What types of hormonal contraception exist?

Hormonal contraception is based on the prescribing of external hormones to the patient, which causes ovulation to cease and so makes pregnancy impossible. This type of contraception has an efficiency of more than 98% in preventing pregnancy and is always reversible.

In addition they are other beneficial side effects. Apart from family planning, it can help with acne, hirsutism, heavy, long or painful periods.

There are different types of preparations, depending on how they are to be used and their hormonal components.

They can be taken:

  • Orally: The most frequent use and the first to be commercialised. It has the disadvantage that they have to be taken daily and there is a possibility of gastro-intestinal side effects.
  • Transdermally: This avoids the gastric passage and it is applied weekly. Sometimes there may be problems with the patch unsticking.
  • Vaginally: This avoids the hepatic first step and the gastro-intestinal side effects. The dose is monthly in the form of a ring which improves convenience of administration.

The different types of hormonal components are:

  • Oestrogen + progesterone: The most frequently used and associated with orally, transdermally and vaginally applied contraception.
  • Progesterone only: Tablets taken orally, especially used during breastfeeding and in patients with contraindications to taking oestrogen. They are associated with an absence of menstruation (amenorrhea). Also in this group includes emergency contraception or morning-after pill, which contains high doses of progestin.
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