Q. What are my options for birth
control that will also help with irregular
and uncomfortable periods?
I do not have children, but would
like to someday.

Luckily for you and all women, the
number of options has grown in the
last 10 years. The oral contraceptive
pill remains the mainstay for contraception
and control of unscheduled,
painful periods. However, options
like Intrauterine Contraception, an
under-the-skin implant, patches or
the intra-vaginal ring are also effective
and easy to use methods. There
are two IUC’s available that offer
efficacy for five to 10 years, depending
on which one you choose. The
implant, called Implanon, offers
efficacy for three years. The patch or
the ring requires changes every one to
three weeks, respectively.
Studies have proven that there is
no medical reason to have a period.
In other words, as long as you are
regular about using a method like the
pill, patch or ring, you can skip the
hormone-free-week, use the method
continuously and forego your period
without damaging your reproductive
health.
What you need to decide is: Can you
manage to apply a patch weekly?
Change an intra-vaginal ring every three
to four weeks? Take a pill daily? Are you
interested in longer-term birth control,
i.e.: three to 10 years? Do you want to
have a period monthly or would you
mind not having a period at all?
It’s important to note that each of the
options discussed offer almost immediate
return to fertility when discontinued.
As with any medical treatment,
there are contraindications, or reasons
why you absolutely cannot use the particular
method, in addition to potential
side effects. All of these issues can be
discussed with your doctor to help you
choose the method that’s right for you.
Maren Dunn, D.O., is owner of
Gallatin Family Medicine, a medical
clinic in the Big Sky Meadow Village.
Have a question? Email her at inquiries@
gallatinfamilymedicine.com.