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Healthy Living: Staying up-to-date with birth control innovations

New and changing contraception options can be hard to keep up with.

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 12:41 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Advancements in birth control have been happening at a steady pace, and experts say that many women aren't aware of the options that have recently become available.

According to Oregon Medical Group OB-GYN Dr. Naomi Light, new and changing contraception options can be hard to keep up with.

"Even in my years of practice, the different options, the ways we can use standard options, has really evolved," she said. "My younger patients are familiar with the pill because of the ease of use with that, but then there are my older patients who just aren't as familiar with what's up and coming."

Though many are comfortable with more well-known contraceptives like the pill, some options are more effective than barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms and can allow for a more flexible lifestyle.

Light said that year-long vaginal rings have gotten attention for their convenience and vaginal gels have emerged as hormone-free options in recent years.

"There are certain types that lower your risks for certain medical complications, but there are certain types that increase your risks of certain medical complications as well. So, it's important to fine-tune what's right for you," she said. 

The ultimate goal is to prevent unplanned pregnancies, which often have more complications, but according to Light, birth control doesn't need to be complicated either.

"There are some people that know they aren't good at taking a pill or don't want to come in to see a doctor every three months. There are some options that have the ability to give you a bit more freedom with your lifestyle," she said.

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