Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
Bookmark and Share

Related Information

 

Birth control - slow release methods

Definition

Certain birth control methods contain man-made forms of hormones that are normally made in a woman's ovaries. These hormones are called estrogen and progestin.

  • Both estrogen and progestin prevent a woman's ovaries from releasing an egg during her menstrual cycle (called ovulation). They do this by changing the levels of the natural hormones the body makes.
  • Progestins also help prevent sperm from entering the uterus by making the mucus around a woman's cervix thick and sticky.

Birth control pills are one way of receiving these hormones. However, you must remember to take the pills every day.

Other methods to prevent pregnancy use the same hormones, but these hormones are released slowly over time.

Alternative Names

Contraception - hormonal methods; Progestin implants; Progestin injections; Skin patch; Vaginal ring

Information

PROGESTIN IMPLANTS

A progestin implant (Nexplanon) is a small rod that is implanted under the skin, usually on the upper arm. The rod releases a small amount of the hormone progestin into the bloodstream.

It takes about a minute to insert the rod, which is done using a local numbing medicine in a doctor's office. It can stay in place for 3 years, but it can be removed at any time. Removal usually only takes a few minutes.

After the implant has been inserted:

  • You may have some bruising around the site for a week or more.
  • You should be protected from getting pregnant within 1 week.
  • You can use these implants while breast-feeding.

Progestin implants work better than birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. In any 1 year, only 1 out of 100 women who uses these implants is likely to get pregnant.

Your regular menstrual cycles should return within 3 or 4 weeks after these implants are removed.

PROGESTIN INJECTIONS

Injections or shots that contain the hormone progestin also work to prevent pregnancy. A single shot works for up to 90 days. These injections are given into the muscles of the upper arm or buttocks.

Side effects that may occur include:

  • Changes in menstrual cycles or extra bleeding or spotting. Around half of women who use these injections have no menstrual cycles
  • Breast tenderness, weight gain, headaches, or depression

Progestin injections work better than birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. In any 1 year, only 1 out of 100 women who uses progestin injections is likely to get pregnant.

Sometimes the effects of these hormone shots last longer than 90 days. If you are planning to become pregnant in the near future, you might want to consider a different birth control method.

SKIN PATCH

The skin patch (Ortho Evra) is placed on your shoulder, buttocks, or another area of your body.

  • A new patch is applied once a week for 3 weeks. Then you go 1 week without a patch.
  • Estrogen levels are higher with the patch than with birth control pills.

The patch slowly releases both estrogen and progestin into your blood. Your health care provider will prescribe this method for you.

The patch works better than birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. In any 1 year, only 1 out of 100 women who uses the patch is likely to get pregnant.

The skin patch contains estrogen. As a result, there is a rare risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Smoking increases these risks even more.

VAGINAL RING

The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring about 2 inches wide that is placed into the vagina. It releases the hormones progestin and estrogen.

  • You will insert the ring yourself. It will stay in the vagina for 3 weeks. At the end of the third week, you will take the ring out for 1 week. Do not remove the ring until the end of the 3 weeks.

Side effects with the ring may include:

  • Nausea and breast tenderness, which are less severe than with birth control pills or patches
  • Vaginal discharge or vaginitis
  • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting (may occur more often than with birth control pills)

The vaginal ring contains estrogen. As a result, there is a rare risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Smoking increases these risks even more.

The vaginal ring slowly releases both estrogen and progestin into your blood. Your health care provider will prescribe this method for you.

The vaginal ring works better than birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. In any 1 year, only 1 out of 100 women who uses the vaginal ring is likely to get pregnant.

References

Lopez LM, Grimes DA, Gallo MF, Schulz KF. Skin patch and vaginal ring versus combined oral contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(1):CD003552.

Spencer AL, Bonnema R, McNamara MC. Helping women choose appropriate hormonal contraception: update on risks, benefits, and indications. Am J Med. 2009;122:497-506.

Amy JJ, Tripathi V. Contraception for women: an evidence based overview. BMJ. 2009;339:b2895.doi:10.1136/bmj.b2895.

March LS, Lakkegaard E, Andreasen AH, Krager-Kjaer L, Lidegaard O. Hormone therapy and ovarian cancer. JAMA. 2009;302:298-305.


Review Date: 2/26/2012
Reviewed By: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 

Medical Care

Cancer
Pregnancy & Prenatal Classes
Weight Loss
Orthopedics
Heart Disease
Neurology
Women's Health
More Medical Care

Locations

Hospitals
Immediate Care
Health Centers
Emergency Room
Doctors Offices
Specialists
Affiliate Hospitals

Patients and Visitors

MyChart
Pay Your Bill
Request an Appointment
Get Healthy
Support Groups
Fitness Groups
Mobile Applications
Clinical Trials
Online Nursery
Classes and Events
Send an eCard
Patient Stories
Places to Stay
Say Thanks

About Us

Quality Report 
Careers
Ways to Help
Community Outreach
Contact Us
(502) 629-1234

Connect with us

© 2014 Norton Healthcare
Serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana