When is birth control less effective?

Birth control. We like to think that the birth control we take is effective. And it is! But there are some things that can make your birth control less effective. Let’s talk about that!

  • Not taking your pill at the same time everyday
    • It matters less if you’re on a mixed pill (estrogen and progestin) than a progestin-only pill, but either way, you should really do your best to take your pill the same time everyday. If you’re on a mixed pill, around the same time every day is good enough.
  • Missing pills or starting your pack late
    • If you miss a single pill, it’s not the end of the world. However, the earlier in your pack you skip it, the more likely you are to have a problem. That’s why starting your pack late is also a big no-no.
  • (Few) Antibiotics
    • Majority of antibiotics WILL NOT mess with your birth control. There are a few that will mess with your birth control, like rifampin or rifabutin. Not sure? When you pick up your antibiotic from the pharmacist, just ask!
  • Medications
    • Mood stabilizer & epilepsy medicines are often a problem. Medications like Barbituates, Carbamazepine, and Oxycarbazepine (to list a few) can be really problematic because the medication makes the birth control less effective, and the birth control makes the medication less effective.
    • Some medicines for HIV
    • John’s Wort (which is an herbal remedy taken for depression, anxiety or insomnia)
    • Some seizure or migraine medications (like Topamax)
    • Laxatives
    • Medicines that are used to treat diarrhea
    • Some medications used to treat skin infections such as athlete’s foot (mainly griseofulvin)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease or other digestive disorders
    • When your body can’t absorb things properly, hormone birth control can be infective. However, non-oral forms of birth control can often bypass these issues.
  • Being overweight
    • Being overweight (so having a BMI of 25 or higher) has proven to make not only to make birth control less effective, but also to make emergency contraceptive (like Plan B) less effective. It sucks to say, but if that’s not a reason to slim down then I don’t know what is!
  • Grapefruit
    • So this hasn’t been proven to make your birth control less effective, but grapefruit does decrease the body’s ability to breakdown estrogen. This could potentially increase your risk for side effects like blood clots.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want to read more?

Which medications are problems

https://www.bedsider.org/features/294-which-medications-can-mess-with-birth-control

http://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/grapefruit-and-birth-control#2

Weight

https://www.bedsider.org/features/164-does-being-overweight-affect-your-birth-control

General

http://www.self.com/story/7-things-that-can-make-birth-control-pills-fail

STI Testing Times

SO YOU HAD UNPROTECTED SEX

Now what?

Well, as you know, you really ought to go get tested for both STI’s and pregnancy. But here’s the catch- you can’t just go to the doctor’s the next day, have the tests come up negative and think you’re ok! Believe it or not, different STI’s won’t show up on a test until certain times. Testing too soon can lead to false negatives, which would really suck. That being said, you obviously want to treat anything you have as quickly as possible. So let’s talk about it!

 PregnancyChlamydia GonorrheaHerpes Simplex 1&2SyphilisHIV Hepatitis AHepatitis BHepatitis C 
Earliest possible 10 days after conceptionWithin first weekWithin first week2-4 weeks1-2 weeks3 weeks2-3 weeks1-6 weeks4-5 weeks
Most likely 14 days after conception2 weeks1-2 weeks6-12 weeks6 weeks4-6 weeks3-6 weeks6-10 weeks6-9 weeks
Highest AccuracyOne week after missed period 4 weeks2-3 weeks12-16 weeks12 weeks12 weeks6-7 weeks12 weeks10-12 weeks
What is the test sample?UrineUrine or cultureUrine or cultureBlood or cultureBloodUrine, blood, or oral fluidBloodBloodBlood
Other notesThe take home tests you can get at the drug store are basically as effective as the ones your doctor hasVery common and many people never show symptoms. Can be cured with treatment. Very common and can be cured when treated correctly1 and 2 refer to oral and genital herpes. Can take culture if active soresUncommon, but very serious when untreatedThis refers to the ELISA antibodies testCan improve without treatment Can become chronicCan become chronic

The real take home message? WEAR A CONDOM!!!! Learn how to put them on correctly, check the expiration date, and you’ll be so much better off than dealing with all this.

SO you had protected sex or the condom broke, what should you do?

  1. Take emergency contraceptives ASAP (so that’s the morning after pill).
  2. Go to the doctors within the week to get tested. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia will likely show up very quickly since they’re bacterial. These can be easily treated with antibiotics, so the earlier you catch them the better off you are. You should also get blood work done to get a baseline for testing since none of the viral diseases will show up yet.
  3. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about when is you should return for follow-up blood work. Fun fact, they’re actually testing for antibodies (i.e. your body’s reaction to the disease) and not the disease itself.

