Are there any birth control options that I do not have to remember to take every day?
Yes. Long acting reversible contraception, also known as LARC, include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the subdermal hormonal implant. IUD's are small devices that fit inside the uterus, one type contains a progestin hormone (Mirena and Skyla) and another contains copper (Paraguard). IUD's can provide contraception from 3-10 years, depending on the device chosen. The subdermal hormonal implant (Nexplanon) is a small plastic rod that also contains a progestin hormone and is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. The subdermal implant can provide contraception for up to 3 years. These methods are highly effective in protecting against pregnancy, with failure rates similar to permanent sterilization. However, LARC devices can be removed whenever the user decides to discontinue this type of birth control or wants to become pregnant.
Is a LARC a good choice for me?
LARC devices can be used by most women, including women who have never been pregnant, those that are postpartum and breastfeeding, and women seeking treatment for heavy, painful periods.
What are the side effects and risks of LARC devices?
With both LARC methods, common side effects can include initial changes in a woman’s bleeding pattern and cramping each month, but these changes are usually mild and improve with time. Other side effects that may develop with hormonal LARC methods may include mood changes, headaches, and breast tenderness. With IUD insertion, there is a small risk that the device may come out, that injury may occur with insertion, or that an infection may develop. Risks with subdermal implant insertion are also very low.
If you are interested in LARC, it is important to review a full list of the risks and benefits of this method of contraception with your doctor prior to insertion.
How can I get a LARC device?
Many Ob/GYNs are trained in IUD and subdermal hormonal implant insertion. Consult with your doctor to decide if this type of birth control would be a good choice for you. IUD's and subdermal hormonal implants are inserted via simple in-office procedures that take only a few minutes for your doctor to perform. Sedation is not required and you can perform your usual daily activities immediately after the procedure.
LARC methods are very cost effective birth control options that are covered by most insurance plans.
Dr. Mary Katherine Johnson MD
Midsouth OB/GYN, div of WCC MPLLC
6215 Humphreys Boulevard, Suite 100
Memphis, TN 38120
Main office: (901) 747-1200, Appointments: (901) 747-1234