18 March, 2009

An In Depth Look

Wow, the poll is closed already? Is a good thing I got a couple posts ready just in case... I have to say I was a little surprised at the results (very different from how it started), but not unhappy with them since I've been asked about this by a few people anyway. Anyways, if you voted for one of the others.. I will get to them in time too! :-)

Don't worry, I'm not going to go into the religious aspects on this topic nor my own personal views. Not this time anyway. What I want to do is take a look at how exactly various forms of Hormonal Birth Control really work. Why? You'd be surprised how many people just don't know...

Before I go any further let me say that I will be linking all of my resources underneath.

All hormonal methods work in basically the same way... (some rely more on one of these "methods" than the others) So instead of repeating myself 10 times I'll start w/ what they have in common and then break into the different forms.

HBC's work in 3 ways...

1) They attempt to stop ovulation
2) They increase cervical mucus
3) They thin lining of the uterus

Obviously if you don't ovulate, there is no egg to be met and you can't get pregnant. So 1 is pretty self explanitory. However how often this actually works depends on which form you use.

Cervical Mucus is actually an important part of getting or avoiding pregnancy. 2 works by increasing it or changing it to where its hard (note hard, not impossible) for sperm to get past...

The last is a little trickier. This does not prevent a pregnancy in the least. What it does is attempt to keep a baby (or zygote if you want the technical term) from implanting in the uterus.

So individual HBC's?

The pill... There are two kinds. The combination pill and the mini pill. Obviously each kind is broken into many different brands and stuff, but essentially they fall in those two categories.

Combination Pill - Made of synthetic progesterone and estrogen. This type uses all 3 methods mentioned above to "prevent" pregnancy. 99% effective at "preventing" pregnancy, but at least once source says that w/ typical use they are 93 to 97% effective. Effectiveness can be affected by antibiotics, vomiting, diarrhea and of course forgetting pills. Risks include
blood clots, heart attack, stroke, headaches, nausua, irregular bleeding, tumors, yeast infections, mood changes, and weight gain.

Mini Pill - Synthetic progesterone only. Relies most heavily on 2, but can occasionally suppress ovulation. Some sources say it does thin uterine lining, some say it may thin lining. This pill is often called the nursing mothers pill (or something to that extent) because it's the least likely to affect milk supply. One big "drawback" is that it must not only be taken every day, but at the same exact time every day. It is not as effective as other forms of BC. Most sites say that they are 97 to 98 % effective, although one (the teen one) says it can be as low as 87% effective. Risks include ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, skin spots, irregular periods, headaches and nausea.

The Patch... Actually works the exact same way as the Combination Pill. They say it is 99% effective at "preventing" pregnancy. A few of the risks include skin irritation, headaches, breast irritation, irregular bleeding, nausua and bloating.

The Depro-Provera Shot... Also works in the same manner as the Combination Pill and Patch, but uses a synthetic progesterone like the Mini Pill. 99% effective when used correctly. Risks include headaches, dizzyness, nausea, depression, hair loss, stomache aches, blood clots, stroke, fatigue, weight gain and loss of appetite.

Ring... Also works in the same way as the Combination Pill. Is about 98% effective when used correctly. Risks include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, weight gain, and bleeding.

Hormonal IUD... Synthetic Progesterone again... Uses methods 2 and 3. Mirena's website does say that it may stop ovulation, but does not do so in most cases. Every thing I have seen says that you must have had a baby for this to even be an option. Is 99% effective. Risks include pelvic inflamitory disease, sterility, increased cramping, acne, headaches, cysts, and weight gain.

Copper IUD... Same as above only uses copper instead of hormones. It does not stop ovulation, but does use the second two methods. Risks include pelvic inflamitory disease, sterility, pain, and heavy bleeding.

Morning After/Emergency Contraception... Also uses the same methods as a Combination Pill. It is made of high doses of various hormones mentioned above. It also has the same risks. Beyond that it's kinda hard to get more information on this one.

While I'm pretty sure there are other hormonal methods, those are the most common and/or ones I can get info on the easiest. If you'd like info on how any others work let me know and I can pull it up. Obviously I did not put every risk mentioned... tried to put some of the lesser known ones as some really surprised me and I've done this research before! Anyway if you'd like more information I've included the links below... obviously I couldn't put everything on here.

Sexual Health Resource
Teen Health
American Pregnancy - Pills
Net Dr UK - Mini Pills
Family Dr - Mini Pills
American Pregnancy - Patch
American Pregnancy - Depro-Provera

American Pregancy - Ring
American Pregnancy - IUD
American Pregnancy - Emergency


Lelo and Stitch said...

its sad how little people (including me) know about something that some people (like myself) have so easily just taken without question.

Mama Kalila said...

I know. Honestly if I hadn't decided to do a speech on it for class at LCU and then gone w/ the health side of it instead of religious aspects... I wouldn't have known either. Although a couple NFP sites I've seen have mentioned a bit about how BC works so I might have figured it out anyway lol... just not to the same extent.

Steph said...

Great info! But what you do have missing from the Morning After Pill is that then increased hormones in one gigantic surge causes the uterus lining to shed itself so that it makes implantation almost impossible. And if the "zygote" does implant and stays viable, then the chances of birth defects raises dramatically. <-- Info you learn when working at a crisis pregnancy center, and when your mom spends most of her life there. I know that she has more info on it somewhere here in the house. If I find it, I'll scan it and send it to you.

Mama Kalila said...

Thanks! I knew almost nothing about that pill honestly and didn't find much info on it. I figured with the increase in hormones it had to be pretty bad for you though. *Shaking head*

Christy said...

I am very weary of hormonal birth control. I do not like the idea of chemically altering my body's normal functions.

We use the withdrawal method. It worked great for 7 years. Then we started trying to get pregnant. It took us 3 months to finally get pregnant with Porgie. After she was born, we continued using the withdrawal method. But I ended up pregnant when she was 8 months old.

Shortly after Izzy was born, I got a script for the mini-pill, but I never had it filled. We opted instead to continue with the withdrawal method.

I am torn about using this method, because it worked for 7 YEARS, but then it also failed us.

Mama Kalila said...

From what I remember about withdrawl (and very well could be wrong) it's only about 75% reliable.

Now if you combine it w/ charting (same as NFP but since a type of bc, even if just withdrawl, is being used it's called FAM instead) the stats go up considerably. Like to the point of being equal with most types of hormonal bc's. In fact NFP alone (which is what we use) is about 98% if done correctly.

Mama Kalila said...

And completely agree w/ the altering body's functions... I think I'd have a problem with that part even if I didn't already have issues w/ the concept.

Lelo and Stitch said...

Like I said I wish I had known that.... I credit the pill with messing my up and my infertility issues now. I don't know for sure that is what caused it but I have me suspisions.

Mama Kalila said...

I wouldn't be surprised... I've heard of it happening. And I'm sorry. Still praying for yall btw...

Lelo and Stitch said...

Thanks, I figure if God wants it to happen it will...if not we will adopt. :-)

Mama Kalila said...

:-) yw... and understood. I'm hoping to do that one day whether we have more by birth or not.