A note about herpes: herpes are basically chicken pox. If you have ever had an infection, it will show up in your blood test. You may no longer be infectious or contagious.

Your health is important. You might not think you have an STI, but it’s WAY better to be safe than sorry. And shameless plug, you can get tested at Adagio Health.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want more info? Check out these resources:

Time frames for different STI’s

http://www.thestdproject.com/std-testing-windows-when-to-get-tested-stds/

HIV

http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/insite?page=basics-01-01

Pregnancy tests

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940

The Shot

You can eat, wear, or insert your birth control. And you can also inject it. Let’s talk about the birth control shot.

The shot is very literally a shot of hormones that lasts for three months. It works the way most of the other hormone birth control types do, but with only progestin (no estrogen).

Questions?

Will I have to wait a long time from my last shot to get pregnant?

Contrary to most of the other methods, this one is one you’ll want to avoid if you think you might want to get pregnant soon. You could have to wait anywhere from 12 weeks to 9 months to become fertile again.

It’s really a shot?

Yes, like with a needle. You go to your healthcare provider once every three months, they give you the shot, and you go on your merry way. But if you’re terrified of needles, this is clearly not for you.

Who is this is a good match for?

Some women can’t take estrogen- this is ideal for them.

Can I be on it while breastfeeding?

Sure!

Rumor has it it’ll make my period irregular…?

Yes. This is a very common side effect. It could lighten your period to nothing or make it heavier. It could also cause spotting between periods. This could last anywhere from 6-12 months once you start.

Why it’s good:

  • Once you get the shot, you don’t have to think about it for three months
  • It’s totally discrete; there is no visible sign you’re taking it and nothing anyone could feel
  • It’s very effective when shot is on time
  • It could lighten your period
  • Reduced risk of cancer of the uterus if used long term and offers possible protection against pelvic inflammatory disease

Possible risks and downsides:

  • Possibility of irregular menstrual cycle and bleeding between periods
  • Potential change in appetite or weight gain (usually less than 5 lbs.)
  • Depression, sore breasts, headache, dizziness, and gain or loss of body hair are less common but possible side effects
  • Bone loss
  • Change in sex drive
  • If you have any negative side effects, you cannot quickly reverse these as the hormone is for three months at a time. There’s nothing you can do once you get the shot if something doesn’t go well
  • They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)
  • Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if sole contraceptive method

If you’re not afraid of needles and like not having to think about your birth control for months at a time, this might be a good choice for you! I’m not a doctor; so consulting one of those would be your best bet to decide if this is a good choice for you. Per usual, condoms are still your best friend if there’s a possibility of you being exposed to a STI.

Shameless plug as always, you can get your shot at Adagio Health.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want some more info? Check out

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Progestin-Only-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-and-Injection

Or

https://adagiohealth.org/healthcare/birth-control/

 

The Implant

Less common but no less relevant, let’s talk about the implant. Whether they’re good for your butt is not my place to say. What I can tell you though is that the implant as birth control is a very effective method that is definitely worth consideration.

The implant is a small and flexible tube that is placed under the skin in arm. It’s the other type of LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) other than the IUD. It’s effective for 3 years, but can be taken out at any time.

Questions?

How is it inserted and removed?

A healthcare professional will use a localized anesthetic to numb the area. Then, a small incision is made and the implant is set in/taken out. Both procedures only take a few minutes. It is not a surgery and you will not need to be put under total anesthesia. Typically healing only takes around 2 days.

How big is it?

About the size of a matchstick.

Can you see or feel it in your arm?

You usually can’t see it, but if you poke it at you can probably feel it. It shouldn’t hurt though.

How does it work?

It works similarly to other hormone-based birth control forms. It releases a hormone at prevents your eggs from being released and causes the cervix to build up mucus (which blocks sperm from reaching an egg).

Can you use it while breastfeeding?

Yep!

How soon after it’s taken out do the effects wear off?

Almost immediately once removed from the body. It will not cause infertility.

Can anyone get the implant?

Sadly, no. If you’ve had breast cancer, are currently pregnant, or have liver disease, this is not for you. The good news is that if you talk to your doctor, they’ll steer you in the right direction.

Rumor has it your menstrual period might stop if you get the implant. Is that true?

