When you have decided you are finished having children, you don’t want to worry about getting pregnant each month. There are a variety of options for both long-term and permanent birth control. The best gynecologist will be happy to discuss all possible options for safe use of birth control and offer recommendations.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An intrauterine device or IUD is a tiny device shaped like a T. Those that are wrapped in copper can prevent pregnancy for as long as 10 years. Other IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy and can be effective for three to six years. IUDs prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm cells from making it to an egg. While this choice is very effective at pregnancy prevention, the device can be removed, giving you an opportunity to get pregnant in the future if you should have a change of heart.
If you are sure that your child-bearing days are behind you, tubal ligation, also known as getting your tubes tied, is a method of permanent birth control. It is done under general anesthesia, and it involves closing off the fallopian tubes by having them clipped, clamped or cauterized. In most cases, the procedure can’t be reversed.
EssureⓇ is a form of permanent female sterilization. It’s a nonsurgical alternative to getting your tubes tied. It involves having an implant with soft, flexible metal and fiber coils inserted through the vagina and cervix. They are placed on the fallopian tubes so that scar tissue will form and prevent fertilization of an egg. There will be a waiting period of three months in which alternative forms of birth control will need to be used to be sure the scar tissue has formed.
While some women have been satisfied with EssureⓇ as a permanent birth control alternative to an invasive surgical procedure, in recent years, many women have come forward to report unpleasant side effects such as cramping, dizziness, and pelvic pain. Others have experienced allergic reactions, and some have gotten pregnant after the procedure. Talk to your gynecologist to determine if this is a good option for you.
Birth Control Pills
If you are reluctant to choose permanent birth control even though you feel sure your child-bearing days are over, birth control pills remain one of the most effective methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The biggest drawback is the fact that you have to remember to take the pill each day at approximately the same time. As long as you do that, they are extremely effective. There are many options to choose from, including progestin-only pills and pills that are a combination of estrogen and progestin.
If you are looking for a form of birth control that prevents ovulation but you don’t have to remember to take a pill every day, consider hormone shots. These shots are given every three months and are a very effective choice for preventing pregnancy.
Vasectomy is the permanent form of male birth control. If your partner elects to have a vasectomy, the procedure will be performed in a doctor’s office. The vas deferens will be tied, cut or sealed which stops sperm from traveling from the testicles to the penis. The sperm remains in the testicles and is reabsorbed by the body. There will be a three-month waiting period to be sure the procedure has been effective. A vasectomy may be able to be reversed if an individual changes his mind in the future.
Choosing a method of contraception and deciding whether to use permanent or temporary methods is a personal choice that should be discussed with your gynecologist.