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Birth Control Health Center

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Stop Your Periods With Continuous Birth Control

Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera)

You’ll get a shot of hormones in your arm that’ll protect you from pregnancy for 3 months. It’s one of the most effective forms of birth control and works best if you get it every 12 weeks. It doesn’t have estrogen, a hormone that is found the pill and other types of birth control. So you can get the shot if you’re breastfeeding or can’t take estrogen.

Most women will have fewer and lighter periods with it. Half of the women who use it will stop having periods after being on it for a year.

Gottesfeld says side effects can include irregular spotting and bleeding and mood changes. She says one of the drawbacks is that if you hate it or have side effects, you’re stuck with it for 3 months.

The other downside is that you have to go in every 3 months to get the shot, says Roxanne Jamshidi, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. And, she says, if you decide you want to get pregnant, it may not happen right away. Finally, Depo-Provera could also make you gain weight.

Birth Control Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon)

This is a rod about the size of a matchstick that’s put in the skin in your arm. It lasts up to 3 years. As with the shot, most women who get it will have lighter or fewer periods. A third of women who take it won’t have periods after a year. But some women get heavier, longer periods or spotting or bleeding between periods.

“The nice thing about this is that if somebody gets it and they don’t like it, you can take it out,” Gottesfeld says.

Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)

Hormones released by this small, flexible ring stop eggs from leaving your ovaries. You put the ring into your vagina and wear it for 3 weeks in a row. You take it out in the 4th week; that’s usually when you get your period. But you can stop your period if you wear it for a month, take it out, and put in a new one. Don’t worry if you spot or bleed for the first 6 months, though. That’s a normal side effect and usually goes away.

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Reviewed on November 30, 2015

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