HEALTH INFO

BIRTH CONTROL

How do Contraceptives Work?

Contraceptives are methods of preventing or ending pregnancy, also referred to as “birth control,”and work in three ways:

  1. Prevent Fertilization. Fertilization is the union of a man’s sperm and woman’s egg. Some contraceptives create a physical barrier to block sperm from reaching an egg. Male and female condoms and the diaphragm are examples.

  2. Make the Uterus Hostile to Implantation.* Contraceptives can attempt to prevent a baby from implanting in the mother’s uterus after fertilization by creating a hostile environment. Intra-uterine Devices (IUDs) and chemical methods are in this category.

  3. Alter Body Chemistry.* Typically referred to as “hormonal” contraceptives, synthetic steroids like the pill mimic hormones to prevent pregnancy by changing a woman’s body chemistry, which has three impacts:

  • Prevent ovulation, the release of the egg each menstrual cycle.

  • Produce less and thicker mucus in the cervix so that sperm cannot easily enter the uterus.

  • Thin the lining of the uterus, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

 

Chemical contraceptives include the oral birth control pill, Depo-Provera injection, patch, and implant. Chemical methods provide no protection against STDs and can actually increase your risk of getting an STD by making your reproductive tract more vulnerable to infection. [See Birth Control and STDs]

 

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*Note: Methods in categories 2 and 3 can be ‘abortifacient,’ meaning that they end the life of a developing baby.

More Birth Control Information

Contraceptive Effectiveness & Side Effects


A woman tends to choose birth control based on what she considers to be the most convenient and effective method for her. However, it’s important to weigh carefully the risks and side effects of each method. Using contraceptives cannot guarantee the prevention of pregnancy. Contraceptives were used during the month of conception in 48% of unintended pregnancies.1 Male Condom

  • 82-98% effective at preventing pregnancy2
  • 60-79% effective at preventing STDs3
Female Condom
  • 79-95% effective at preventing pregnancy4
Diaphragm or Cervical cap
  • 84-94% effective at preventing pregnancy5
  • Increases risk of vaginal infection, making a woman more vulnerable to contracting STDs6
Birth Control Pill
  • 91-99% effective at preventing or terminating pregnancy7
  • Makes a woman’s reproductive tract more suseptible to infection, increasing her risk of contracting an STD by 30%.8
  • Multiplies risk of heart attack by up to 2.3 and risk of stroke by up to 2.29
  • Increases risk of glioma, a rare brain cancer, by 50% with short-term use. Five years of birth control pill use doubles a woman’s risk.10
  • Listed by the World Health Organization as a Class 1 carcinogen for increased risk of breast and liver cancers11
  • For nearsighted women, six months of using the pill has been shown to increase nearsightedness 2 or 3 times.12
Depo-Provera Shot
  • 94-99% effective at preventing pregnancy13
  • Associated with decreased bone mineral density, weight gain and increased risk of breast cancer14
The Patch
  • 91-99% effective at preventing pregnancy15
  • Multiplies risk of stroke by 3.216
Implant / IUD
  • 99% effective at preventing or terminating pregnancy17
  • 47% of implant users experience adverse effects, including severe acne and weight gain18
___________________________________________________________________ Finer LB, Henshaw SK (2006). Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001. Perspect Sex Repro H, 38(2): 90-6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2011). “How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.” FAQ009. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm Rosenberg MJ, Davidson AJ, Chen JH, Judson FN, Douglas JM (1992). Barrier contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases in women: a comparison of female-dependent methods and condoms. Am J Public Health. 82(5):669-74. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm Rosenberg MJ, Davidson AJ, Chen JH, Judson FN, Douglas JM (1992). Barrier contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases in women: a comparison of female-dependent methods and condoms. Am J Public Health. 82(5):669-74. Lidegaard Ø, Løkkegaard E, Jensen A, Skovlund CH, Keiding N (2012). “Thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction with hormonal contraception.” N Engl J Med, 366(24): 2257-66. Andersen L, Friis S, Hallas J, Ravn P, Kristensen BW, Gaist D (2014). Hormonal contraceptive use and risk of glioma among younger women a nationwide case-control study. Br J Clin Pharmacol. DOI: 10.1111/bcp.12535 [ePub ahead of print]. International Agency for Research on Cancer (1999). Hormonal Contraception and Post-Menopausal Hormonal Therapy. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 72: 288-94. American Society of Health System Pharmacists (2010). AHFS Drug Information 2010: Bethesda, MD, p. 3112. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm Bigrigg A, Evans M, Gbolade B, Newton J, Pollard L, Szarewski A, Thomas C, Walling M (2000). Depo Provera. Position paper on clinical use, effectiveness and side effects. Br J Fam Plann, 26(1):52-3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm Lidegaard Ø, Løkkegaard E, Jensen A, Skovlund CH, Keiding N (2012). “Thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction with hormonal contraception.” N Engl J Med, 366(24): 2257-66. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Contraception. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm Urbancsek J (1998). Nonmenstrual adverse events with Implanon®. Contraception, 58: 109S-115S.




