Posts Tagged ‘contraception’

Researchers examine the benefits of hormonal contraceptives

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

birth-control-pillsAccording to a publication by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in the Jan. issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, “the benefits of hormonal contraceptives may extend beyond pregnancy prevention.” Benefits of hormonal contraceptives (pills, patches, injections, implants, vaginal rings, etc.) include the effective treatment of difficult and painful, heavy or very long periods. They may reduce symptoms of premenstrual discomfort, and may offer a “lower risk for the development of endometrial cancer…ovarian cancer,” and “colorectal cancers.” 

The bulletin also states that “combined contraceptives block androgen production and may therefore reduce hirsutism (excessive bodily and facial hair) and acne,” and may even help prevent “menstrual migraines,” treat “pelvic pain caused by endometriosis,” and treat “uterine bleeding from fibroids.” A note of caution about migraines: “combined [oral contraceptives] have been associated with possible increased stroke risk in women with migraine who are 35 years or older, who smoke, or who have focal neurologic signs. Combined OCs should therefore be avoided in these women.”

If you face some of these issues and are not trying to get pregnant at this time, you may want to have a talk with your health care provider about possible treatment benefits of hormonal contraceptives.  If you are hoping to become pregnant but have excessively long or heavy periods, your provider may suggest trying to regulate your periods first with hormonal contraceptives.  It’s worth a conversation.

Valproate sodium and related products linked to birth defects

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement about the increased risk of birth defects when a fetus is exposed to valproate sodium and related products (valproic acid and divalproex sodium).

The birth defects are neural tube defects, craniofacial defects, and cardiovascular problems. A neural tube defect is a defect of the brain and spinal cord. A craniofacial defect affects the face and the skull.

Valproate sodium and its related products may be used to treat migraine headaches, certain seizures and other conditions. If a woman is taking any of these products, she should talk to her health care provider, preferably before she gets pregnant. The risk of birth defects is especially high during the first trimester.

You can get pregnant while breastfeeding

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Breastfeeding has a host of great benefits for moms, but don’t rely on breastfeeding or the absence of your period for birth control, or… surprise!  Breastfeeding may decrease the odds of becoming pregnant by delaying the return of a woman’s menstrual period.  Contrary to popular myth, however, it does not prevent pregnancy, even if the mother is not menstruating.  Many women ovulate before they see their period return.

If you want to be certain not to conceive again until you and your partner are ready for another child, speak with your health care provider about when to return to using contraception.  By the way, oral contraceptives containing estrogen may decrease milk production for some women.  If you think that might be a problem for your milk supply, discuss different birth control options with your provider.