Yes, your period could stop entirely, as well and become lighter. If it becomes heavier, you should talk to your doctor. But irregular periods are definitely a possible side effect.

Why it’s awesome:

  • There is nothing inside your vagina, which means it’s very discrete and will not impact intercourse
  • Once it’s in, you don’t need to think about it for three years. No more phone alarms, or shots, or calendar reminders.
  • They offer a continuous and reliable release of hormone (which is arguably better for you than a spike of hormone every day like with the pill). It’s more effective than the pill as well.
  • Can be used immediately after childbirth, miscarriage, or an abortion

Possible risks and downsides:

  • Irregular and unpredictable menstrual bleeding
  • Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if sole contraceptive method
  • Scarring, infection, or irritation at the insertion spot
  • They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)
  • Some medications can make it less effective (talk to your doctor)

While they’re not as popular as some of the other birth control options, they’re still a great choice. They’re one and done, and wouldn’t it be nice to not have to think about your birth control for three years?  As always, if you’re sleeping with different partners, it is still recommended you use a condom to prevent getting an STI.

But here’s the deal: I’m not a doctor so if you’re really interested in getting the implant, go talk to a healthcare professional. And shameless plug, you can get one at Adagio Health.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want some more info? Check out

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Long-Acting-Reversible-Contraception-LARC-IUD-and-Implant

Or

https://adagiohealth.org/healthcare/birth-c

The Ring

If you like it then you should put a ring on it, as Beyoncé would say. And we like our vaginas, so…

Let’s talk about the vaginal ring, more commonly referred to by the brand name NuvaRing. It’s similar to the pill in the way it works, but you put it in and forget it for three weeks. It’s a flexible ring that gets inserted into the vagina and releases hormone.

Questions?

How big is it?

It’s about the size of a large hair tie, and is similarly flexible.

How do you use it?

So you get a prescription for it from your doctor, but you put it in yourself. To put it in, you pinch the flexible ring in half and slide it up into the vagina (like a tampon). It will expand on it’s own and stay in place. Then you forget about it for three weeks! To take it out, you just reach up with clean fingers and pull it out. It’s so easy. It stays out for a week for your menstrual cycle, and then a fresh one goes in for another 3 weeks. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Can it fall out?

Hypothetically sure, but it’s unlikely to fall out on its own if it’s been inserted correctly (which translates to pushing it up there pretty good). You can easily pull it out with your fingers, and it’s possible a tampon will pull it out. However, intercourse is unlikely to pull it out.

Will I feel it when it’s in?

Nope! You notice it even less than a tampon.

Will my partner feel it during sex?

It’s possible. However, if positioned correctly, it’s very easy to ignore for you and your partner.

Can I take it out?

You really shouldn’t. However, if for some reason you choose to take it out (or it falls out), it can be safely out of the body for no more than 3 hours in any given 24 hour period without harming effectiveness. But really, just leave it in.

How does it work?

It’s hormone based, like most birth control we’ve talk about. Just like the patch and the pill, it’s a combined hormonal birth control. That means it releases both estrogen and progestin. Like other hormone control forms, it works by preventing ovulation and increasing mucus in the cervix, which makes it very difficult for sperm to reach an egg.

Are you still protected for the week it’s out if you do have sex?

Yes!

Why it’s great:

  • You put it and forget about it for three weeks
  • It’s as effective as the pill, but offers a more continuous release or hormone to the body
  • It’s super easy to insert (no need for a doctor)
  • Regulates period cycle and often leads to lighter periods and less cramping
  • Offers similar benefits to the pill, such as acne reduction
  • Can help prevent against endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease

Possible risks and downsides:

  • Could fall out
  • Possibility of bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, and nausea (but these should stop after three months)
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal irritation or infection
  • A change in sex drive
  • Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if sole contraceptive method
  • They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)
  • Slight increase to chance of suffering from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attack, or stroke

It’s a really nice option right between something as long lasting as an IUD and something like the pill you have to think about every day. It’s easy to use, and a great choice! Per usual, my mandatory reminder that you really ought to use a condom if sleeping with multiple partners to prevent STI’s.

And shameless plug, you can get a prescription for yours at Adagio Health.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want some more info? Check out

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Combined-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-Patch-and-Ring

Or

https://adagiohealth.org/healthcare/birth-control/

 

IUD

In honor of sexual health awareness month,  let’s talk about birth control. Most people know about the pill, so we’re going to talk about the other forms starting with the IUD.


So what’s the deal with IUD’s? They’ve been getting a lot of talk recently, so let’s get some facts straight.

