2013-01-03 / Community

Birth control options

Gloria Van Klompenberg Gloria Van Klompenberg MANISTIQUE – Birth control is a very personal decision between a person and their physician. There are many types available for both men and women, both surgical and not, some with hormones and others without. There can be side effects from most any form used; efficacy can be different for each form and even for each person using them. As a general rule, women should not smoke if using birth control and it should be discontinued by age 35. Below is a general overview that can help while discussing this with your physician and making a decision on what is right for you.


Oral contraceptive pills (the “pill”) are available in many combinations of hormone levels and types. One advantage of hormonal birth control is that they can help regulate or eliminate the menstrual cycle. The pill must be taken at the same time everyday to be the most effective preventing pregnancy and regulating menstruation, so some planning and responsibility must be taken. However, because it is a daily medication it can be discounted quite easily. Prescription only.

Vaginal contraceptive ring is embedded with hormone that is released slowly over time. A ring is placed weekly for three weeks, and then removed for one week. Prescription only.

Contraceptive transdermal patch is a hormone that is absorbed thru the skin after patch is applied. Some people may experience irritation from the adhesive on these patches, but can be reduced by changing placement with every new patch applied. Prescription only

Depo provera (“Depo”) injection is very convenient because it is administered in your health care professional’s office once every three months. It may eliminate the menstrual cycle completely. The major consideration of depo is that it does last three months and cannot be reversed in case of side effects; it must clear out of the body naturally.

Intrauterine device, Mirena: Hormone embedded IUD that can be placed by a physician in the clinical setting. It is usually effective to minimize or eliminate the menstrual cycle, and can be left in place for up to five years.


Abstinence is probably the least used form of birth control and disease suppression, even though it is essentially free and almost perfectly 100 percent effective, but can be very difficult to maintain.

Condom use is very important to prevent the spread of disease as well as pregnancy, and should be used either alone or with other forms of birth control.

Intrauterine device, copper: plain, non-hormone embedded is placed by a physician and can be left in place for up to ten years.

Tuballigation is a surgical procedure that requires a surgeon in an operating room, with general anesthesia. This is very effective and permanent, but may require a few days recovery time.

Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for men, that also requires a surgeon, usually in an operating room with possible general anesthesia use. This procedure usually requires a few days recovery time as well.

Essure is an office based procedure that takes little preparation, is nearly pain free, takes minimal time, and the women can go about their normal activity just as soon as the procedure is complete. It is permanent and cannot be reversed. The procedure uses a hysteroscope that looks in the uterus at the fallopian tubes and a small spring is placed in each tube. This forms scar tissue blacking the tube. A confirmation radiograph is done three months later to confirm tubal blockage. This is the most effective form of permanent birth control available.

Again, this is a brief overview of available forms of birth control. You should make this decision with help from your personal doctor, or you can contact the Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Rural Health Clinic at 341-2153.

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Editor’s note: Check U.P. is a monthly column featuring doctors and staff from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, the Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department, and others. This week’s column features Gloria Van Klompenberg, D.O. of SMH.

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