Switching Birth Control

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How Does Switching Birth Control Affect Your Health?

Birth control methods using hormones to inhibit ovulation come in pill or patch form. For this kind of birth control to be effective, both the pill and patch must be used consistently. Removing the patch or forgetting to take the pill for one day significantly increases the risk of pregnancy.

If you are using the pill or the patch and switch to another form of birth control, your health will be affected in the following ways:

  • Progestin and estrogen levels return to normal so that ovaries can release an egg.
  • Initially, your periods may become heavier and last longer but should return to normal in two to three months. If you experienced lessening of premenstrual symptoms while taking the pill/patch, cramping, headache and bloating may worsen as well.
  • The risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer increases when you stop using hormonal birth control.
  • For women who experienced breast enlargement/tenderness, bleeding between periods or amenorrhea (cessation of menstruation), these symptoms should eventually disappear.
  • It is not uncommon for women to report loss of libido while using hormonal birth control. Once estrogen levels return to normal, interest in sex usually returns.
  • Of course, the greatest change in your health is being fertile again, at least until you begin using another form of birth control.

How Does Switching to an IUD Affect Your Health?

Intrauterine devices prevent pregnancy by interfering with sperm motility once sperm enters the uterus. This forces sperm to die before they are able to fertilize an egg.

Three kinds of IUDs are available to women in the U.S.: the ParaGard, Mirena and Skyla IUD. While the ParaGard is hormone free (it releases very tiny amounts of copper for 10 years), the other two are not. Both the Mirena and Skyla release small amounts of levonorgestrel over a period of three years.

When using ParaGard, your periods may be heavier and last longer than normal, in contrast to the hormone-based Mirena and Skyla IUD, which can help ease cramping and reduce blood loss. In fact, Mirena is FDA-approved for use in women who suffer heavy menstrual bleeding.

Vaginal Condoms, Vaginal Sponges and Spermicides

These birth control methods are “spur-of-the-moment” methods that aren’t as effective as the Pill, the patch or IUDs but at least provide some protection against pregnancy. Switching to this type of birth control has no effect on your health.
For more in-depth information about birth control methods or for help determining which method best suits your needs, contact Advanced OBGYN Associates to make an appointment or to speak to a friendly staff member.

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