Family Planning

Family Planning
Birth control and family planning options are many, and choices are often quite personal. For the complete picture regarding your options, Dr. Mirela Mircea and Dr. Vivian Lugo-Eschenwald of Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia provide an excellent resource for investigating the best approach for each patient. Call today to make a confidential appointment with FMAA.

Family Planning Q & A

Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria

What's family planning?

More than simply birth control, family planning happens when a couple decides how many children they want and when they will be born. This includes birth control, or contraception, as a means of delaying pregnancy. Family planning services also include many more health care topics. Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria provides such services as:

  • Complete health exams for men and women
  • Pap smears
  • Testicular, cervical and breast exams, including cancer screening
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Birth control options
  • Pregnancy tests and counseling for options
  • DNA testing
  • Education and counseling on a wide range of topics impacting family health

What are the most common forms of contraception?

While the birth control pill remains the most used contraceptive method for women, along with female sterilization and condoms, long-acting reversible methods such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants are gaining popularity. This may be due to changes in guidelines for the use of these options to include women of younger ages and those without children, two groups for whom these methods were previously not recommended.

Do hormone-based contraceptive methods have side effects?

Hormonal contraceptives use estrogen and progestin, either together or progestin only, to regulate the fertility of the patient. These contraceptives take the form of pills, patches, vaginal rings, injections, implants, and some IUDs. In most cases, no side effects occur with contemporary formulations, or, if they do, these pass in a few months. Side effects include:

  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Changes in sexual desire

Much depends on a patient’s response to a particular contraceptive method. Switching to a different product or formulation may clear up any symptoms. With birth control pills, daily use is important, since missed pills may be associated with side effects. Progestin-only pills must be taken daily, and at the same time each day, for best effect.

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