Choosing a contraceptive is a highly personal decision. Women's Medical Care helps women in Yavapai County, AZ, learn about all their birth control options so they can select the option that works best for their needs.
Today, there are several options for birth control to help women find a method of contraception that works best for their needs and their lifestyle. Options include birth control pills, IUDs (intrauterine devices), arm implants, and diaphragms. Each type works in a slightly different way, allowing women to choose an option with which they feel most comfortable.
IUDs are small T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The fitting begins in much the same way as a pelvic exam, using a speculum to widen the vaginal canal so the cervix can be easily accessed. The IUD is inserted through the cervix and the two branches of the “T” help hold it in place. The longer stem of the “T” is attached to a plastic string that extends into the vaginal canal. Because an IUD can, on rare occasions, become dislodged, it's important to feel for this string before having intercourse to ensure the IUD is still firmly in place. The string will also be used to remove the IUD.
Like IUD insertion, a diaphragm fitting begins like a pelvic exam, using a speculum to widen the vaginal canal so the cervix can be accessed. Diaphragms are designed to fit snugly over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Different sizes of diaphragms will be “tried on” the cervix to ensure the best fit. Diaphragms need to be used with spermicides, and they should be left in place for some time after intercourse to help ensure pregnancy does not occur. The specific instructions for diaphragm wear will be provided during the appointment.
Arm implants are inserted under the skin in a simple procedure in the office. The insertion site will be numbed with a local anesthetic, and no sedation of anesthesia is required. Once in place, the insert will continually release a small amount of hormones to help prevent pregnancy. Arm implants can be left in place for from three to five years.