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6 Hormonal Birth Control Methods You Should Know About


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Hormonal birth control refers to contraceptive methods that contains either estrogen and progestin (combined hormonal contraceptives) or progestin alone (progestin-only contraceptives). Hormonal birth control methods are generally a reliable way to prevent unwanted pregnancy for most people.


In this article, we will go into detail about each hormonal birth control method for you to gain a better understanding.


1. Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are oral medications that contain a combination of estrogen and progestin (Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill) or just progestin alone (Progestin-Only Pill).

Efficacy rate: 93%³

Benefits:

  • Help maintain regular periods for women

  • Reduce menstrual cramps and pain

  • Help manage acne

  • May reduce risk of ovarian and endometrium cancer

Potential side effects: Mood changes, nausea, bloating, breast tenderness and irregular menstrual bleeding¹


2. Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Intrauterine device or IUD is a small T-shaped device that is placed into the female uterus to help prevent pregnancy.

There are 2 types of IUD:

  • Copper-containing IUDs

o Efficacy rate: 99.2%³

o Lasts for at least 10 years

o May cause heavier and longer menstrual periods


  • IUDs with progestin

o Efficacy rate: 99.6 – 99.9%³

o Can last up to 6 years depending on the brand of IUD used

o May reduce menstrual bleeding and pain

o Menstrual periods may stop for some women and will return upon IUD removal

Benefits:²

  • Ideal birth control method if you do not plan to get pregnant for at least 1 year

  • Highly effective and does not require constant attention

  • Suitable for those unable to use estrogen-based methods

  • Relatively few side effects that are reversible

  • Fertility is restored upon removal

  • Provides anonymity of use

Potential side effects: Irregular menstrual bleeding, lighter or no monthly periods at all, infection after placement of IUD, expulsion of IUD out of uterus, uterine perforation²


3. Birth Control Implants

Birth control implants are single-rod progestin implants that a healthcare provider inserts into the upper arm of a female. Birth control implants are highly effective for at least 3 years and can be removed sooner if needed.²

Efficacy rate: 99.9%³

Benefits:²

  • Quick return of fertility after 1 or 2 weeks of removal

  • Highly effective and does not require constant attention

  • Provides anonymity of use

  • May reduce menstrual pain and heavy bleeding

  • Suitable for those that cannot use estrogen-based birth control methods

Potential side effects: Irregular bleeding, headaches, pain or bruising at site of insertion, nausea²


4. Injectable Birth Control

An injection of long-acting hormone progesterone deep into the muscles (buttock or upper arm of the female) or under the skin every 3 months.

Efficacy rate: 96%³

Benefits:¹

  • Provides anonymity of use

  • Does not require constant attention

  • Decreased risk of uterine cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Suitable for those who are unable to use estrogen-based methods of birth control

Potential side effects: Irregular and prolonged menstrual bleeding, spotting, weight gain, pain at injection site¹

Source: BSIP / Getty Images

Birth control skin patches should not be used in women with >30kg/m2 BMI due to reduced effectiveness.¹


5. Birth Control Skin Patches

Similar to birth control pills, these skin patches contain estrogen and progesterone. Some people may prefer patches as they do not need to remember to take the pill every day; however, others may not like having a visible patch on their skin.

Efficacy rate: 93%³

Benefits:¹

  • Help maintain regular periods

  • Reduce menstrual cramps and pain

  • Help with acne

  • May reduce risk of ovarian and endometrium cancer

  • Does not require constant attention

Potential side effects: Mood changes, nausea, bloating, breast tenderness and irregular bleeding¹


6. Vaginal Rings

Flexible plastic rings which contain estrogen and a progestin that are inserted into the female vagina. The hormones are slowly absorbed into the women’s body. There are 2 types of vaginal rings whereby one type of ring lasts a whole year, while the other type of vaginal ring needs to be discarded and replaced each month.

Efficacy rate: 93%³

Benefits:¹

  • Help maintain regular periods

  • Reduce menstrual cramps and pain

  • Help with acne

  • May reduce risk of ovarian and endometrium cancer

  • Provides anonymity of use

  • Does not require constant attention


Infection Risk with Birth Control It is important to note that use of estrogen-based birth controls and IUD with progestin have been linked to an increased risk of yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.⁴ Hence, you can consider taking probiotics such as combination Lactobacillus probiotic strains GR-1™ and RC-14™ found in Pro-Uro™ that have been clinically shown to help with the mentioned urogenital conditions. They work by producing anti-microbial agents, inhibiting the adhesion of harmful pathogens in the vagina and promoting a healthy vaginal flora.⁵'⁶'⁷'⁸ In addition, probiotics such as GR-1™ and RC-14™ are safe to be taken for long term as compared to medical drugs. Potential side effects: Mood changes, nausea, bloating, breast tenderness and irregular bleeding¹


Summary

  • Each hormonal birth control method has its pros and cons.

  • You should consider the benefits, side effects, and future pregnancy plans when choosing a birth control method.

  • You may speak to a healthcare professional to help with your decision-making.

  • Some hormonal birth control methods can lead to an increased risk of vaginal infections and probiotics like GR-1™ and RC-14™ can help manage them.


This health article is brought to you by Miraco Nutripharm. With clinically proven women’s probiotic Pro-Uro™ as our key product, we believe in sharing about common health topics relevant to women.


References

  1. Kaunitz AM. Patient education: Hormonal methods of birth control (Beyond the Basics). In: UpToDate, Post TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021.

  2. Kaunitz AM. Patient education: Long-acting methods of birth control (Beyond the Basics). In: UpToDate, Post TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birth Control Methods.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [reviewed 2020 Aug 13; cited 2021 Sep 23]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm.

  4. Rezk M, Sayyed T, Masood A et al. Risk of bacterial vaginosis, Trichomonas vaginalis and Candida albicans infection among new users of combined hormonal contraception vs LNG-IUS. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2017 May;22(5): 344-348

  5. Anukam K, Osazuwa E, Ahonkhai I et al. Augmentation of antimicrobial metronidazole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Microbes Infect. 2006 May;8(6):1450-4

  6. Rafael C, Martinez RC, Franceschini SA et al. Improved cure of bacterial vaginosis with single dose of tinidazole (2 g), Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 55(2): 133-138

  7. Martinez RC, Franceschini SA, Patta MC et al. Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with fluconazole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2009 Mar;48(3):269-74

  8. Kingsley C. Anukam, Martin U. Duru, Clinton C. Eze, Johnbull Egharevba, Alfred Aiyebelehin, Andrew Bruce & Gregor Reid (2009) Oral use of probiotics as an adjunctive therapy to fluconazole in the treatment of yeast


Disclaimer: The article content is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are given in relation to the medical information supplied in the article, and that no liability will accrue to Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd or any affiliated authors in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information.

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