Hormonal Pills and Other Types of Hormonal Contraceptives

    Hormonal Pills and Other Types of Hormonal Contraceptives

    There are many ways to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections or STIs through contraception. Aside from latex condoms, there are hormonal contraceptives that provide the same effects and better efficacy. What are the types of hormonal contraceptives?

    Hormonal contraceptives make use of added levels of hormones to lower the possibility of pregnancy. They may consist of both estrogen and progesterone or just progesterone. Hormonal contraceptives may be taken orally, injected, placed on or under the skin, or even placed inside the vagina.

    What Are the Types of Hormonal Contraceptives?

    There is a vast number of hormonal pills and hormonal contraceptives available throughout the world, and many of them are available in the Philippines. Here are the following hormonal pills and other types of hormonal contraceptives that are obtainable in a local setting:

    Pills or Oral Contraceptives

    Pills are one of the most common hormonal contraceptives used around the globe. In the Philippines, pills are available through public health centers and even in some drug stores. Logenthol, Mercilon, and Micropil are a few brands that can be found in local drug stores.

    What makes oral birth control differ from one another is the level of estrogen and progestin they contain. Women must take the pill every day to ensure efficacy.

    Some advantages of hormonal pills are:

    • Non-invasive
    • Less painful dysmenorrhea or cramping
    • Makes the menstrual cycle either more consistent or delay its arrival
    • Noticeable decrease of acne on the face
    • Can reduce the likelihood of getting ovarian cysts

    Some disadvantages of hormonal pills are:

    • Breast tenderness
    • Migraines or headaches
    • Irritability
    • Spotting

    If you are considering taking pills, remember checking if you are getting too much or too little hormone levels in the blood because of the pills. If this is the case, your doctor may advise you to switch to another brand.

    Transdermal Patch

    Transdermal patches are bandage-like adhesives that women need to apply on a weekly basis for 3 weeks. You may place the patches onto the buttocks, abdomen or upper torso. You can also apply transdermal patches at the start of the menstrual period, but in general, you can use them at any time as long as you are not pregnant.

    It is important to know that women who use the patch will have relatively higher estrogen levels than those who use hormonal pills and other types of hormonal contraceptives.

    Some advantages of the transdermal patch include:

    • Ease of use
    • Less painful dysmenorrhea or cramping
    • Reduces the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease or PID
    • Can lessen acne

    Some disadvantages of the transdermal patch include:

    • Breast tenderness
    • Patches may get detached
    • Needs constant changing to ensure efficacy
    • Cannot use lotions or creams on the skin that has the patch applied on

    Vaginal Ring

    The vaginal ring is a small and flexible plastic ring that is used and in-place for 3 weeks, and used again (upon inserting a new ring), after about 7 days without one. It is more consistent when it comes to providing concentration of hormones than hormonal pills and other types of hormonal contraceptives.

    Some advantages of vaginal rings include:

    • Less painful dysmenorrhea or cramping
    • Makes the menstrual cycle either more consistent or delay its arrival
    • Noticeable decrease of acne on the face
    • Can reduce the likelihood of getting ovarian cysts

    Some disadvantages of vaginal rings include:

    • Requires a backup contraceptive 7 days after a new ring is put on if intercourse will occur
    • Withdrawal bleeding is likely after removal

    Injectable Progestin

    This is an injectable type of hormonal contraceptive that makes use of progestin to avoid pregnancy. It requires regular injection every 12 weeks in order to be effective. You may have to wait 12 months later in order for your fertility to come back after previously having progestin shots.

    In the Philippines, only progesterone shots are available in the market. Depo Trust is an injectable progestin brand that is available in drugstores. They can be administered through various health centers, clinics, and even with experienced service providers.

    Some advantages of the injectable progestin include:

    • It is effectively immediately after the injection
    • Has only a few minor side effects
    • Helps decrease menstrual flow
    • Less painful dysmenorrhea or cramping

    Some disadvantages of injectable progestin include:

    • Pain and swelling on injection site
    • Nausea
    • Breast tenderness
    • Headaches
    • Spotting
    • Increased risk for osteoporosis

    The side effects may disappear after a few more doses of the injection since progesterone is naturally found in the body.

    Subdermal Implant

    Subdermal implants are small, rod-like hormonal contraceptives, which contain progestin. A medical professional will insert the implant into your non-dominant arm with anesthesia. And it will remain in your body for 3 years to continuously release progesterone.

    Some advantages of the subdermal implants include:

    • Reversibility of fertility after removal from the skin
    • Does not need to be taken orally or placed in manually
    • Does not affect intercourse whatsoever
    • Has no estrogen-related side effects like nausea or affects the breast milk

    Some disadvantages of the subdermal implants include:

    • Removal requires a professional
    • The rods need to be taken out after some time
    • Itching and other local/allergic skin reaction on the site of implant
    • No protection against sexually transmitted infections or STIs
    • Rods are expensive

    Most women can use subdermal implants but those who have cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and high blood pressure need to visit their doctor for follow-ups. Women who are currently breastfeeding, those with a history of stroke and breast cancer cannot use this contraceptive at all.

    Intrauterine Devices or IUDs

    An IUD a small, flexible plastic that is placed into the uterus or uterine cavity. In the Philippines, there are 2 types of IUDs available: The Copper T380 and the hormone-releasing IUD.

    The Copper T380 has copper coiled around the device, and it uses the body’s immune system reaction to copper, to prevent pregnancy.
    Women can use this type of IUD effectively for around 12 years. The hormone-releasing IUD, on the other hand, releases progesterone and has an efficacy of 3-6 years.

    Some advantages of IUDs include:

    • Very effective
    • Safe to use
    • Does not affect breast milk
    • Only applied once

    Some disadvantages of IUDs include:

    • Side effects such as swelling and heavy menstrual flows
    • Device might be misplaced and removed without knowing
    • Pelvic examination by a healthcare professional is required to insert the IUD
    • Cannot prevent sexually transmitted infections or STIs

    How To Choose the Right Birth Control Method

    When considering options for hormonal pills and other types of hormonal contraceptives, look into factors such as sensitivity to increased hormones, general health, lifestyle, frequency of intercourse, and one’s ablity to comply with the contraceptive’s requirements. You may discuss with a healthcare provider regarding which option is most suitable for you.

    Key Takeaways

    Hormonal pills and other types of hormonal contraceptives can be as effective as condoms, but they can have many side effects depending on the person. A person may experience better menstrual flow, reduced acne, and even a decreased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease or PID. Although not all contraceptives can protect against STIs and may actually do more harm than good with its disadvantages. It is important to discuss thoroughly with both your partner and a doctor which hormonal contraceptive is the right one for you.

    Learn more about Contraception here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Hormonal contraception, https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/hormonal-contraception, Accessed October 21, 2021

    Hormonal Contraception, https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/hormonal-contraception/, Accessed October 21, 2021

    Side effects of hormonal contraceptives, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/1215/p1509.html, Accessed October 21, 2021

    Birth control options, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11427-birth-control-options, Accessed October 21, 2021

    The Philippine Clinical Standards Manual on Family Planning, https://doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/publications/FPCSM_2014.pdf, Accessed October 21, 2021

    Birth Control: Pros and Cons of Hormonal Methods, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tw9513, Accessed October 21, 2021

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    Written by Angeli Del Rosario Updated May 12
    Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD