Contraception, or birth control, helps women avoid pregnancy by preventing the fertilization of a woman’s eggs by her partner’s sperm. To choose the method of contraception best for each individual, the doctor and patient should consider various health factors specific to the patient and their family-planning goals.
The Science Behind The Pill
The birth control pill is a widely used and highly effective method of birth control. By increasing the body’s level of progesterone, the pill thins cervical mucus and reduces the uterine lining or prevents the monthly release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). This method of contraception is highly effective–almost 99 percent–when used as prescribed.
Taken daily, the pill varies in dosage and the types of hormones delivered (and at what point in the monthly cycle). The choice of brand and dosage depends on the patient’s health and lifestyle factors, such as dependability in taking the medication as directed, age, cardiovascular health, tobacco usage, and more.
The Science Behind Implantable Contraception
Implantable contraceptives–hormonal or copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implantable rods, such as Nexplanon–differ from each other in how they work. However, they also are similar to each other in that they provide in-dwelling and long-lasting birth control. Implants are inserted either into the uterus or under the skin of the arm (as with the implantable Nexplanon rod).
IUDs can thicken the cervical mucus and prevent sperm from contacting a woman’s egg. Some types also may prevent the implantation of an embryo into the lining of the uterus.
Implantable rods, such as Nexplanon, deliver a hormone called etonogestrel, which prevents ovulation or the release of an egg from the ovary.
Both kinds of implantable contraceptive devices must be inserted by a trained healthcare professional. They last for several years and feature effectiveness rates of up to 99 percent.
The Science Behind Barrier Methods
Barrier methods, such as condoms or cervical caps, can also be very effective when both sexual partners use the methods correctly and consistently. In other words, compliance is key to effectiveness.
Barrier methods are readily available to the public (with or without a prescription from a healthcare provider depending on type). They physically block semen from entering the cervix and traveling to the fallopian tubes to fertilize a woman’s egg. Those with spermicide, such as the vaginal sponge, contain spermicide, which slows down or kills sperm, and thus blocking fertilization.
Adolescent Sexual Wellness And Education in Purchase, New York
At BridgeSpan Medicine, our six board-certified pediatricians believe adolescents need accurate education about their bodies, their sexuality, responsible sexual behavior, and contraception. We deliver the information they ask for and need in a compassionate, confidential manner, which fosters trust, openness, and honesty.
To learn more about adolescent contraception, call our office for a consultation: (914) 698-5544. Or, request a visit using our online form. We are here to help you make informed and responsible health, safety, and sexual wellness choices.