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Notes on Women's Health
Notes on Women's Health

Category: Contraceptives

The End of Essure as a Permanent Birth Control Option: What You Need to Know

Patient speaking with doctor about birth control and EssureA look back at Essure

It’s been almost 16 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved Essure in late 2002. Back then, Essure was created as an alternative to tubal ligation, a surgical procedure in which a woman’s “tubes are tied” — or, more accurately, clamped and sealed, resulting in sterilization and permanent birth control.

How does Essure work?

Essure implants consist of two tiny, implantable metal coils that are inserted into the fallopian tubes — a pair of tubes along which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Once inside the fallopian tubes, Essure implants cause scar tissue to gradually form, eventually blocking the tubes and preventing fertilization of a woman’s eggs. While tubal ligation is considered major surgery that requires local, general or spinal anesthesia, Essure involves a simpler procedure that can be done in a doctor’s office, with less anesthesia required.

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What You Can Do for PMS Relief

Woman wanting PMS ReliefWe hear it all the time: “My husband doesn’t know who I am,” “I can’t stop yelling at the kids,” “I’m crying all the time,” and “After I get my period, everything’s better.” Almost every woman will experience PMS symptoms in her life. About 70% of women will suffer from headaches, mood swings, bloating and other problems that can affect their relationships and sense of wellbeing. And in about 20% of these women, the symptoms are severe enough to require medical treatment. So if you found your way to this blog in search of PMS relief, you’re not alone.

But what’s a woman to do during those difficult days every month? Read More

In the News: AAP Recommends LARCs for Sexually Active Adolescents

garOctober 30, 2014 – Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that the first-line contraceptive choice for sexually active adolescents is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). This is a new recommendation for the APP, which is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Read More

Nexplanon: An Effective and Convenient Choice for Birth Control by Laury Berkwitt

One of the most personal decisions our patients make is the type of birth control they use. Our website describes many of the different options available, including barrier methods, hormonal options and intrauterine devices (IUDs), and we regularly help our patients identify the best birth control choice for their unique body, lifestyle and personal preferences.

What is Nexplanon?

One option that’s becoming increasingly popular is a method called Nexplanon. Many of our patients choose Nexplanon because it is discreet, effective, long-acting and convenient. Nexplanon provides long-term, easily reversible contraception that remains effective as it steadily releases hormones over the course of three years.

Nexplanon comes in the form of a small, flexible plastic rod, about the same shape and size as a cardboard matchstick. This rod is placed just under the skin in the upper arm. This insertion is performed during a brief office procedure by a qualified nurse or physician.

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Welcome Women’s Health Specialist, Laury Berkwitt, WHNP

It is my pleasure to announce that Laury Berkwitt, a women’s health nurse practitioner, has recently joined my practice.   Laury Berkwitt, WHNP

lauryLaury joins us after working in New York for the last 10 years where she managed the gynecological care for women of all ages.  Laury has extensive experience in providing routine well woman exams as well as managing and treating common gynecological complaints such as abnormal bleeding and vaginitis.   Laury graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from The University of Vermont in 1999 and practiced as registered nurse in New York City for three years. She received her Master of Science degree in nursing from Columbia University in 2003. She will spend ample time with her patients helping them to find the best contraceptive method for their unique bodies and needs.  She also has a special interest in the care of adolescent women.  A woman’s first gynecological exam can be a daunting experience, but I am confident that Laury’s calm and nurturing demeanor will help put patients at ease.

Laury is available to see patients and can be reached at 203.855.3535.

Many Thanks, John M. Garofalo, M.D.

The Mirena® IUD: A Welcome Side Effect for Women with Heavy Bleeding

Intrauterine contraceptive devices, or IUDs, have been around for a long time. In fact, the technology was invented in the 1920s. In case you’re not familiar with IUDs, they are placed in the uterus (by a physician) to prevent fertilization. They are more than 98% effective in preventing pregnancy, which makes them slightly less effective at preventing pregnancy than birth control pills and generally more reliable than condoms or diaphragms.

There are two types of IUDs available today: the kind that contains copper instead of hormones, and the ones that contain progestogen, a synthetic hormone. This second kind is marketed by Bayer as Mirena.

One significant side effect of birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods is that they may reduce heavy menstrual bleeding. (In fact, while the FDA approved Mirena for birth control in 2000, it was approved last year for reducing heavy menstrual bleeding.) The hormone levels in the prescription may have to be adjusted to achieve this effect, and the hormones may even cause light bleeding at other times of the month, but hormonal contraception is a common method of suppressing menstrual bleeding. Read More

Essure permanent birth control: risks and benefits

(PART 2)

In my last blog I wrote about Essure, a relatively new procedure that offers a highly effective option for permanent birth control. One of the best ways to evaluate whether or not a medical procedure is right for you is to look at it in terms of its risks and benefits. Here are some more questions and answers that I hope will help you with your decision.

Is the Essure procedure effective?

While no form of birth control is 100% effective, fewer than one in 100,000 pregnancies occur when tubal blockage has been confirmed by the three-month test. The Essure procedure is the only birth control method with zero pregnancies in clinical trials.

Is the Essure procedure safe?

Studies have shown that the Essure procedure is safe. However, as with most birth control methods, there are risks. In some cases one or both Essure coils may not place properly in the Fallopian tubes and may have to be re-applied.

Is the Essure procedure painful?

In most cases the pain of an Essure procedure is far less and shorter-lasting than the pain often associated with Read More

Essure Permanent Birth Control: Questions and Answers

(PART 1)

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my patients about the Essure birth control procedure. Maybe it’s because of the recent publicity from Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, who announced earlier this year that she’d undergone the procedure. In any case, I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions I’ve heard. I’ve also included some useful links at the bottom of this blog. Read More

Do You Forget To Take Your Birth Control Pills?

If you occasionally forget to take your birth control pills, you should consider using the Nuvaring. The Nuvaring is a soft flexible plastic ring that is inserted into your vagina and removed after 3 weeks. A new ring is then inserted one week later. Just like birth control pills, the Nuvaring contains a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Instead of having to take a birth control pill every day, the Nuvaring prevents pregnancy for a full four weeks by slowly and continuously releasing estrogen and progesterone into your body every day for 21 days. Since it contains the same types of hormones that birth control pills contain, using the Nuvaring has the same risks and benefits for your health. As compared to birth control pills, the major advantage of the Nuvaring is the convenience factor. Read More