Frequently Asked Questions
Is the birth control pill safe? Yes. Oral contraceptives are extremely safe and have been used for over 30 years. Millions of women use the ‘pill’ each year as a means of safe and effective birth control. Itshould not be used if you have any history of blood clots, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, history of hormone sensitive cancer, migraine headache with aura or liver disease. A family history of breast cancer is not a contraindication to taking the pill. On the other hand, there are some real health benefits, including lowering one’s risk of ovarian cancer, a devastating disease. Estimates are that taking the pill for 5 years lowers the risk by an impressive 50%. It also often reduces heavy menstrual bleeding and cramps.
Should I get the HPV vaccine? The HPV vaccine is approved for girls and young women ages 9 through 26. Ideally, it should be given to girls (and boys) before any sexual contact. All 3 does of the vaccine are recommended by the CDC until age 26. In 2015, a new vaccine containing 9 different subtypes of HPV was introduced. If you are over age 26 and have not been vaccinated for HPV, please come in to discuss whether the vaccine is appropriate for you. HPV vaccine is known to prevent at least 70% of cervical cancer as well as reduce the incidence of vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer. In recent years, it has become clear that certain cases of oropharyngeal cancer are due to HPV and it is hoped that the vaccine will help to prevent this as well. . This is more common in men, but also occurs in women and is likely related to oral sex. The HPV vaccine is safe and there are no significant safety concerns specific to the vaccine.
What is the difference between the 2 available IUDs? The IUD is increasingly popular as a safe and very effective birth control method for women of all ages., including adolescents. There are 2 main types of IUD available in the U.S. - those with copper or those with progesterone. They are both inserted in the office and checked with an ultrasound. There is some discomfort with the procedure, but it is brief and tolerable for most women. The Paragard IUD contains copper and is effective for up to 10 years.
The Mirena contains progesterone and is effective for up to 5 years. Due to the progesterone, Mirena causes menstrual flow to become significantly lighter and often stop completely, though it often causes some irregular staining as well in the first few months . Women with heavy periods find this particularly helpful and the Mirena can be used to treat heavy bleeding.
There are 3 other new progesterone IUDs available as well, Liletta, Skyla and Kyleena .They are all excellent contraceptive options. Please make an appointment to discuss IUD options and insertion procedure.