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Contraception Hormonal Methods - A full review

Hormone replacement, Women's Health | July 7, 2014 | Author: The Super Pharmacist

Skin conditions, women

Contraception Hormonal Methods - A full review

There are a number of hormonal contraception methods available. People may taut one method as the best choice, but the optimal contraceptive method depends on a woman’s biology, health, and personal preferences. Hormonal contraception has been available in many countries for over 50 years, however over time new types of hormonal contraception are introduced to meet the needs of women and couples and to reduce cost.

The number of years women are sexually active is increasing because sexual life is starting earlier and menopause is occurring later. It is therefore important to have the need for effective, safe, and affordable contraceptive methods. Below are some of the most popular hormonal contraception methods available.

Combined oral contraception

Combined oral contraception (COC), most commonly referred to as the birth control pill, was first introduced in the United States and Germany in 1961. COC is a combination of progestogen (progestin), and oestrogen (oestradiol). Specific formulations of COC are tweaked to reduce unwanted side effects such as changes in mood, libido, and bleeding patterns.

Risk Factors

Perhaps the most serious risk associated with COC is increased likelihood of venous thrombeoembolism, or blood clots, which can be fatal. 

Many other confounding factors, such as obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise can cause blood clots, but the increased likelihood of blood clots while taking birth control pills is the primary reason women discontinue this method of birth control. 

Pharmaceutical companies therefore modify their formulations to increase women’s tolerance and reduce such unwanted risks.

One method that has been used to alter COC formulations is the reduction of oestrogen doses and replacing manufactured oestrogen with more natural forms of oestrogen. New progestogens have also been introduced to COCs. Modern forms of COC are associated with a high satisfaction rate among women users, and though about 1 in 5 women report unwanted side effects, these effects are generally mild and include headache, acne, breast pain, and weight gain. Modern forms of COC are also associated with less bleeding and improved hemoglobin and iron levels and is therefore also approved as a treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding.

Vaginal ring

90% of women who try the vaginal ring report being satisfied with it, and studies claim that women continue their use of this method up to 60% of the time. Its efficacy is comparable to other effective, highly used methods of contraception, and few adverse side effects have been observed. 

Blood pressure, hemoglobin levels, weight, and fertility do not appear significantly affected by the vaginal ring. Another advantage of more recent versions of the vaginal ring is excellent control of bleeding. One downside to the vaginal ring is that women appear to demonstrate more non-compliance with the ring than with the traditional COC or birth control pill method.

Contraceptive subdermal implants

Subdermal implants, or implants that are placed under the skin are highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

contraceptionThere are few side effects, and many women who start using subdermal implants continue with the method. When subdermal implants are discontinued, it is often because of abnormal bleeding.

There are a number of subdermal implants, and newer versions include improvements to increase the likelihood of correct insertion and simple removal.

Transdermal patch

The transdermal patch method of contraception has the advantage of being simple to use. Unlike COCs, which require daily pill consumption, the path needs only to be changed once a week. The added compliance associated with the patch may make it more effective. 

Risk factors

The patch has been shown to detach less than 5% of the time, even after exposure to high temperatures or when worn during vigorous exercise. But has a higher failure rate in obese women and is associated with a higher risk for blood clots.

Intrauterine contraceptives

Intrauterine contraceptives are used much more frequently since the introduction of a particularly effective intrauterine contraceptive known as the LNG-releasing intrauterine system, or LNG-IUS. The LNG-IUS has few unwanted side effects and offers some non-contraceptive benefits.

​Emergency contraceptionEmergency contraception

Emergency contraception is available all over the world. This form of birth control usually involves oral consumption of hormones, but a copper intrauterine device can also be used as emergency contraception. An advantage of the copper device is that it offers continual contraceptive protection for up to 10 years.

Conclusion

The variety of methods available helps women customize their contraceptive use based on their personal tolerance of certain medications and their own health factors and preferences. Hormonal contraceptive methods also often offer non-contraceptive benefits.

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