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Gynecology 110: BIRTH CONTROL NUGGETS

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | March 12th, 2017

Gynecology 110: BIRTH CONTROL NUGGETS

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended meaning that the woman becomes pregnant at a time when she was not planning to become pregnant. This has serious consequences like delay in prenatal care, premature birth, and negative mental health effects for the woman and child to name a few.

Part 6 of the 10 part series for reasons women come to their annual exam is to talk about birth control. Last year, for Gynecology 101-WHAT IS THE BEST BIRTH CONTROL FOR ME? –  I listed all the birth control options available. I thought for Gynecology 110, I would share five interesting nuggets about birth control that you may or may not know.

  1. The most effective birth control other than abstinence is the long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCS). These include the subdermal implant and the intrauterine devices (IUDs). They are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. All you have to do is schedule an appointment and tell your health care provider what you want and get it placed. Although they can last from 3 – 10 years, you can remove it anytime that you are ready to have a baby.
  2. The only birth control that prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs) other than abstinence is a condom. Condoms decrease your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection. It should be used all the time and can be used with other forms of birth control. It does not make sense to go bare unless you are in a committed relationship and all have been screened for STIs. As I mentioned last week, STIs are on the rise.
  3. Make the smartphone your friend. The pills, ring, patch and shot are not effective because women do not use them consistently. Put an alarm on your phone to remind you to take the pills or change the ring or patch or get the shot. There are apps available for those who want to use periodic abstinence to tell you when it is safe to have sex.
  4. There are many people afraid to take birth control because they are worried about the risks of hormones. Did I ever tell you that there are risks to becoming pregnant? People who are pregnant can get blood clots, can get preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy), can get gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy), may end up with a cesarean section and unfortunately some women can die. I am not trying to scare anyone from becoming pregnant. I am just saying that there are risks to every decision that we make.
  5. Hormonal birth control can do more than prevent pregnancies. They can help regulate your menstrual cycle, they can decrease the amount of bleeding especially when you have fibroids, help with menstrual cramps and may decrease the risks of certain cancers like ovarian and endometrial cancer.

 

If you have learned something new, please share the information so that others can learn. Please remember to site ngoziosuagwumd.com as your source.

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Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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