They’re a type of LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive), which means they last 3-10 years and can be taken out at any point. They come in two types: hormone and copper. The hormone IUD lasts for either 3 or 5 years, and the copper IUD can last for 10 years.

Questions?

What does IUD even stand for?

Inter-uterine Device

Will they cause infertility?

Nope!

If I decide I want children before my (3,5,10) years are over, can I take the IUD out?

Yes, the effects wear off very quickly after removal from the body regardless of how long it’s been in or where is the timeframe you are.

Does it hurt to get put in?

Yea, you may feel some discomfort when it is inserted (by a doctor) but it is not a surgery, you do not need anesthesia. Worst thing will probably be some cramping when it’s first put in that can be helped with Ibuprofen.

Are they more effective than the pill?

Yes! You can’t forget to take it plus it’s a more even release of hormones (or copper).

Are they more dangerous than other birth control forms?

Nope, and as long as you know your medical history, a medical professional will be able to tell you if the IUD is a safe choice for you. (But that goes for all birth control types)

Will my partner feel it during sex?

Not the actual IUD. That’s in your uterus so it won’t “poke” your partner or anything. It’s possible that your partner could feel the string that hangs down into the vagina, but the string is soft so it’s very easy to ignore.

Can you accidentally pull it out?

Yea, it’s possible. But it’s highly unlikely to be pulled out during intercourse and you can ask your doctor if the string can be cut shorter. But overall, if you remind your partner you’re not a piñata (don’t pull the string) you should be fine!

How do they actually work?

Well the hormone IUD works by creating a buildup of mucus in the cervix that prevents sperm from reaching an egg. The copper IUD works because copper is toxic to sperm and renders them immobile. Pretty much it’s magic.

Can I get it if I haven’t had children?

Yep!

Why they’re amazing:

  • It’s one and done; put it in and forget about it for years. No more phone alarms, or shots, or calendar reminders for years.
  • They are extremely effective; more effective than the pill
  • Hormonal IUD’s can decrease menstrual pain and heavy bleeding
  • Copper IUD’s can be an effective form of emergency contraception
  • Almost all women have use them given there are two types that work differently

Possible risks and downsides:

  • Irregular or heavier menstrual bleeding at first
  • Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if sole contraceptive method
  • It could come out (this is very, very unlikely, but possible)
  • It could perforate the uterus wall (again, extremely unlikely but possible)
  • They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)

The long story short is that they’re a really good option. If you’re busy or forgetful or just want the most effective birth control, then you should definitely look into one. If you’re sleeping with different partners, it is still recommended you use a condom to prevent getting an STI, but far as stopping babies goes, it’s a solid choice.

Then again, I’m not a doctor so if you’re really interested in getting an IUD, go talk to one of them. And shameless plug, you can get one at Adagio Health.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want some more info? Check out

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Long-Acting-Reversible-Contraception-LARC-IUD-and-Implant

Or

https://adagiohealth.org/healthcare/birth-control/

 

World Breastfeeding Week

Happy breastfeeding week! This is such an important topic, and while I would love to give you the facts, I’m arguably one of the worst people to be telling anyone anything about breastfeeding. I have never had children, and haven’t even been around a newborn in a long time. So don’t listen to me!

Listen to Lauren Smith Brody. She is the amazing author of The Fifth Trimester, a realistic and relatable guide to having a life after childbirth. We are so excited and grateful to have copies of this book in our Adagio Health medical and WIC offices! So in honor of breastfeeding week, I’m going to highlight a few of the tips and things to keep in mind from the book.

First of all, if you’re breastfeeding, you really need to consider your own nutrition. Your body is working HARD! To avoid feeling exhausted all the time, you really need to get enough protein. The amino acids will help you stay alert so you can be the most efficient with your time. It might be easy to just grab something quick and worry about eating real food later, but you must make food a priority if you expect to get through your day! (See more on page 52)

Second, your skin is important. You might not think you have time for a beauty regime, but taking care of your skin is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. When you’re breastfeeding, you need to be extra careful of what’s in products. Avoid things with retinoids and vitamin A. Things with fruit acids or sulfur are good choices. Make sure to be wearing clean bras and pumps to avoid clogged and irritated pores. (See more on pages 74-78)

