Season 6 Episode 4: Your Guide to Birth Control (Part 1): Hormonal Birth Control
We should all have the right to choose the contraception that works for us – BUT also be FULLY informed of all the options we have available to us and the risks and benefits of those options. You are entitled to make an informed choice.
This is where I think our medical system is falling down at the moment – the being informed part. How can you have informed consent when your doctor has to understand the problem, and then present you the options and complete a prescription in 10 minutes? They can’t and that’s why so many of us have absolutely no idea what options we have available to us and also what the risks and benefits of those options are.
This podcast covers the hormonal options. Hormonal options always contain synthetic forms of Estrogen and Progesterone, which are the hormones that your body normally produces in response to ovulation.
The way they work is that they mimic the shape of our own hormones and then fit into the slot- all hormones act like a lock and key. There are different ways they can inhibit pregnancy based on the action of those hormones and the amount and combination that they do. So when talking about each option I’ll explain to you how it’s believed that they work to prevent pregnancy.
Like many things in life, there can be a bit of a tradeoff involved, in the case of hormonal contraceptives (and in fact any drugs), you’re making a trade-off between convenience and effectiveness and adverse effects. Drugs have effects, and those effects have knock on consequences. Because our body systems work together, we can’t expect to just turn one thing off and it not have any other consequences. But where it gets tricky is that the risk is not the same across all of us. This is why you’ll hear me talk about some people having a problem while others didn’t. The reason for this is probably mostly genetics, other conditions and in many cases, they don’t know. This is why it’s important for you to know the options so you can make the right call for you.
This episode is for you if:
– You’re currently on hormonal birth control
– You’re thinking about going on a hormonal form of birth control
– You want to know more about the effects of hormonal birth control on your body
– You want a breakdown of the birth control options available to you
Some things we cover in this episode:
– The combined Pill – monophasic, biphasic and triphasic
– The mini Pill
– The Injection (Depo Provera)
– Levonorgestrel IUD (LNG IUD)
– The Mirena coil IUD
– Contraceptive Patch
– The different product names of all of these birth control methods
Resources and References:
– The combined pill:
– According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pill is 99.7 percent effective with perfect use: Contraceptive Effectiveness
– Effects of hormonal contraceptives (not just ‘the Pill’):
– Contemporary Hormonal Contraception and the Risk of Breast Cancer (Danish Study)
– With typical use the mini pill is 91% effective: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm
– Depo Provera: ex-injectable contraception users have a pregnancy rate of 77.74% which is estimated only with two studies https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055351/
– Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG IUD) Typical use failure rate: 0.1-0.4% : https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm
– Levonorgestrel IUD has potentially greater risk of breast cancer than the combined pill and other hormonal birth control: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1700732
– Other hormonal IUD: Mirena, Skyla and Kyleena: failure rate of just 0.2- 0.7 percent: https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/m/Mirenaius.pdf
– 50% or women will ovulate on the Mirena: Mirena monograph. Bayer. Whippany; revision date: 2017 Jun; cited: 2019 Oct 6. Pp 1, 25
– These IUDs contain the progestin levonorgestrel: Progestin-only contraceptives: effects on weight
– One year pregnancy rate following cessation of different types of Intrauterine device (IUD) was 84.75%: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055351/
– Implanon/ Nexplanon implant: Typical use failure rate: 0.1%: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.ht
– The 12 month pregnancy rate following discontinuation 74.7% of ex-implant users get pregnant within 12 months. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055351/
– Vaginal rings (Nuva ring): Perfect use: 99% effective, typical use, 91-93% effective https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm
Emergency contraceptive pill – the morning after pill is 100 percent effective in stopping clinical pregnancy if given prior to ovulation, but would have no effect in stopping pregnancy if given on the day of ovulation or after ovulation:
– If you’re over 70kg or 154 pounds then the ECP maybe even less effective: https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/safety/EWS/2014/emergency-contraceptive-effectiveness.asp
Links to our programs: