Hormonal contraception methods are very reliable in preventing pregnancy. Hormones can be introduced into your body through the various methods described below. Which method of hormonal contraception best suits your needs depends on a range of factors, including your overall health, age, plans for having children and other factors.
How Hormonal Contraception Works
How hormonal contraception works depends on the types and combination of hormones used. Each method will prevent pregnancy in one or more of the following three ways:
- Prevents ovulation by stopping your ovaries from releasing eggs.
- Thickens your cervical mucus to impair sperm from reaching an egg.
- Thins the lining of your uterus to prevent any fertilized egg from attaching itself to your uterus.
Description Of The Types of Hormonal Contraception
Each contraception method described below differs in the way it delivers the hormones into your body. They may also differ in the hormonal composition and dosage.
Hormonal contraceptives are very reliable when they are used properly. The most reliable forms of hormonal contraception are those that reduce the possibility of human error. For example, when the woman forgets to take a contraceptive pill every day or fails to replace a hormonal patch or vaginal ring in time, an egg may be released and fertilized, resulting in pregnancy. However, when the contraceptive method is used properly, studies show that only about 1 out of 1,000 women get pregnant per cycle.
Combination Birth Control Pills
Combination birth control pills contain both progestin and estrogen. Different combination contraceptive products are taken on different schedules. One of the most common products requires taking a single pill once a day for 21 to 24 days, depending on the product used. It is not taken for four to seven days to allow your menstrual period to occur. Then, you will resume the same cycle of taking a pill each day with a break for four to seven days, and so forth.
Another combination contraceptive product has a schedule of taking a pill each day for 12 weeks, then not taken for one week. On this schedule, you will have menstrual periods only four times each year. With yet another product, you take a pill every day. With this product, you will not have a period, but you are more likely to experience irregular bleeding.
Progestin Only Pills
Progestin-only pills are taken every day at the same time of day. Progestin-only pills are prescribed when taking estrogen may be harmful to a woman’s health. Often, progestin-only pills are suitable for certain women who suffer from migraines, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
The hormonal patch is a skin patch that contains estrogen and progestin. It is attached to your skin with an adhesive. The patch should be left in place for one week. After one week, the patch should be removed and a new patch placed on a different area of your skin. This weekly cycle must be repeated on the same day of each week for three weeks. For the fourth week, no patch is used to allow your menstrual period to occur. This weekly cycle should be repeated each month to use the hormonal patch as your contraception method.
The patch is effective immediately if you start using it during the first five days of your period. Otherwise, you need to use a backup method of birth control for the first seven days of starting the patch.
Note that the patch may be less effective in women who are overweight.
Similar to the hormonal patch, the vaginal ring contains estrogen and progestin. The vaginal ring is a small flexible, soft, transparent device that you place in your vagina.
Two types of vagina rings are available:
- One that must be replaced each month.
- One that must be replaced only once a year.
The contraceptive implant is a matchstick-sized rod containing progestin. Your healthcare provider will insert it under the skin of your upper arm. It releases the hormone slowly into your body and remains effective for up to three years. It is a highly effective method of hormonal contraception.
The hormonal shot requires an injection of a progestin hormone by a health care provider once every three months. The injection is a highly effective method of hormonal contraception.
Also, it does not increase the risk of developing breast, ovarian, or invasive cervical cancer. It reduces the woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, pelvic infections, and iron deficiency anemia.
Talk With Raleigh Gynecology And Wellness About Hormonal Contraception
Hormonal contraceptive methods are safe and highly effective for most women. Find out which method is most suited to your needs by consulting with Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness specialists. They can answer your questions about the various methods available and schedule an appointment to get you started on a reliable contraception regimen.