Long-Acting Reversible Contraception: Your Questions Answered By The OBGYN Specialists at Carnegie Women’s Health

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The Flexibility and Reliability of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

In the recent episode “Long Acting Reversible Contraception” on the “Healthful Woman” podcast, host Dr. Nathan Fox was joined by Dr. Caroline Friedman to discuss Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). This form of birth control, which includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal implants, is gaining popularity due to its effectiveness and convenience.

What is Long-Acting Reversible Contraception?

LARC refers to birth control methods that are not only effective for an extended period but are also reversible. The main types discussed by Dr. Friedman include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal implants, such as Nexplanon. Unlike permanent methods like tubal ligation or vasectomy, LARCs provide a flexible option for women who wish to delay or space pregnancies without permanent alteration to their reproductive systems.

Benefits of Using Long-Acting Reversible Contraception

One of the primary reasons women opt for LARCs is their long-term nature combined with the ease of use. These devices can last from six months up to ten years, depending on the type of contraception used. Dr. Friedman highlighted that LARCs are particularly suitable for busy women or those who frequently travel, as they eliminate the need to remember daily pills or schedule monthly or quarterly treatments like the Depo-Provera shot. Moreover, if a woman decides she wants to become pregnant, LARCs can be removed, allowing fertility to return quickly.

Understanding the Placement and Management of LARCs

Both hormonal and copper IUDs are typically inserted during a simple in-office procedure, similar to a pelvic exam, where the device is placed through the cervix into the uterus. Dr. Friedman suggests taking ibuprofen beforehand to manage cramping, a common side effect during and after the procedure. Subdermal implants like Nexplanon are inserted under the skin of the arm and can last up to three years. Dr. Fox reassures that the insertion process is minimally painful.

Addressing Concerns and Side Effects

While LARCs are generally safe and effective, Dr. Friedman acknowledges that they can cause irregular bleeding, especially in the initial months following insertion. However, these side effects are typically temporary. The doctors also addressed potential complications such as displacement or embedding of the device, though such incidents are rare. Follow-up care, including an ultrasound check to ensure the IUD’s proper placement, is standard. Dr. Fox also states, “The types of contraception that will give women regular periods are ones that have estrogen and progesterone because that mimics what happens over the course of the month.” This can help you decide which contraceptive is right for you.

The Growing Popularity of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives 

Dr. Friedman and Dr. Fox noted an increase in the popularity of LARCs, attributed to their proven effectiveness and ease of use. As more women share positive experiences with these devices, awareness and acceptance grow. Additionally, the convenience of LARCs aligns well with the modern woman’s lifestyle, which often includes balancing multiple responsibilities.

Contact Us

Those interested in exploring whether Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives are right for them should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss their specific needs and lifestyle considerations. For more information on whether Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives are right for you, contact us today at Carnegie Women’s Health in New York by filling out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.

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Carnegie Women's Health

At Carnegie Women’s Health, we’re more than just a gynecological practice. We’re partnered with some of the most experienced and award-winning obstetricians and maternal fetal medicine specialists in the field of women’s health.

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