You have to get dressed eventually. Whether you’re nursing or at work with a pump, some articles of clothing work better than others. Low-cut and skin tight choices are a no-go. So are dresses with zippers in the back and silk (or anything else that wouldn’t look good with a milk drip on it). What does work are button down shirts, wrap dresses, tank tops under stretchy things, camisoles and jackets, nursing shirts under a cardigan or blazer, and patterns (to better hide milk drips). Don’t throw out your old clothes and underwire bras! They might not work right now, but you’ll be sad if you toss everything just because you’re a little leaky and not your usual shape right now. (More on page 140)

There are so many more important things to know about breastfeeding! For a more experienced opinion than mine, check out The Fifth Trimester. Be proud of yourself and what you’re doing for your baby! Motherhood is hard, and feeding a baby and still having a life can seem very overwhelming. This week, we applaud you! And even though we’re only celebrating for one week of the year, you’re amazing every day.

Safe Oral Sex

So here’s a question for you: Do you use a condom for oral sex? Do you use a dental dam? Let’s talk about it!

The punch line to this is yes, you should be using protection for oral sex! Why is that? Well STI’s like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes can be transmitted orally. So think about gonorrhea, but in your mouth and throat. Not great.

Condoms are something we know and love and have talked about before. They may reduce stimulation during the act, but it’s a small price to pay for avoiding the whole throat gonorrhea thing. They’re easy to use! You put the condom on just like you would for sex. They even make flavored condoms and lubes for just the occasion!

Now dental dams (dams) are something not as many people are familiar with. They’re called “dental” dams because dentists use them to isolate individual teeth in your mouth to work on. However, you don’t have to go to the dentist to get them! (And we actually recommend you don’t ask your dentist for any.)

What are dental dams? Basically it’s just a thin sheet of latex you hold over the area you want to lick (usually the vulva, but can also be use over the anus) so prevent any STI’s from being transmitted. You can get them from the drug store. You can also make your own! To DIY a dental dam, unroll a condom and cut off the rim base. Then cut lengthwise. Ta-da! You can also use a latex rubber glove or non-microwaveable cling wrap. Cling wrap (or saran wrap) is a good option since it’s extremely thin and can cover a larger area so you don’t need to worry about holding it in place as much. It is NOT suggested, on the other hand, to use microwaveable cling wrap. The difference is that it’s usually more porous (so not a full barrier against STI’s), and at that point, why bother?

Interestingly enough, dams are not commonly used. This is INSANE! It seems that they have a connotation with queer women, which makes sense. Twice the opportunity to use them! However, if you’re anyone (males included) who comes in oral contact with vaginas, you should get some! Or if you’re someone who puts your tongue in contact with an anus, this is for you too! Like the condom it will probably reduce sensitivity, but as I said before, priorities. They can also be pretty pricey, but that’s no excuse when there are so many easy and cheap alternatives listed above.

Now let’s be real with each other. Do you really need to use a condom or dam to have safe oral sex? No, if both you and your partner have been recently STI tested and not been sexual with any new partners since. However, if you’re with someone who either does have an STI or has not been tested, then yes, you really should! Plus, even if a partner says they’ve been tested, it might not be true. We have to face the ugly truth that people lie and that you need to be the one looking out for your own best interest.

My last note is about condoms. Some condoms and lubes contain spermicide. Spermicide is a great secondary layer of protection against pregnancy! However, I would not get spermicide near your mouth! So be careful!

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

The UTI and You

Happy summer! Hope you’re enjoying barbecues, days in the park, late nights when it’s still light out, and fun in the sun! I recently went swimming with some friends, and it was a great time! However, it got me thinking about vaginal health. (Doesn’t everyone think about vaginal health when they go swimming?) Did you know that sitting in a wet bathing suit can promote bacteria growth that can cause icky things UTI’s? Yea, not great. So today, let’s talk about UTI’s so that your summer fun isn’t ruined.

UTI- what is it?

UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection, and it’s just that (an infection in your urinary tract. )They’re actually super common, which is why you should never be embarrassed about getting a UTI. You can get UTI’s from a million different things. We’ll talk more about causes in a second, but the reason it’s typically a bigger issue for women as opposed to men is because women’s urethras are shorter and closer to the anus. As if women didn’t already have enough problems to worry about!

What causes UTI’s?

UTI’s occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract. This could be caused from a million different things, and sometimes it’s a small thing you didn’t think would be a problem. For example, if you hold it in when you need to pee, you are making yourself susceptible to a UTI. When you have sex, you are introducing outside stuff (like bacteria) to your inside stuff, which is why making sure to have CLEAN sex is so important. Never have vaginal penetration after anal penetration without first cleaning very thoroughly.

