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Methods that Require a Doctor’s Visit


Implanon:

Implanon, also called a contraceptive implant, is a small rod that is inserted under the skin in the upper arm. It works by slowly releasing hormones into the bloodstream, which then stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each monthly cycle. No egg, no pregnancy. It also thickens a woman’s cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to get into egg territory in the first place. Implanon is good for up to three years, so once it’s in, you don’t have to think about it for a long time.

  • Effectiveness: more than 99 percent
  • Requires a clinic visit and may be expensive up front
  • No protection against STIs

 

IUD (Intrauterine Device): 

The IUD is a small, flexible device that a medical professional places in a woman’s uterus. It prevents pregnancy by releasing a hormone (progestin) that affects ovulation (the release of an egg). The IUD lasts for up to 5 years, and most women with an IUD have lighter periods or no period at all.

  • Effectiveness: more than 99 percent
  • Requires a clinic visit and may be expensive up front
  • No protection against STIs

The Shot (Depo-Provera):

The shot (you also hear it called “Depo”) is an injection of the hormone progestin that’s given to a woman every three months. It works by stopping ovulation, and after a few months, most women stop having their period altogether (but it returns when a woman goes off Depo). This is another option that a woman doesn’t have to think about every day, but if you’re on the shot, you do have to make sure that you don’t miss a shot or get behind schedule, because this can diminish Depo’s effectiveness.

  • Effectiveness: more than 99 percent
  • Must be given by a medical professional every three months, so it requires a clinic visit
  • No protection against STIs

Birth Control Pills (The Pill):

Also known as oral contraception, this hormonal contraceptive is a pill that’s taken at the same time each day. It releases hormones that prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus, which blocks sperm. A woman who takes birth control pills will still get her period each month. Birth control pills are only available by prescription, and if they aren’t taken every day, will not be as effective.

  • Effectiveness: more than 99 percent if taken every day; only 91 percent effective with typical use, like skipping a day or more
  • Effectiveness may be lessened when taken with some other drugs, like antibiotics
  • Prescription must be given by a medical professional, so it requires a clinic visit
  • No protection against STIs

The Ring (Nuvaring):

The Ring is a small, flexible ring (about 2 inches across) that a woman inserts into her vagina. It’s held in place by the walls of the vagina and can’t be felt by her or her partner once it’s inserted. It stays in for three weeks and slowly releases hormones that work the same way as the birth control pill. You remove it after the third week, the fourth week get your period, and then you start the cycle again with a new ring.

  • Effectiveness: more than 99 percent when used very carefully, only 91 percent with typical use
  • Prescription must be given by a medical professional, so it requires a clinic visit, but you insert and remove it yourself
  • No protection against STIs

The Patch (Ortho Evra):

The patch is a piece of plastic that’s treated with hormones (hormones that work similarly to The Pill or The Ring). The patch is worn on a woman’s arm, torso or buttocks, and it releases hormones that the body absorbs through the skin. Each patch is worn for a week and then replaced with a new one. The fourth week no patch is worn, and a woman gets her period, and then the cycle begins again.

  • Effectiveness: more than 99 percent when used very carefully, only 91 percent with typical use
  • Prescription must be given by a medical professional, so it requires a clinic visit, but you put it on and remove it yourself.
  • No protection against STIs 

Diaphragm:

The diaphragm is a dome-shaped cup made of latex that you insert into your vagina before sex. It covers the cervix and prevents sperm from being able to reach the uterus. The diaphragm is most effective when combined with some sort of spermicide. The diaphragm must be “fitted” to you by a doctor, but after that, it can be used for up to 10 years. You do have to remember to put it in prior to each time you have sex, and it should be left in for at least 6 hours after sex for it to be most effective, so it does take some planning.

  • Effectiveness: 88 percent
  • Requires a clinic visit to get sized
  • Does not protect against STIs

Ella:

One pill, taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Ella requires a prescription.

For more information, visit the womenshealth.gov fact sheet on emergency contraception.

 

Female Condom:

Female condoms are like the male condom but are larger and made to be inserted into the vagina. The female condom is held in place by a plastic ring (like the NuvaRing), and it works to block the sperm from coming into contact with an egg.

Female Condom Effectiveness: Perfect Use–95 percent; Typical Use–79 percent


Real talk—
get vaccinated.


Getting routine shots from your doctor is never fun, but getting HPV is worse.

Protect yourself by getting vaccinated. The HPV Vaccine is cancer prevention. Ask your doctor about what you can do to stay safe, or call 865-215-5000 to schedule a vaccination appointment at the Health Department.