Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

Long-acting reversible contraception methods include the intrauterine device (IUD) and the birth control implant, the most effective forms of reversible birth control.

 

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, fewer than 1 in 100 women using an IUD or implant will get pregnant, making LARC methods 20x more effective than pills, the patch, or the ring.

What Are the Risks and Benefits of an IUD or Implant?

As with any birth control method, there are certain benefits and risks that accompany choosing an IUD or implant to prevent pregnancy.

The Benefits of an IUD

An IUD is guided through the vagina, cervix and into the uterus by a trained healthcare professional. Before it is placed, he or she will review your medical history and perform a pelvic exam to ensure there are no complications.

 

The IUD has many benefits, including:

  • Ease of use. Once it’s inserted, you do not need to worry about preventing pregnancy.
  • No interference with daily life. Sex and other daily activities can still be enjoyed.
  • Quit at any time. If you choose to have a child, you can have the IUD removed; an IUD does not cause complications with getting or staying pregnant in the future.
  • Bleeding and pain relief. Hormonal IUDs have been shown to reduce menstrual pain and heavy bleeding over time.

Risks

Problems stemming from an IUD usually occur during or shortly after insertion. These risks include:

  • The IUD may come out of the uterus. If it comes out, the IUD will no longer effective, and you will need to have a new IUD placed.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Although an IUD does not directly cause PID, it may contribute to the development of the disease if you have an undiagnosed sexually transmitted disease (STI).

The Benefits of an Implant

An implant is placed just under the skin in the upper arm, which releases progestin into the body, stopping ovulation. Your healthcare professional will insert the implant into your arm after numbing the area. The procedure is brief and only takes a few minutes.

 

There are benefits to using an implant. These include:

  • Ease of use. Once it’s inserted, you do not need to worry about preventing pregnancy.
  • No interference with daily life. Sex and other daily activities can still be enjoyed.
  • Quit at any time. If you choose to have a child, you can have the IUD removed; an IUD does not cause complications with getting or staying pregnant in the future.

Risks

There are very limited risks involved with implants. These include problems related to the insertion (or removal) of the implant, and issues that may arise from pregnancy while the implant is inserted. In the likelihood that you become pregnant, you will need to have the implant removed.

Choosing LARC for You

Because of the long-term nature of these birth control methods, choosing to receive a LARC may be a difficult decision. The trained staff at Sylacauga OB-GYN have experience with the various forms of female birth control and can walk you through the potential risks and benefits involved with each method, so you can feel confident you’re making a decision that’s right for you.

We’re confident we can provide you effective, compassionate women’s healthcare. To discuss your birth control options or to ask a question about your current method, give us a call or email us at [email protected].

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