Birth Control & STDs


Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) STDs are infections that are spread by sexual contact with skin, genitals, mouth, rectum, or body fluids. Although some STDs can be treated, others cannot. People with an STD may not know they have it.1 Contraceptives and STDs There is no contraceptive method that is highly effective in simultaneously preventing pregnancy and STDs.2 Among contraceptive methods, condoms provide the most protection, but 21-40% of the time condom use fails to protect against STDs.3 CHEMICAL METHODS Chemical methods such as the birth control pill provide no protection against STDs and can actually increase a woman’s risk of getting an STD by 30%.4 BARRIER METHODS Female barrier methods such as the diaphragm and cervical cap increase a woman’s risk of vaginal infections. Having any kind of vaginal infection increases the risk of contracting an STD.5 HPV Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States.6 It can lead to cervical, oral, and/or rectal cancer. Incidence of HPV-related oral cancer has increased by 225% from 1988 to 2004.7 No method of contraception provides total protection from HPV. So How Can I Avoid an STD? See STD Prevention. ________________________________________________________________ The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2011). How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. FAQ009. Cates W, Stone KM (1992). Family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptive choice: A literature update—Part I. Fam Plann Perspect, 24(2): 75-84. Sanghvi H (1996). Contraception and STDs. In: JHPIEGO. Issues in Management of STDs in Family Planning Settings. STDs Workshop Proceedings; Apr 19-21, 1995; Baltimore, MD. Baeten JM, Nyange PM, Richardson BA, Lavreys L, Chohan B, Martin HL Jr., et al. (2001). Hormonal contraception and risk of sexually transmitted disease acquisition: Results from a prospective study. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 185(2): 380-5. Rosenberg MJ, Davidson AJ, Chen JH, Judson FN, Douglas JM (1992). Barrier contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases in women: a comparison of female-dependent methods and condoms. Am J Public Health. 82(5):669-74. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Human papillomavirus (HPV). Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/hpv/ Schlecht HP (2012). Oral human papillomavirus infection: Hazard of intimacy. JAMA, 307(7): 724-5.




Plan B & Emergency Contraception


Emergency Contraception Levonorgestrel, marketed as Plan B® One-Step and Next Choice®, is classified as an “emergency contraceptive,” and is commonly referred to as “the morning after pill.” It is approximately a 50x dose of the progesterone-only oral birth control pill designed for daily use. How It Works The morning after pill has three effects:

  • Prevents ovulation, if it has not yet occurred.
  • Thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus.
  • Changes the lining of the uterus to prevent a baby from implanting and developing, should fertilization occur.1
Plan B labeling advises that the drug should be taken within 72 hours of intercourse, but the FDA indicates that it is effective until implantation, meaning that it will cause the destruction of a fertilized egg if one is present. There is no way to know before taking an emergency contraceptive whether fertilization has occurred or not. Risks and Side Effects Common side effects include:
  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Delay of menses by more than one week
Levonorgestrel is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It has been shown to increase risk of cancer in animals.2 If you’re concerned that you may be pregnant or would like to discuss your options with a nurse, please contact us or schedule an appointment online. ________________________________________________________________ American Society of Health System Pharmacists (2014). AHFS Drug Information: Levonorgestrel. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a610021.html [IARC (1999). Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. Geneva: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1972-PRESENT, p. V72 385. (Multivolume work). Retrieved from http://monographs.iarc.fr/index.php





Care Pregnancy Clinic

3813 North Flannery Rd.

Baton Rouge, LA 70414

225-408-8171

1-866-664-7873

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