Birth Control Problem Set

Problem 6: 5 Year Protection

Tutorial to help answer this question

Which of the following contraceptive method offers continuous protection for up to 5 years?

A. Pill
B. Depo-Provera injections
C. Norplant
The Pill, Norplant, and Depo-Provera injections work by inhibiting ovulation, altering the uterine lining, and thickening the cevical mucus so sperm cannot penetrate it. All three methods require prescriptions. All three are very effective in preventing unintended pregnancies, but they offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Norplant consists of 6 tubes surgically placed in the inner arm. These tubes release progesterone providing for five years of contraception.
Norplant is very convenient and highly effective (more than 99% effective.) The initial expense is great, but it is reasonable when we consider that it is efficient for five years. This method of birth control is associated with weight gain. Removal of the Norplant tubes may be difficult.
This injectable form of progesterone needs to be given every 11 weeks. Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse the medication if one is unhappy with the side effects during that time.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all modes of birth control. This method is associated with weight gain and, although many women quit having periods altogether while on this medication, spotting (irregular or unexpected menstrual bleeding) is common the first few months. It may also temporarily reduce bone mass.

This method is also highly effective (more than 99% effective) in preventing unintended pregnancies, but offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. There might be a delay of 9 to 18 months after stopping injections before a woman can conceive.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Tuesday, February 10, 1998
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