Contraception is a personal choice, and for many women, that choice is not easy. While contraceptive methods all have the same goal of preventing pregnancy, they all vary in how they do so, whether it’s through hormonal or physical barriers. With the dozens of kinds of birth control methods to choose from and various myths and fears about each one, women may feel restricted in their choices. However, it’s important to be educated about each birth control method, so that you can decide which one is right for you when consulting with your doctor.
Personal Factors for Birth Control
Your personal reasons for choosing birth control matter just as much as the birth control method you choose. One birth control method may work for one woman, but not another due to lifestyle or health reasons. All birth controls have their own pros and cons, and depending on your personal factors, the cons may outweigh the pros.
Before choosing a birth control method, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to have children? When?
- Do you have unprotected sex?
- Do you need protection against STDs and HIV?
- Are you able to follow a routine schedule of taking your birth control every day?
Depending on your answers to these questions, you may find that one kind of birth control may not fit your lifestyle and plans for the future.
Hormonal Birth Control Methods
Hormonal birth control methods manipulate a woman’s hormones to control or prevent ovulation from occurring. Nowadays, all methods of hormonal birth control are considered effective, but some are considered more ‘short-action’ means of preventing pregnancy than others, meaning that they must be scheduled and taken on time in order to prevent pregnancy. This extra effort to take these methods may not be right for some who lead active, busy lifestyles.
‘Short-action’ birth control methods include:
- Birth control pills – often the most popular method, birth control pills usually have to be taken every day
- Injectable birth control – known as “the shot”, this kind of birth control is directly injected into the woman’s body once every three months to regulate hormones
- Patch – a patch that is placed on a woman’s body, which is then absorbed into the skin. This patch has to be replaced every week for effectiveness
- Vaginal ring – a ring that is placed inside the vagina, giving a combination of hormones directly into the body. This ring has to be replaced once a month.
Another birth control method is IUD (intrauterine device). IUDs are small, T-shaped wires coated with copper or other hormones that a doctor will place inside the woman’s vagina. These can last up to 10 years.
Barrier Birth Control Methods
Some women may feel wary of manipulating their hormones for the sake of preventing pregnancy. For women that cannot, due to medical reasons or personal preference, take hormonal birth control, physical barrier methods may be right for them. Barrier birth control is meant to literally prevent the sperm from traveling into the uterus. These methods are usually enacted during sexual intercourse itself, so it’s important for both the woman and her partner to remember to use these contraceptive methods in order to successfully prevent pregnancy. A barrier method, such as condoms, also can prevent STDs.
Common barrier birth control methods include:
- Male or female condoms
- Diaphragm – cups inserted into the vagina to block sperm
- Sponge – placed into the vagina, and contains spermicide that kills any sperm from entering the uterus
- Spermicide – a type of birth control that comes in many forms, including creams, films, and gels, that kills sperm upon contact
Birth Control Consultation in New Jersey
Birth control methods, as you can see, come in all different forms. It’s important to remember that the only way to have the ultimate protection from both pregnancy and STDs is by using both a birth control method and wearing a condom during sex. If you are thinking about going on birth control, it’s important to consult with a doctor first in order to assess your needs, current medical conditions, and whether or not your current lifestyle is optimal for one of these methods. Dr. Anthony C. Quartell, M.D., and Associates have been treating patients for over 40 years in Livingston, New Jersey. For more information about birth control, Dr. Quartell’s other gynecological specialties, or to schedule an appointment, contact his office today!
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Exploring Endometriosis and Fertility
Infertility is a serious condition that sadly affects both women and men, defined as the inability to conceive after a year or longer of having unprotected sex. Although fertility issues can be brought on by a variety of factors, some of which are unpreventable, women with an endometriosis diagnosis are even more likely to experience infertility problems in life.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. When a woman has endometriosis, the endometrium is located outside of the uterus. In various cases of endometriosis, the endometrium has been found on the abdomen, ovaries, pelvic cavity and even inside the fallopian tubes. Since the endometrium is misplaced, the tissue actually builds up more so than usual, breaks down and ultimately sheds. While this is a very normal and routine occurrence for the endometrium tissue properly located within the uterus, the misplaced tissue has no other way to leave the body—which leads to tell-tale signs of endometriosis, like internal bleeding and inflammation.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that doesn’t always show symptoms or signs to the women who have it. For those women who do experience the signs of endometriosis, symptoms could range from mild to severe. Symptoms of endometriosis include painful cramping throughout a menstrual cycle, extreme pelvic pain that gradually worsens, lower back pain, painful intercourse, excessive bleeding, painful bowel movements, painful urination, constipation and nausea. And although it might not be a physically felt sign, infertility is also a symptom of endometriosis.
