Nov 04, 2014

Birth control pills were first released in the 1960s, and since then the variety and choice in contraception has only expanded. Picking what’s right for you can be a bit overwhelming and confusing, but at Seattle Women’s we want you to be informed so we’ve put together a brief summary of the popular options and how they work. You may have heard the news that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) as preferred methods of birth control for young people who choose to be sexually active. And for everyone else? In 2009, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended that these same methods be offered as a first-line choice for all eligible women.

So what are LARC’s?
• Intrauterine devices and systems (IUD and IUS) inserted in the uterus
o Skyla®- a hormone secreting IUS lasting for 3 years
o Mirena®-a hormone secreting IUS lasting for 5 years
o Paragard®-a copper containing IUD lasts for up to 10 years
• Nexplanon®-a hormonal implant inserted in the arm and lasting for 3 years

However, implants and IUDs aren’t for everyone. Since the release of the first birth control pill in 1960, many more pills have been released, and many improvements have been made — fewer side effects, much lower doses, less acne, less nausea, less bleeding, and less weight gain. Pills, patches and rings are in high demand, with new ones being tested all the time.

• A once-weekly option for delivery of hormonal contraception
o An Investigational Contraceptive Patch is in Phase III trials across the US and in our office. This patch has hormone levels similar to low dose contraceptive pills.
o The “Ortho-Evra®” patch is currently available but not widely used because the hormone levels have been found to exceed those commonly used in modern birth control pills.

• The most commonly used pills are a combination of both estrogen and a progestin,
• Progestin-only pills are less common but eliminate the estrogen, and are therefore appropriate for women who cannot or prefer not to take estrogen.
• An Investigational Contraceptive Pill containing the unique progestin, "drosperinone", is in clinical trials internationally and in our office.

• Nuvaring® is the only contraceptive ring currently available, containing both estrogen and progestin in a flexible vaginal ring that is changed monthly. It works by delivering hormones to your system via vaginal absorption and can remain in place during intercourse.
• A new progestin only contraceptive ring will begin international trials in the spring of 2015.*

At Seattle Women’s we are privileged to be able to offer you all of the options above.
• If you are interested in a contraceptive that is already on the market, please call to schedule a contraceptive counseling visit.
• If you are interested in one of our patch, ring or pill studies please contact us for more information.

We are proud to have been principal investigators researching almost all of the new contraceptives that have become available to women in the last two decades. Our research, and our combined 50 + years of clinical experience, allow us to provide you with the most comprehensive options available and meet your individual needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Birth Control Patch
Birth Control Pill

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Seattle Women's News
Nov 04, 2014

Susan Vendeland, our Nurse Practitioner at Seattle Women’s, recently announced her retirement. She provided excellent care for many years to the women of our community, and will be greatly missed by patients and staff alike. We at Seattle Women’s wish her a happy and healthy retirement.

Seattle Women’s is pleased to welcome Elizabeth Garcia, MD, to our practice, joining us with many years of experience as a Board Certified Gynecologist. She holds additional certification as a Menopause Specialist. She relocated here with her family from Albuquerque, NM where she had a busy practice for over a decade and was a faculty member at the University of New Mexico Medical Center.

Dr. Garcia is available for appointments for both Susan’s patients and new patients for general well woman care, contraception, menopause related issues and gynecologic disorders. Dr. Garcia has received rave reviews from our patients. She brings her extensive clinical experience and knowledge to each patient with an individualized approach. Her full bio is on our website.

Please visit us and learn about our research studies. Call us at 206-522-3330 or email us at

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When Sex Hurts
Nov 04, 2014

Caring for your vagina doesn’t end when your periods end.

The hallmark symptom of menopause: hot flashes, and the accompanying night sweats, sleeplessness and irritability are well known to most women. At the time of menopause, we stop producing estrogen. This lack of estrogen is the cause of most menopausal symptoms. Our vaginas and vulvas also suffer from this estrogen deficiency during menopause. The vulva is the external portion of the female genital tract while the vagina is the internal portion that extends from the vulva to the cervix. During our menstruating years, estrogen levels maintain a vagina that is plush, moist and elastic. With menopause, and the accompanying loss of estrogen, the vaginal tissue thins, dries and tears easily. This is called Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy (VVA).

No wonder sex hurts!

Women often experience depression, relationship issues, and a loss of libido when sexual intimacy is marred by the pain of Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy. These issues can be hard to talk about, even with your partner or gynecologist. Studies have shown that VVA significantly impairs the quality of life of postmenopausal women and is widely undiagnosed.

Fortunately, VVA can be managed successfully. There are existing vaginal products that are both safe and effective. A new oral medication for the management of VVA is now being widely advertised directly to consumers. With all of the choices available, our practitioners seek to individualize therapy to achieve optimal vulvar and vaginal health. We also regularly conduct clinical trials on both new and existing products for the treatment of the dryness and sexual discomfort caused by VVA.

There is more to vaginal pain than VVA..

Not all sexual pain is caused by VVA. This is why it is important to see a physician with expertise in vulvar and vaginal disorders. There are numerous dermatologic (skin) conditions, infections, and pain disorders that can interfere with sexual intimacy. While there are a number of over the counter remedies available, it is important to establish an appropriate diagnosis before initiating treatment.

At Seattle Women’s, we have a special interest in vulvar problems and additional training in the specific disorders of this area. Our research strives to make existing treatments more affordable and to investigate newly developed products that may provide additional benefits. If you would like to see one of our practitioners or want to know if you may be eligible for one of our current or upcoming clinical trials, contact Seattle Women’s at 206-522-3330 x2 or send us an email at

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