Welcome to Ask a Doctor! Every week we’ll be asking our CarePoint Health doctors some questions that we’d all like to know the answers to.
This week we have Sabrina Nilufar MD. She’s one of our OBGYN specialists in Jersey City with a focus on integrated women’s health.
Q: What contraception options are available for women?
A: Contraception for women can be divided into two types, hormonal and non-hormonal contraception. The choice is dependent on patient preference, largely due to their lifestyle and beliefs.
Q: What are the most common types used?
A: The most commonly used are the short-acting reversible contraception, such as the oral contraceptive pills, Nuvaring and the patch. Each woman must balance the advantages of each method against the disadvantages and decide which method she prefers.
Q: Which provide the most benefits in terms of convenience and effectiveness?
A: No method of contraception is perfect. Effectiveness is often assessed using the Pearl Index, which is defined as the number of unintended pregnancies per 100 women per year. According to this index, the most effective are the long-acting reversible contraception, such as the intrauterine contraception, contraceptive implants and sterilization. Patients choosing short term contraception would be counseled to use methods that are rapidly reversible, such as the pill, patch or ring, but can be less effective than the long-term contraceptive methods.
Q: What are the possible risks and complications of contraception?
A: The risks and complications of contraceptive use are dependent on the method of choice. Hormonal contraception is associated with common-side effects related to hormone use, and are also contraindicated in patients with certain medical conditions. Non-hormonal contraception is less likely to have long term risks, but have low success rate of reversing fertility.
Q: If my family planning situation changes, how do I transition away from contraception so that I can conceive?
A: One the biggest myths is the reversibility with contraception use. Hormonal contraception is short acting and quickly reversible, so the ability to conceive starts from the following month of stopping contraception use. Non-hormonal contraception is normally immediately reversible as well. Reversing sterilization procedures are harder to achieve with low success rates.
Q: When do I need to see a doctor to access contraception?
A: The topic of family planning should be discussed with your doctor once you become sexually active and wish to defer pregnancy until you are ready. The discussion is also important for patients who wish to limit the number of children they have or to control the timing of their pregnancies.
Sabrina Nilufar, MD, FACOG, NCMP, is a graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in Manhattan. Dr. Nilufar serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Family Medicine at New York Medical College and is an attending physician with Integrated Women’s Health. An active member of the Hoboken and Jersey City communities, Dr. Nilufar is fluent in English, Bengali, Urdu and Hindi and medically fluent in Spanish. For more information, visit www.integratedwomenshealth.net.