Endometriosis and Fertility
Endometriosis can affect different parts of a woman’s reproductive system, depending on where the endometrium tissue is located outside of the uterus. Due to the fact that endometriosis causes severe inflammation and irritation to multiple parts of a woman’s body, it can significantly affect fertility—and decrease the chances of a woman becoming pregnant. In some cases, the fimbria may be tampered with, leading to infertility. The fimbria allows the egg to be transported into the fallopian tube; when endometriosis cause swelling and brings about damage to the egg, it makes it more difficult for the egg to travel to its end location successfully. The inflammation brought on by endometriosis can also heavily influence the sperm and eggs as well, since they are existing in a damaged environment that makes it almost impossible for successful fertility circumstances to occur. In rarer occasions, endometriosis can block the fallopian tubes or lead to adhesions in a woman’s body, causing the pelvic organs to stick together; this makes the pelvic organs function at a much lower rate.
Becoming Pregnant with Endometriosis
For those women with diagnosed endometriosis and ongoing infertility issues as a result, an experienced obstetrician or gynecologist can perform a laparoscopy to treat the endometriosis and increase the chances of her becoming pregnant. Laparoscopy is a minor outpatient surgery that inserts a scope through a woman’s umbilicus, into her abdomen. Throughout the procedure, the medical doctor can remove lesions caused by endometriosis with scissors, a laser or some other type of approved, medical removal process. Once the laparoscopy is finished, women have the best chance of conceiving within the first few months. In the event that a woman does become pregnant and can successfully carry a baby to term while living with endometriosis, pregnancy has the ability to improve symptoms greatly; the pregnancy hormones naturally counteract the endometriosis.
Get Tested for Endometriosis at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates
Getting diagnosed with endometriosis and increasing the chances of becoming pregnant all start with proper general obstetric care. At Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates, Dr. Quartell and his dedicated staff specialize in minimally invasive gynecological surgery and treat conditions like endometriosis on a daily basis, helping women decrease their infertility rate and become the healthiest they can possibly be. Women who think they might have endometriosis can become tested, diagnosed and possibly even treated at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates’ convenient location at 316 Eisenhower Parkway in Livingston, New Jersey. Please contact the office by calling 973-716-9600 to schedule an appointment today.
There are several different types of birth control available to women looking to prevent pregnancy or who might benefit from the other health benefits of birth control. Below, we will go through the popular birth control methods available to women, and will also discuss who might benefit from each type of birth control. This article does not constitute as professional medical advice and is more of a general guide. If you are interested in accessing any of the birth control methods below, it is important to make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss which options are available to you and will best suit your lifestyle and needs.
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormone based birth control is an easy birth control option for women. It involves taking a pill once-per-day, wearing a patch that you change each month, or placing a ring in the vagina which is replaced each month. Hormonal birth control does not protect against STDs or STIs. The patch and ring are better options among hormonal birth control if you are forgetful about taking a pill each day.
The hormonal birth control pill is one of the most common forms of birth control. Known most commonly as “the pill”, this prescription medication is a tiny pill that is taken one time per day at the same time each day. There are some different variations of the birth control pill, all of which contain some combination of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones prevent ovulation, therefore preventing pregnancy.
The patch works similarly to the pill, except the patch is placed directly on the skin so that the hormones are able to enter the blood stream. The patch is replaced each month, making it a better option for those that are unable to remember to take a pill each day.
The hormonal ring (NuvaRing) is a ring that is placed inside of the vagina. It works by releasing a low dose of hormones continually that work to prevent pregnancy. It is placed in the vagina for three weeks and taken out for one, allowing for a period. After that, a new ring is placed back in.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An IUD is an increasingly popular birth control option among women. This birth control option is a small device that is implanted inside of the uterus in a quick, in-office procedure. There are a few different types of IUDs, including hormonal and non-hormonal options. Depending on the type of IUD selected, it will be effective in preventing pregnancy between three and twelve years. IUDs do not protect against STDs or STIs. IUDs must be removed by a doctor, however they can be removed and the patient can very soon become pregnant if desired.
Non-Hormonal Copper IUD
The non-hormonal IUD is made of copper and slightly larger than the hormonal IUD. The copper IUD is beneficial to some women because it prevents pregnancy without hormones and it can effectively be utilized for up to 12 years.
