Long-Term Birth Control
If you are not planning on having children for several years, different forms of long-term birth control can eliminate the routine associated with birth control pills, rings, or shots. Long-term birth control methods are extremely convenient, safe, and effective.
Implanon is a small, flexible birth control implant that is inserted under the skin of the arm. Implanon is about the size of a matchstick and can be left in place for three years. Most women cannot see the implant after it has been inserted. Implanon contains a hormone called etonogestrel and is more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Because Implanon does not contain estrogen, it may be a suitable method of birth control for you if you cannot tolerate or should not use estrogen.
Implanon prevents pregnancy in several ways. The most important way is by preventing the release of an egg from your ovary. Implanon also changes the mucus in your cervix, which may keep sperm from reaching the egg, and changes the lining of your uterus.
Implanon must be removed after three years. If you still desire long-term birth control after that time, your healthcare provider can insert a new implant after taking out the old one.
Implanon can be removed at any time if you decide you no longer wish to use it or want to become pregnant. After removal, your ability to get pregnant may return quickly. If you don’t want to become pregnant, you should start using another method of birth control immediately.
Implanon side effects
Like other forms of hormonal contraception, Implanon is associated with irregular menstrual bleeding. While using Implanon, you have experience more bleeding, less bleeding, or no bleeding. The time in between periods may vary, and you may experience spotting between periods. Other common side effects include headache, weight gain, acne, breast pain, abdominal pain, painful periods, nausea, dizziness, and mood swings.
IUD birth control
The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped plastic device inserted into the uterus. Its presence acts to disrupt the balance within the uterus and prevent fertilization. IUDs are approximately 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Depending on the type of IUD, they can be left in place between five to ten years, and require no attention during that time.
The Mirena IUD is a soft plastic device that releases hormones directly into the uterus. When properly placed, Mirena is more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, and can be left in place for five years. Mirena also provides an immediate return to fertility after removal.
Mirena also decreases or eliminates menstrual flow because it contains the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel. Mirena is also FDA-approved to treat heavy periods in women who desire intrauterine birth control.
Mirena side effects
Some women may experience discomfort during insertion, cramping, missed menstrual periods, changes in bleeding, abdominal pain, ovarian cysts, headache, or changes in mood. Less than five percent of users have experienced slight weight gain, nausea, breast tenderness, decreased sex drive, and skin irritations. Other risks include the device becoming embedded in the uterine wall, perforating the uterine wall, or expulsion (partially or completely falling out on its own).
Mirena may not be right for you if you have or have had pelvic inflammatory disease, liver disease, breast cancer, fibroid tumors, AIDS, or frequent infections.
Some women may prefer to use birth control without hormones, due to hormonal side effects or other medical conditions. ParaGard is a copper IUD that contains no hormones. It works by preventing sperm from reaching the egg, but it does not keep your body from releasing an egg and does not affect your normal menstrual cycle. ParaGard is more than 99 percent effective and can be left in place up to ten years.
ParaGard side effects
Some women experience heavier and longer periods for the first few months after ParaGard placement. These effects are usually temporary. You may also experience spotting between periods. Other risks associated with ParaGard include pelvic inflammatory disease, perforation of the uterus, or expulsion of the IUD.