Just like there are appropriate fashions for women of different ages, and targeted skincare for women in specific age groups, why not contraception that fits your age and lifestyle needs? Depending on whether you have already had kids and still plan to have more, or you're done with pregnancies, or you're clear that you don't want to ever get pregnant - there's a choice of birth control that's a good fit for your circumstance....especially if you fall in the 30 plus age group.
Let's start by agreeing with certain polls and reviews that seem to indicate that the following forms of contraception are the "least liked" by your age group. They include: the diaphragm, female condom, NuvaRing and the patch methods. Now let's look at which forms of birth control are a good match for your age group. We'll dispel some rumors about these options as well.
The latest research seems to debunk the prevailing beliefs that the combo pill brings on menopause prematurely or is a risk factor for certain types of cancers. Many women are eligible for this "99% effective when used correctly" method of birth control, including women who may have thought that this contraception was off limits to them. This pill which contains low doses of estrogen/progestin, can be used up to and through early menopause. It may help with peri-menopausal hot flashes, mood swings, irregular bleeding, and it may prevent ovarian and uterine cancers. If you suffer from migraines, if you are a smoker (especially over age 35) then this may not be a good choice of contraception.
If you're a breastfeeding mom, this may be the right choice of birth control for you. If you have heart disease risk and can't take an estrogen-based oral contraception method, this is also a good choice. It has a slightly lower success rate than the combo pill, but still works quite well to prevent pregnancy. Warning: If you are not able to be compliant and take the pill at the same time every day, skip this option.
Extended Cycle Pill
Hate getting your period?? Not planning a pregnancy for awhile or done with babies?? Suffer from awful PMS? Suffer from heavy bleeding that sometimes causes anemia? This is your go to contraception choice. Seasonal and Seasonique will allow for four periods a year and Lybrel will stop your period for a full year if you take the one pill daily. Who can't use this method? People who are not candidates for the combo pill probably should not try this option. If you don't like to try new medical options that don't have a long history of use and outcomes, this is probably not for you either.
It's a progestin-releasing tiny plastic rod inserted in your upper arm that will provide birth control for 3 years. It's nearly 100% effective and insurance may cover its $400-$800 price tag. It does not work well in seriously overweight or obese women, or in women who use St. John's Wort regularly.
This method is still a great option especially if you are not monogamous and are not in menopause yet. If you are under age 40, you should pair the condom with another contraception method for the best protection (avoiding pregnancy and STDs).
If you have had your children and want birth control while still menstruating, then a tubal ligation (surgery to block the Fallopian tubes) or Essure (placement of a small metal insert to obstruct the Fallopian tubes) may be right for you. Since this is permanent birth control you really may want to do some soul searching and ask a lot of questions before choosing this option.
We now have emergency birth control. For more on this check out my next blog entry:
Plan B contraception - what you need to know
Published On: September 21, 2009