There are a few hormonal IUD options available at differing levels of hormones and sizes. Some women may prefer higher levels of hormones in order to get the benefits (such as acne treatment and lighter or no periods) while other women may prefer a smaller size IUD. Hormonal IUDs are effective for 3-5 years depending on the type selected.
Birth control implants are another increasingly popular birth control method among women. Effective for up to four years, the birth control implant is implanted in an in-office procedure through a very small incision. Once inserted in the upper arm, the implant will slowly release the progestin into the body. Progestin prevents pregnancy and is 99% effective. This is a great option for women who don’t want to have to think about their birth control method. The birth control implant will be removed at its expiration date, upon which you can have another implanted if chosen.
Barrier method birth control includes male condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, and any other method of birth control that creates a physical barrier to prevent pregnancy. These methods of birth control are slightly less effective than the birth control methods mentioned above because they have a higher chance of not being utilized correctly by the individual. Barrier methods are important for protecting against STDs and STIs, and are often utilized alone or in combination with any of the birth control methods outlined above.
Learn More About Which Birth Control is Right for You
You and your gynecologist together can narrow down some options about which birth control method is right for you. This decision will ultimately depend on your lifestyle and medical needs. Dr. Quartell is here to help guide you in making that decision. Contact us today to learn more about the birth control options available to you in Livingston, NJ.
If your daughter is getting ready to leave for college, or has already started classes, it is time for “the talk”. The talk is equally dreaded by teens and parents a like, but it is extremely important in ensuring your daughter is well versed in sexual health as she leaves the nest. You have most likely had the “birds and the bees” discussion when she was younger, but as your daughter leaves home for the first time in her life, the conversation needs to evolve.
Understand there is only so much you can control.
No parent wants to admit that they can’t control every decision their daughter is going to make once moving out. You can tell her not to have sex all you want, but you must understand that this doesn’t mean she won’t engage in sex. As her parent, it is your responsibility to guide her and explain to her why she should wait, but also let her know that she can confide in you.
By providing her with information, facts, and a little guidance, you will set your daughter up for a safe college experience. You cannot control whether or not your daughter decides to have sex in college, but you can give her all the facts and information to make her own, educated decisions.
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You might be thinking, “I thought we were talking about sex, not drinking!” Well, these two topics are often intertwined in college. By teaching your daughter about safe drinking practices, it will also aid in the prevention of her engaging in sexual intercourse that is often regretted the next day, and help her to make smart decisions. Some important topics to hit on include:
· Not overindulging in alcohol. Stop after a couple drinks.
· Never leave a drink unattended or take an open drink from someone you don’t know.
· Don’t give in to the pressure to “hook-up” during a party.
· Don’t allow a man to take you anywhere to be alone.
· Use the buddy system.
Make sure she knows it is her decision.
Regardless of the pressure she might feel so have sex, make sure your daughter knows she can say “NO” at any point. Whether she is dating someone, having a casual hookup, or in the middle of intercourse, make sure she knows that if she feels uncomfortable at any point, she can say “no”. And if her partner doesn’t listen to her, then she needs to tell someone. Sexual intercourse should ALWAYS be consensual, but unfortunately that is not always the case.
Tell her the facts.
Sometimes the facts are alarming and scary, but your daughter needs to be aware of the statistics for herself and for her friends.
· 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college, but more that 90% of these cases go unreported.
· 1 in 4 college students have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
· STIs can still be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
The average student has 3-4 sexual partners- meaning you may not be the only one sleeping with them.
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If your daughter does decide to engage in sexual activities, she needs to ensure that she is smart about it. With an alarming amount of STIs among college students, she needs to use protection. It only takes one sexual experience to pass on an STI, and condoms are the best defense against this- even with oral sex. If her partner doesn’t like using condoms, then you can bet he is not using them with any of his other partners, so don’t risk it.
Women also have to protect themselves against pregnancy. A condom will do the trick, but another backup method to consider is the pill. Make sure your daughter knows she can come with you with any questions about protection. She also should know that she could go to her campus health center at any time to get the information and resources she needs if she doesn’t want to get into the details with you. Don’t take it personally.
Finally, something you have a little control over. Make it of the utmost importance that your daughter goes in for a yearly gynecological exam. This will ensure that she does not have any STIs or more serious gynecological diseases.
Be there for her.
Tell your daughter that she can come to you with absolutely any questions. Establish an open dialogue and judgment-free environment so that she is compelled to be honest with you. Your daughter’s sexual health is a part of her overall health, so she needs the proper information when leaving the nest for the first time. Contact Dr. Quartell & Associates if you have any questions about our gynecological services.