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Got a Health Condition? Know Your Birth Control Options! 

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Some methods can actually help treat certain conditions.

There is an effective birth control option for everyone. Some methods can actually help treat certain conditions. Let’s look at these common medical conditions and the birth control methods that are best for each. For answers to your specific questions, talk to a provider at your nearest The Right Time health center.  

1. Painful or heavy periods  

Good methods: All hormonal methods, especially the hormonal IUD, the implant, and the shot.  

Painful or heavy periods are—unfortunately—pretty common. About one in five U.S. individuals have menorrhagia. All types of hormonal birth control will decrease or eliminate monthly bleeding, including the pill, patch, ring, shot, implant and hormonal IUD. For people with conditions that can cause heavy bleeding (endometriosis, adenomyosis, or uterine fibroids), hormonal methods can help make periods shorter, lighter, and less painful.   

2. Irregular periods  

Good methods: The pill, the patch, and the ring.  

For anyone with irregular periods who would prefer a more predictable cycle, the pill, patch, and ring can help regulate periods. Medical conditions that can cause an irregular cycle include poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders.  

3. Diabetes  

Good methods: Depends on your health.  

For folks who have diabetes without other complications such as heart, circulatory system, eye or kidney diseases, the good news is that they can safely use all types of birth control. People with diabetes who do have any of those additional conditions need to talk with their health care providers about their options, which will usually include the implant, IUDs, or progestin-only mini pills.  

4. High blood pressure  

Good methods: Depending on risk factors, estrogen-free methods might be best.  

Relatively few people under age 30 have high blood pressure—only about one in 50. But of those who do, many don’t know about their condition. It’s important to get an annual exam and have your blood pressure measured before you choose a method of birth control.   

People who know about their high blood pressure can manage it through a variety of tactics, including medication. Those with well-controlled blood pressure should be able to safely use the pill, the patch, or the ring. However, folks who have other risk factors for blood clots such as smoking or obesity should talk to a health care provider about options that do not contain the hormone estrogen.  

Looking for something else?  

We couldn’t tackle every health condition here, so if we didn’t address yours, make an appointment with a provider at your nearest The Right Time health center to talk about it.  

Nerys Benfield, MD MPH, is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. She is the director of family planning services and specializes in contraception, working to promote contraceptive counseling and distribution locally and internationally. 

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