Today there are many contraceptives available to help every woman find the method that works best for her needs and her lifestyle. Birth control methods include birth control pills, arm implants, IUDs (intrauterine devices) and diaphragms. Lasting options for birth control include tubal ligation (closing off the fallopian tubes) and the Essure fallopian tube implant, which causes scar tissue to form inside the fallopian tubes, preventing eggs and sperm from coming into contact with each other. The best way to decide which birth control method is ideal for a specific patient is to schedule an office visit to discuss the “pros and cons” of each option.
The arm implant is a very thin, small device that’s inserted under the skin in the fleshy part of the upper arm. It cannot be seen, but it can be felt by pressing firmly on the skin. The device can be implanted (and removed) during a simple office procedure using a local anesthetic. Once in place, the implant releases a steady stream of hormones to help prevent pregnancy. Arm implants need to be replaced about every three years.
IUD insertion begins in the same manner as a pelvic exam, using a speculum to gently widen the vaginal canal so the cervix (the uterine opening) can be easily accessed. The IUD device is shaped like a capital T, with the crosspiece serving as an anchor to hold the device in place in the uterus. The IUD is inserted through the cervical opening in a procedure that takes just a few minutes. There may be some cramping during insertion, and for very sensitive women, the cervix may be numbed using a local anesthetic before the device is inserted. Once in place, the long portion of the T hangs down into the vaginal canal. Prior to having sex, it’s important to feel for the tail to ensure the device is still in place. IUDs use copper and sometimes hormones to help prevent pregnancy. IUDs can remain in place for several years before they need to be replaced.
*Individual results may vary