Dear Doctor: What about Temporary Birth Control Methods?

One of my readers wrote in asking about temporary birth control methods. Temporary birth-control methods fall into two categories: hormonal and non-hormonal. The hormonal reversible methods include birth control pills, patches, rings, hormonal IUD, and implants. The first three are short acting, and the last two are long acting (5 years for the Mirena IUD, and 3 years for the implant–Implanon or Nexplanon). The non-hormonal methods are barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragm, and the non-hormonal IUD. The latter is also a long acting reversible contraceptive option that is good for 10 years. All of these methods are reversible–they can be stopped at any time in order to start the family. Of course each of these methods have a different set of side effects, and benefits, and success rates for pregnancy prevention. The medium acting hormonal reversible method includes the 3 month Depo-Provera injection.  I do not like to recommend this form of birth control to my patients because of the high percentage of side effects  (up to 40%),  which include depression and weight gain.

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