How can you avoid getting a UTI?

  • Wear clean underwear everyday (preferably cotton, and nothing too tight)
  • Always wipe front to back when using the toilet
  • Don’t sit in damp/wet bottoms
  • Avoid using douches to clean. Don’t use anything other than good ol’ water to clean the vagina
  • Pee before and after sex! A lot of people will say after, but before is just as good if not better!
  • If you have to pee, don’t hold it in for long periods of time
  • Drink lots of water and pee often. It helps for you to flush anything icky out of your system

How would you know if you had a UTI?

  • Feeling the urge to pee frequently
  • Despite needing to pee really badly, not much comes out when you do pee
  • Burning sensation or pain when urinating
  • Urine is discolored (like cloudy or bloody)
  • Low fever (under 101 °F)
  • Pain in lower abdomen or groin area (like cramping or achiness)

So you think you have a UTI, now what?

As we said before, UTI’s are super common and can happen to even the most careful people. So don’t sweat it! The sooner they get treated, the less of a big deal they are. Go to a healthcare provider. Pee in a cup. It’s that easy! If you do have a UTI, then they write you a prescription for antibiotics and send you on your way! If you take the antibiotics as instructed, your UTI will be gone in a snap and you’ll be feeling all better! Lots of websites will tell you about home remedies or over the counter drugs, but I promise you, just go a doctor. The home remedies might help, but if the UTI gets further along, it could cause real problems for your health. Don’t mess around. If you think you have a UTI, just get it taken care of the right way.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

For more info on UTI’s check out:

The CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/uti.html

Bedsider

https://www.bedsider.org/features/790-what-you-need-to-know-about-utis

 

The Patch

So far we’ve only talked about birth control that go in you through various forms. But what about birth control on you?

The birth control patch is basically a Band-Aid you apply to clean skin, and forget about for a week. You use three in a row (so three weeks) and then one week without to start your period. Otherwise, it’s very similar to the pill.

Questions?

Will it come off in the shower or while working out?

It shouldn’t, they’re pretty darn adhesive. They’re made to stay on a full week, so creators have taken into account showering and so on. Maybe don’t choose this if you’re an avid swimmer.

Do I have to put it on my arm?

Nope! You can put it on butt, stomach, upper outer arm, shoulder, or upper back. You may not put it on your breasts, although I’m not sure you’d want to do that anyway.

How does it work?

It’s hormone based, like most birth control we’ve talk about. Just like the ring and the pill, it’s a combined hormonal birth control. That means it releases both estrogen and progestin. Like other hormone control forms, it works by preventing ovulation and increasing mucus in the cervix, which makes it very difficult for sperm to reach an egg.

Will I have to wait a long time after stopping the patch if I want to become pregnant?

Nope!

Is this a good option for me if I’m breastfeeding?

Honestly, not your best bet. While you can begin the patch after minimum three weeks after giving birth vaginally, you should wait at minimum six weeks if you’re breastfeeding. The patch may reduce the amount and quality of milk in the first six weeks of nursing. Also, the milk will contain traces of the patch’s hormones.

Who shouldn’t use the patch?

Most women can, however you need to talk to your doctor with your full medical history to be sure.  Using the patch could increase your likelihood for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attack, or stroke in some women (like if you’re over 35 and a heavy smoker). This is the same as for the pill.

Why they’re cool:

  • Nothing has to be ingested or inserted into the body
  • Only need to think about it once a week
  • Regulates period cycle and often leads to lighter periods and less cramping
  • Offers similar benefits to the pill, such as acne reduction
  • As effective as the pill, but offer a more continuous release of hormone to the body to than the pill
  • Can help prevent against endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease

Possible risks and downsides:

  • It could become loose and fall off
  • Possibility of skin irritation
  • Nausea, breast tenderness, and bleeding between periods are possible (these side effects usually clear up after first 3 months)
  • Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if sole contraceptive method
  • They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)
  • Slight increase to chance of suffering from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attack, or stroke

The take home message is that it’s nice you only have to think about it once a week and they’re easy to manage. My usual reminder is that you should still use a condom to prevent STI’s if sleeping with different partners. So talk to a healthcare provider if you’re interested in starting the contraceptive patch. And shameless plug, you can get a prescription at Adagio Health.

Have questions or something you’d like me to write about? Email us at info@adagiohealth.org

Want some more info? Check out

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Combined-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-Patch-and-Ring

Or

https://adagiohealth.org/healthcare/birth-control/