Birth Control Options For Young Adults – If you’re busy (aren’t we all?) and looking for options that don’t require a daily pill or don’t remember to buy condoms, a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) could be a good option for you.
Long-acting methods can offer protection from several weeks to several years and can be changed if you decide you are ready to start trying for a baby.
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But as with other birth control methods, you need to weigh the pros and cons when deciding which LARC will work for you.
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There are many different types of LARCs to choose from. Most are similar in effectiveness and reversibility, but they differ in:
There are two forms of intrauterine devices (IUDs), one of which is copper. Copper IUDs are sometimes referred to under the brand name Paragard.
How it’s used: A doctor uses a speculum to insert a copper coil into the uterus. They usually do this procedure during an office visit, and it only takes a few minutes. Some people report minor pain, cramping and spotting after insertion.
How it prevents pregnancy: The copper IUD creates a foreign body response in the uterus. This means that a person’s active immune system will target anything that enters the uterus, including sperm. Copper also releases ions that help promote inflammation, which can prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
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Approximate cost: Copper IUDs are available at no cost through most health insurance plans. If your insurance does not cover a copper IUD, ask your doctor’s office about any available discounts. Costs can be higher than $1,000 if not covered.
Side Effects: Side effects may include temporary pinching and cramping on ingestion, fainting, dizziness, or nausea. You may also experience more intense periods.
A hormonal IUD is similar to a copper IUD, but it also releases a low, constant dose of synthetic progesterone. Brands of hormonal IUDs include Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla.
How it’s used: As with the copper version, the doctor uses a speculum to insert the hormonal IUD directly into the uterus through the vagina.
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How it prevents pregnancy: The hormonal IUD works in two ways. Like the copper version, it causes the immune system to inflame the uterus and attack foreign bodies, such as sperm. The second way it works is by releasing progesterone, which prevents the release of your eggs and thickens cervical mucus.
How long it’s good: Hormonal IUDs last about 3 to 7 years, depending on the brand of IUD you choose.
Approximate cost: Most health insurance plans are required to pay in full for at least one form of hormonal IUD, as well as the cost of insertion and removal. However, if they are not covered by your insurance, they can cost more than $1,000. Check your specific plan to see which brand may be covered.
Effectiveness: You must wait 7 days before having unprotected sex, but after the initial wait, hormonal IUDs are
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Side effects: Hormonal IUDs can cause cramping and spotting during the first few months. After about 1 to 2 years, you may no longer have periods. They can also cause headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, spotting or bloating.
The etonogestrel implant provides long-lasting hormonal birth control when it is inserted into your arm. It is sometimes called by the brand name Nexplanon.
How it’s used: A medical provider places the implant under the skin of the upper arm using a special device. On
How it prevents pregnancy: The hormonal implant slowly releases progestin. The hormone thickens the cervical mucus and prevents the egg from leaving the ovary.
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Approximate cost: Although most insurance companies cover all costs, they can cost more than $800 if not covered.
Effectiveness: The contraceptive implant is effective within 7 days after insertion. According to the CDC, the implant is more than
Side effects: The implant is generally safe, but may cause swelling, redness, or pain at the injection site.
Reversibility: The implant will need to be removed by a healthcare professional. The effects of the implant are fully reversible and pregnancy is possible shortly after removal.
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Birth control involves injecting hormones into the blood to help prevent pregnancy for up to 3 months.
If you don’t mind injections, the shot may be a good option for you. However, if you hate needles or are over 35 and smoke, the shot may not be the best option for you.
How it’s used: Your doctor will use a needle to inject progestin into your upper arm or groin.
How it prevents pregnancy: Like other hormonal birth controls, it creates more mucus around the cervix and prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg.
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How long it’s good: The injection is effective for up to 3 months and must be reapplied at your doctor’s office.
Approximate cost: The shot can cost about $240 a year when considering a dose every 3 months. Most insurance plans must cover the cost.
Side effects: The shot may cause irregular bleeding or longer, heavier bleeding for the first 6 to 12 months. Over time, you may experience lighter periods or none at all.
A contraceptive ring is a soft, flexible ring inserted into the vagina. It slowly releases hormones into the body to help prevent pregnancy.
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How to use: You will need to get a prescription from your doctor. You will insert the ring directly into the vagina every 21 days. During the 7 days of non-use, you should have a regular period.
How it prevents pregnancy: The birth control ring slowly releases estrogen and progestin into the body. Hormones help thicken cervical mucus.
How long it’s good: You must remove the old ring and put in a new one every 21 days.
Approximate cost: Over the course of a year, it can cost about $1,000 for the ring without insurance.
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Side effects: When using the ring, you may experience chest pain, headaches, nausea, breakthrough bleeding, vaginal discharge, or irritation around the vagina.
Reversibility: When you are ready or want to try to conceive, you can remove the ring and not replace it with a new one. Pregnancy is possible immediately after removal.
A contraceptive patch is a small patch placed on the skin. Lepen releases hormones through the skin into the body to help prevent pregnancy.
How to use: The patch is a small square placed directly on the skin of the upper back, upper arm, buttocks, chest or abdomen. You will need to get a prescription from your doctor. You should change the patch once a week on the same day of the week. In the fourth week, you skip adding the patch and you should get your period that week.
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How it prevents pregnancy: The patch releases estrogen and progestin, which help thicken cervical mucus and prevent ovulation.
How long it’s good: You should change the patch once a week on the same day of the week for continued protection against pregnancy.
Effectiveness: If you use the patch as directed on the same day each week, you are unlikely to get pregnant. Less than 1 in 100 women become pregnant in the first year of use if used correctly. The CDC estimates that the patch is around
Side effects: In general, side effects are mild and often disappear within a few months. These include symptoms such as breast tenderness, breakthrough bleeding, skin irritation or headache.
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Reversibility: If you want to get pregnant, you can stop wearing the patch, and pregnancy is possible soon.
If you’ve decided that babies aren’t on your radar now or in the future, you may be looking for a more permanent way to prevent pregnancy.
Although both methods have the potential to be reversed through surgery, the change is more complex than the other methods and may not always be effective.
Tubal ligation involves cutting and removing or tying the fallopian tubes. Severed tubes prevent sperm from reaching the egg, which prevents pregnancy.
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How it is used: Tubal ligation can be done alone or during other abdominal procedures. The procedure can take about 30 to 60 minutes. The surgeon will either completely remove or tie the tubes to prevent the egg from entering the uterus.
Approximate cost: Pipe lining can cost anywhere from about $1,500 to $6,000 depending on where you have it done and your insurance.
Effectiveness: Within 10 years after the procedure, the probability of becoming pregnant varies from 18 to 37 out of 1,000 women. The CDC notes that although abdominal and laparoscopic ligation are effective immediately, another form of contraception should be used for the first 3 months after hysteroscopic occlusive ligation. With all three types it is finished
Side effects: The most common risk of side effects is from a reaction to general anesthesia. There is also a risk of tubal pregnancy and damage to surrounding tissues or organs during the procedure. Bleeding or infection from the incision may also occur.
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A vasectomy involves severing the connection between the testicles and the penis, which prevents sperm from ejaculating during sex. This is the only form of long-term contraception, which deals with the possibility of pregnancy on the part of
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