Long-Term Birth Control: New Implants and Patches
Prevent pregnancy without thinking about it.
NuvaRing: Birth Control Ring continued...
Some women like the reassurance of an occasional period, he says. "If you
want have a bleed every three or four months, that's fine. If you don't, that's
"I like the ring," Ross tells WebMD. "It's actually very easy to put in,
much easier than the old diaphragm. But some women have a real problem putting
things into the vagina, or they're afraid it's going to get lost or afraid to
take it out."
One drawback: The ring sometimes slips out of place at an inopportune
moment. "The chances of that happening are actually very small, and when it
does happen, women notice," Estes says. "You can wash it off, and place it back
inside. As long as it's not out more than two hours, you can reuse the
Ross hasn't heard complaints about the ring slipping out. "I don't think it
comes out that easily," she says. "Among my patients, I haven't heard about
Mirena: The New IUD
Mirena is a new style of IUD, or intrauterine device -- one with "lots of
benefits," says Estes.
"It's the least user-dependent method of all," he tells WebMD. "Once it's
in, its in." The chances of pregnancy are very, very low -- 1% at most. Mirena
must be replaced by a doctor every five years.
Mirena does not contain estrogen, but releases another hormone --
levonorgestrel -- into the uterus, which creates a "hostile uterine
environment" that prevents pregnancy. "It's as effective as tubal ligation
(tubes tied) in preventing pregnancy," Estes explains.
It also decreases menstrual flow and cramps. "We use it to treat women who
have heavy periods," he says. "It's my first-line treatment for heavy bleeding.
Some women actually have no periods at all."
"Mirena is a method that is really catching on," Ross tells WebMD. "We're
seeing a lot more patients who want the IUD. Women used to be afraid of
infection from IUDs, but new data shows that it's not a risk if you're
monogamous. It's also good for people who can't afford birth control pills,
because once you have it, it's good for several years."