Wednesday 28 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | Birth Control Options Beyond the Condom

Marla Ahlgrimm
Becoming a parent is undoubtedly the most rewarding aspect of many people’s lives, says women’s health expert and retired HRT compounding pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. However, when the time isn’t right, sexually active women have more options than ever to postpone pregnancy. While no birth control method is perfect, Ahlgrimm says most are remarkably reliable when used correctly.

The best birth control, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, is the one that fits into a woman’s life without causing adverse side effects.

There are at least a dozen forms of birth control, each with unique pros and cons, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The most natural, but possibly the least effective, is known as the Rhythm Method. Natural family planning involves continuously monitoring the menstrual cycle and keeping track of basal temperature and vaginal discharge. Barrier methods, by contrast, are a “time and place” form of birth control that must be inserted just before sexual activity. Barriers such as the contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, and female condom block sperm from entering the fallopian tubes.

Marla Ahlgrimm notes that the most widespread form of birth control, “the pill,” is taken orally at the same time each day. These hormone-based pills may be taken as a 28-day course with one week of active hormones and three weeks of inactive tablets. Extended cycles are also an option for women who prefer to have a period less frequently. Patch, injection, and vaginal ring birth control also rely on hormones.

Semi-permanent birth control devices, including implantable rods and IUDs, may be left in place for five to ten years, says Marla Ahlgrimm.

Women who are 100% certain that their family is complete may elect for a permanent birth control via implant or surgery. The procedure to place an implant takes about 15 minutes; a woman cannot have unprotected sex for three months until the fallopian tubes are confirmed occluded. A tubal ligation involves cutting and sealing the fallopian tubes. Both sterilization procedures are considered irreversible.


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