Not your Parent’s Birth Control
Birth control for women has come a long way over the years. But, with so many options to choose from, what’s the best method for you? Coordinated Health Gynecologist Gayllyn Faust-Rakos breaks down some birth control options and how to choose what’s best for you.
As a gynecologist, Gayllyn Faust-Rakos, D.O. counsels women in all stages of their life about the different choices of birth control available. “I view myself as an advocate for my patients reproductive planning. I help women to identify their reproductive goals and help them plan for those goals,” says Dr. Faust-Rakos.
Dr. Faust-Rakos says there are several factors that influence a women’s decision on birth control, including whether they are looking for something that is long-term. Long acting reversible birth control (LARC) options include intrauterine devices (IUD’s), progesterone implants (Nexplanon) and injectable progesterone like depo provera.
IUD’s are small plastic devices inserted into the uterus and left there for up to five years. There are two forms. One that releases progesterone and another that does not. They must be inserted and removed by a healthcare professional. Birth control implants are small, flexible rods the size of a matchstick that are inserted into the upper arm. It releases progesterone and prevents pregnancy for up to three years. According to Dr. Faust-Rakos, they can be removed at any time and they are convenient for those with a busy lifestyle.
Dr. Faust-Rakos says that birth control pills are a popular option among women of all ages. The pills are taken on a daily basis and work by using hormones to stop the release of an egg so that it can’t be fertilized. Birth control patches and birth control rings work similarly and are over 95 percent effective when taken correctly.
In addition to being used as birth control, Dr. Faust-Rakos states there are numerous benefits to hormonal contraceptives. “They promote regular menstrual cycles and decrease blood loss. They can be used to decrease symptoms associated with fibroids, decrease the formation of ovarian cysts, treat endometriosis, or symptoms associated with perimenopause. They can also be beneficial on bone mass and decrease the risk of PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), as well as decrease uterine and ovarian cancer risks,” she counsels.
When it comes to birth control, Dr. Faust-Rakos stresses the importance of seeing your physician. “As a gynecologist, I strive to define a woman’s reproductive goals and help her create a reproductive life plan. I take in factors like age, cost, medical and family history, desired fertility, ease of use and more,” she says.