inside the uterus by your doctor. The cervix keeps it in place. Once it is properly in place, you cannot feel it.
There are two forms of IUDs: non-hormonal and hormonal.
The first form is the popular, non-hormonal ParaGard IUD. It can provide birth control for up to ten years. It is a T-shaped plastic frame with a copper wire coiled around it. Once inserted into the woman’s uterus, it works by producing an inflammatory reaction that is toxic to sperm and eggs (ova), thus preventing pregnancy. It provides immediate birth control.
The second form of IUD is the hormonal IUD. The hormonal IUD products (Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, or Skyla) use progestin to prevent pregnancy in two ways: 1) they thicken the mucus of the cervix so that it blocks and traps the sperm, and 2) they can stop you from ovulating, meaning your ovary does not release eggs, thus depriving the sperm of the ability to fertilize an egg. These IUDs are effective for three to five years. Once in place, however, it may take a week to become fully effective. During that period of time, you should abstain from sex or use another form of contraception such as a condom.
IUDs may be removed at any time by your doctor. Once the IUD is removed, you can become pregnant immediately. IUDs have advantages over other forms of birth control. They can be used while breast-feeding and do not have side effects like blood clots and those related to some other hormonal birth control methods. Another benefit of an IUD is that it can be used for emergency contraception if inserted within five days after unprotected sex.
However, IUDs are not appropriate for all women. They should not be used by women who have uterine abnormalities such as some types of fibroids, a pelvic infection, or cancer. Your doctor can discuss whether an IUD is appropriate for you after a thorough examination and evaluation of your health.
Some injectable contraceptives are considered LARCs. They are not as long lasting as the methods described above, but injectables may be appropriate for women who choose not to use the implant or IUDs described above. Depo Provera is a progestogen-only hormonal injection which contains no estrogen. The injection must be given once every twelve weeks.
The other type of injection is a monthly injection containing combined formulations of estrogen and a progestin to prevent pregnancy. Using the injections requires regular visits to your doctor. If you use the injectables for a longer period of time, it may take time for you to be able to become pregnant once you stop the injections. You should discuss with your doctor other possible side effects resulting from continuous use of the injections for more than two years.
Talk To The Experts On Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
Women have many options when it comes to effective long-term, reversible contraception methods. When choosing the best method for your own lifestyle, you should discuss it with the experts at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness. Their highly-rated specialists will take the time needed to understand your entire health profile and determine the safest LARC for your health.
At Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness, the specialists truly care about their patients’ wellbeing and go the extra mile to ensure their patients use the contraception method that is the safest one for them. Contact Raleigh Gynecology for more information by calling 919.636.6670 or schedule an appointment online.