- by A Sandoval

Choosing a birth control can be tricky. There are so many options out there and a ton of factors to take in, for example how often you take the contraception. Some pills are every day, shots are every 3 months, and condoms are whenever you engage in sexual activity. Knowing how often, along with knowing yourself and your responsibility when it comes to your birth control is all pretty important. Some methods are longer lasting; these are called long acting reversible contraception also known as LARC, and can last up to 10 years. The name pretty much explains what it is, these methods are long lasting, but reversible meaning you can stop using them for any reason at any time. Most birth controls are given as either a prescription or a shot, but the longer lasting ones require a procedure. There are two different methods to choose from, either the implant or an IUD. Each method has its pros and cons, and there some things you should think about before choosing one.

Here are the basics on the two:
The implant is a small, thin rod (its like the size of a match stick) that goes under the skin of your upper arm. It can be used up to three years and you can have it removed any time. It contains a hormone that is used in other birth control methods like the pill and the patch.  It is a pretty simple procedure, and there's not much to worry about after it is done. It has been noted to cause some changes with periods and menstrual cycles, so just keep that in mind if you are used to getting your period at the same exact time every month.

IUDS are a small T-shaped piece of copper or plastic that are put into your uterus. There are two types of these. One is called “ParaGard” and it is made out copper.  It has no hormones in it. ParaGard can be used all the way up to 10 years, but can be taken out any time depending on your needs. The other option is “Mirena”, which contains a hormone that is used in some birth control pills. Both the IUDs are pretty small, they are shaped like a T, and the T is about as thick as a tampon string. The procedure has been said to be a bit uncomfortable for a moment, and can cause some cramping. The main side effects that women report are changes in their period, cramping, and spotting.  Once inserted, it can be used for up to 5 years, and like the other methods, it can be taken out at any time-no problem.

All of these methods are safe, effective, and easy to reverse if you choose to do so. Just keep in mind that even though these methods prevent pregnancy, they do not protect you from STDs and HIV, so it is important to always use a condom. There are a lot of choices and options out there for your contraception. Of course with all of these methods you will need to talk with a physician, just to make sure that it is the best choice for you. Just keep in mind that everybody has a different body, reactions, needs, and preferences when it comes to birth control. That’s why it’s important to think about what’s best for you and where you’re at in your life. Think about things like “how long term do I want my birth control to be?” and “can I remember to take a pill every single day at the same time?” That way you are making your decision based on what works best for you.

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