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Birth Control Hormonal Methods (cont.)

Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a newer form of birth control. The actual design of a vaginal ring as a birth control device was first developed in the 1970s. The vaginal ring can deliver progesterone or progesterone/estrogen combinations. The hormones are released slowly into the bloodstream. Preliminary studies show that, as with oral contraceptives, they will safely prevent pregnancy with few side effects. The patches would be used in the same schedule as birth control pills, with three weeks of ring usage and one week without to produce a menstrual period. If the ring comes out on its own and remains out for more than three hours, you must use another form of birth control until the ring has been back in place for at least seven days. It is available by prescription. The vaginal ring does not prevent STDs.


Currently, in the United States, an implantable method of birth control is enjoying wide popularity. With this form of contraception a small plastic rod containing a form of progesterone is inserted beneath the skin of the upper arm. This product, called Nexplanon, provides consistent birth control for three years. It is inserted by a health-care professional in the office using local anesthetic. It can be removed at any time, whereupon fertility usually returns promptly.

  • Effectiveness of the implant: Nexplanon is one of the most effective birth control methods available, with a failure rate less than 0.5% per year. Use by women over 130% of ideal body weight may be associated with an increased failure rate.
  • Advantages of the implant: Implants last for three years and require no care or maintenance. They are extremely effective. They do not contain estrogen, and can be used by women who need to avoid estrogen, such as women who are breastfeeding.
  • Disadvantages and side effects of the implant: The implants do require a minor surgical procedure for both insertion and removal. Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect leading to early removal of the implant. Other associated problems include
  • The implant product does not protect against STDs.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/29/2016
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Hormonal Methods of Birth Control - Injections

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