LARC. What the heck does that mean?
At Mabel Wadsworth Center, our interns are responsible for updating the bulletin board in our waiting room once a month. Past topics have included healthy relationships, safer sex, abortion stories and more. In case you don’t have the chance to visit us during the month of August, we’ve decided to put the bulletin board online this month as well. Enjoy this post by our summer intern, Olivia Pennington, a Sociology student at the University of Maine.
It’s Long Acting Reversible Contraception!
Cool! So what does that mean? Let’s break it down:
LA: LONG acting! You can get coverage from three months to 12 years!
R: Reversible! If you decide you want to try another method or want to try to get pregnant you can easily do so!
C: Contraception = Birth Control!
Overall, a LARC is a super easy way to prevent pregnancy that can last for a very long time and can easily be reversed if you decide it’s no longer the best fit! LARCs are some of the most effective forms of birth control available, with an effectiveness rate of over 99%! Let’s take a look at some of the options!
More acronyms! This one stands for Intrauterine Device. It’s a little piece of plastic that gets inserted into your uterus. They come in two forms: Hormonal and Copper. The hormonal ones work by releasing progestin, a hormone that thickens your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from even entering your uterus and stops your eggs from even leaving your ovaries! Copper and sperm really don’t get along, so the copper IUD works by allowing your fallopian tubes and uterus to create a fluid that is toxic to sperm (cool right?) and as a bonus, if inserted up to five days after having unprotected sex the copper IUD actually works as an emergency contraceptive! Hormonal IUDs, depending on the brand, can last between three and six years and the copper IUD can last for 12 years. That’s a long time to be worry free!
It’s also called Nexplanon, it’s just a little rod that gets inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It slowly releases hormones that do basically the same thing that a hormonal IUD does, thickens your cervical mucus to stop sperm from getting in your uterus and prevents your eggs from leaving your ovaries. No eggs, no sperm, no pregnancy for up to four years! In addition, it’s great for people who can’t take estrogen.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, it’s an injection of something called Depo-Provera (or Depo for short) and it works, yep you guessed it, by thickening your cervical mucus and by preventing your eggs from leaving your ovaries. You go to your doctor every three months (four times a year) and you’re covered! The shot is also great for people who can’t take estrogen!
So now that we’ve talked about all the different kinds of LARCs let’s talk about what they all do. They all keep you covered for a really long time which is awesome, but if you ever changed your mind and wanted to try for a pregnancy all of these methods are completely reversible. Just because an IUD can last for 12 years doesn’t mean it has to.
One of the most important things to remember about LARCs is that while they are incredibly effective at preventing pregnancies they do not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)! To protect against STIs make sure you combine your LARC with condoms.
On that note, LARCs are some of the most effective forms of birth control available to you. They are over 99% effective, that’s just about as good as it gets! Additionally, they’re great because they let you be a little spontaneous! LARCs are over 99% effective every day, which means there’s no need to worry if you forgot your pill this morning or forgot to buy condoms yesterday. You’re totally covered (from pregnancy remember, not STI’s, you might still need to buy condoms!) wherever or whenever!
They’re really easy to hide. If you’re someone who likes to keep your birth control method private these are the forms for you! These forms of birth control can be kept a secret between you and your health care provider.
Most health insurance plans will fully cover LARCs. If you have MaineCare, Medicare, or private insurance you will most likely be able to get a LARC at no cost to you! If you don’t have insurance let us know and we can help you find other ways to pay or get discounted LARCs.
If you’re interested in a LARC the next question is how do you get one? If only there was a feminist, independent, local, sexual and reproductive health center in your area…..
Yep, you got it! If you’re considering a birth control that could last for years with over 99% effectiveness give us a call or set up an appointment! Our health care providers can talk to you about all the pros and cons of each form and then if you decide one of these methods is right for you, you can get it right here at the Mabel Wadsworth Center!