Beyond the pill: Some women opting for different birth control methods

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by Mia Gradney / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 25, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 27 at 4:23 PM

HOUSTON—The majority of women who use birth control opt for the birth control pill, but later in life, many women choose to change methods or devices.

Alison West, a 39-year-old, stay-at-home mother of three, recently went in for a follow-up visit with her Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Deanna McDonald with The Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.
No longer wanting to expand her family, West underwent a procedure to implant the Essure, a permanent, non-invasive birth control device. It was done in Dr. McDonald’s office. 
“We put these small little coils into the tubes to cause the blockage of the tubes,” explained Dr. McDonald. “We’re able to do it in the office most of the time so you don’t have to go to sleep.”
“The procedure itself was 10 minutes. It was pretty painless,” West said after the procedure.
The Essure inserts are made from the same silicone-free material used in heart stents and are just one of the many options available to women.  
“Over the past few years I had wondered what were my options because it seemed like it was surgery of some sort or a hysterectomy, tubligation, all of which were not appealing,” West said.
She eventually decided on the Essure after consulting with Dr. McDonald. She took comfort in knowing there would be no surgery and she would receive a confirmation test to ensure her tubes were blocked.
While the Essure has worked well for West, it’s not for everyone -- especially for women still considering childbirth. 
There are traditional birth control pills, but for the sake of convenience, women also have a range of options to choose from, including vaginal rings and intrauterine devices -- or IUDs.
“It’s a T-shape device that goes inside the uterus,” said Dr. McDonald. “There’s one that has hormones in it that you can leave in for five years. There’s another IUD you can leave in for 10 years that has no hormone in it. They’re beneficial for ladies who have had breast cancer, things like that. Women who cannot have any hormones at all, but aren’t quite ready to shut the door on fertility and all those options as well.”
Whatever a woman’s need or preference, it’s best to consult with a doctor before making a change, just as West did. She’s happy to share she has no more worries, feels very liberated, and is on to the next phase.
The Essure, like other birth control devices or methods, is often covered by most insurance plans; however, consult with your insurance provider to confirm coverage.

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