Unintended pregnancy for women with diabetes can be dangerous, especially when blood sugar is not under control. While some forms of birth control carry risks for diabetic women, the benefits outweigh those risks.
According to the American Diabetes Association, women with diabetes have the same birth control options as women without the disorder. However, some birth control medications can affect the body’s glucose. Let’s explore the choices, many of which are available through Nurx.
When it comes to oral contraception for diabetic women, experts most frequently recommend low dose combined hormone birth control pills that contain synthetic estrogen and progestin. Popular examples are Aviane and Loestrin Fe 1/20, but Nurx offers many combination birth control pills that are suitable for women with diabetes.
Female hormones can be mysterious, though. Each woman has her own unique body chemistry, so it might take some experimentation with different birth control pills to find the right one. Rarely, the hormones in birth control can affect glucose levels, necessitating a change in the amount of insulin a woman needs.
Your Nurx provider will work with you to recommend a pill that will be safe to use and take into account your diabetes and any other health concerns you may have.
A flexible birth control, the ring is placed inside the vagina for three weeks and then removed for a week. At the end of that week, you replace it with a new ring and repeat the process. Like the pill, it is a combination medication, containing both synthetic estrogen and progestin.
Health care providers often suggest NuvaRing for diabetic women because it does not pass through the digestive system. Instead, it is absorbed directly through the vagina. This is beneficial for women with diabetes because the body does not have to metabolize the medication like it does with the pill.
There are two types of intrauterine devices available to women. One is a copper IUD, which prevents pregnancy by killing sperm. It does not contain hormones and can last up to 10 years.
The other is a hormonal IUD, known as Mirena, which releases a steady stream of synthetic progestin called levonorgestrel. It lasts up to five years. Many medical providers report that Mirena causes significant blood sugar fluctuations and weight gain, both of which are negative side effects for diabetic women, in addition to acne and mood swings.
Of the two IUD options, doctors are more likely to recommend the copper type. However, it is important to note that IUDs are generally not recommended for women who get pelvic infections easily. Diabetic women should know their A1Cs because higher levels can make them more susceptible to such infections.
Traditional barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms, sponges, and cervical caps are good options for women with diabetes. They do not contain hormones and prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. However, many barrier devices are used in combination with spermicide, which has been shown to increase the risk of urinary tract infections in some women. And, a high blood sugar level makes diabetic women even more likely to contract a UTI.
Two other hormonal birth control methods are possibilities for women with diabetes — the patch and injections. The patch comes with the same risks as combination birth control pills, while injections are more likely to cause weight gain, a side effect that can increase insulin resistance.
In addition, diabetic women can consider natural family planning, sometimes called the calendar or rhythm method. This involves daily tracking of basal body temperature and cervical changes to determine when ovulation occurs.
Finally, there is abstinence, which is 100 percent effective when followed. However, it is often the most difficult to stick to, and, as mentioned, an unintended pregnancy can be quite dangerous for diabetic women. It’s best for women with diabetes to plan ahead and get pregnant when their blood sugar levels are regulated.
To learn more about birth control options, visit Nurx’s website and have a conversation with a knowledgeable health care provider.
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