Over 10% (4.4 million) of American women who are at risk of unintended pregnancy are not currently using any contraceptive method, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute. Many women in this group cite the debilitating side effects of hormonal birth control methods as a reason for not using birth control. Some women also fail to sign up for family planning because the methods available are not convenient.
Scientists are working behind the scene to find convenient methods of family planning with fewer side effects. Although there is probably no perfect birth control method, they are new little-known family planning methods that take convenience to a whole new level. Here are some methods which might meet the needs of some women:
For those who seek a non-invasive alternative to an implant, the patch might be the method of choice. A piece of plastic is stuck on the skin and just like with an implant, it releases progestin and estrogen hormones gradually into the body. The catch is that you need to change the patch on a weekly basis apart from the week in which you have your menstrual bleeding. Women who the patch report more or less the same side effects as those who are use pills and implants.
Once-a-Week Birth Control Pills
The pill revolutionized birth control decades ago and it is still very popular with many women. However, it is limited because of the need to take a pill on a daily basis. Researchers have made a pill which only needs to be taken once a week. If you are likely to forget taking your daily pill, the once-a-week pill may be the right method for you. However, this pill has been reported to be a less effective method of birth control than the daily pill.
This was made in response to the side effects of hormonal birth control like pills, IUDs, and implants. The paragard IUD, in particular, has been reported to produce some severe side effects including brain injury called pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) and injuries to women particularly when the device is being removed.
Some women have decided to sue the manufacturers and medical professionals involved in the insertion and removal of the devices. The ring releases fewer hormones compared to the pill and its compliance rates are generally higher than those of the pill
The vaginal ring is placed inside the vagina and it works by releasing progestin or a combination of progestin and estrogen. Some of the cons of these rings are that they have to be removed regularly and there is currently only one size available.
The family planning industry is undergoing rapid changes, albeit silently. It is constantly striving for ever better and more convenient birth control methods. The patch, the once-a-week birth control pill, and vaginal rings are some of the most promising methods that may rule the industry in the coming years.