Contraception Glossary, D-E Terms

Glossary entries for contraception terms that begin with the letters D and E.

D&C (Dilation and Curettage)

D&C (Dilation and Curettage)
By Vacuum-aspiration_(single).svg: Andrew cDilation_and_curettage.svg: Fred the Oysterderivative work: Andrew c [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

D&C or dilation and curettage is a surgical procedure that is used to diagnose or treat abnormal uterine bleeding. A D&C used to be a popular early abortion procedure but is now typically only recommended if a manual vacuum aspiration is unavailable. It may be necessary to perform a D&C after a machine aspiration abortion.

Pronunciation: di·la·tion and cu·ret·tage (dī-lā'shŭn kyūr'ĕ-tahzh')

D&E (Dilation and Evacuation)

Patient waiting on examination table
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D&E, also known as dilation evacuation, is a surgical procedure to terminate a pregnancy. A D&E is usually performed during the second trimester of a pregnancy (typically roughly 13 to 24 weeks since conception).

Pronunciation: di·la·tion and e·vac·u·a·tion (dī-lā'shŭn ĕ-vak'yū-ā'shŭn)

D&X (Intact Dilation and Extraction)

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D&X (intact dilation and extraction) is also referred to as a late term abortion. It is performed after 21 weeks of pregnancy. The D&X procedure takes about 2 to 3 days and results in the extraction of an intact fetus. It is perhaps the most controversial of all the abortion procedures.

Pronunciation: in·tact di·la·tion and ex·trac·tion (inˈtakt dī-lā'shŭn ek-strak'shŭn)

Dental Dams
Photo © 2015 Dawn Stacey

Dental dams are a barrier method that can protect against HIV and other STDs during oral sex (cunnilingus) and oral-anal sex (rimming or anilingus). Dental dams are usually made from latex and consist of a small square or rectangle of material. Dental dams may be difficult to find and can somewhat expensive. The good news is that you can easily make dental dams at home with a condom and a pair of scissors.

Pronunciation: den·tal dams (dĕn'tl dãms)


Depo Provera
Photo © 2015 Dawn Stacey

Depo Provera and Depo-subQ Provera 104 are reversible methods of prescription birth control. These are the only contraceptive methods available via injection and work by slowly releasing the progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate. Both versions of the depo shot are very similar -- Depo Provera requires an injection every 11 to 13 weeks whereas Depo-subQ Provera 104 injections must take place every 12-14 weeks).

Pronunciation: de·po pro·ver·a (dep-oh proh-vair-uh)


Woman's hand holding diaphragm, close-up
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A diaphragm is a dome-shaped cup with a flexible rim and is fitted by a doctor. It is inserted in the vagina and becomes a barrier that covers the cervix's opening. It needs to be inserted before to intercourse and left in place for 6-8 hours after ejaculation. A diaphragm must be used with spermicide.

Pronunciation: di·a·phragm (di´ah-fram)


Photo © 2015 Dawn Stacey

Ella is a new and different type of morning-after pill. It consists of one ulipristal acetate, 30 mg, pill. Ella can be taken 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex or contraception failure. Using Ella may make your regular hormonal birth control method less effective. Unlike levonorgestrel-based morning-after pills, you need to have a doctor’s prescription to obtain Ella.

Pronunciation: el·la (el-uh)


Emergency Contraception
Photo © 2015 Dawn Stacey

Emergency contraception (EC) is an option that you can use to reduce the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse or birth control failure. Emergency contraceptives have been available for more than 30 years and are a safe and effective contraceptive methods. Types of EC include levonorgestrel-based morning-after pills, an ulipristal acetate pill, Ovrette (progestin-only birth control pill), and ParaGard IUD.

Pronunciation: e·mer·gen·cy con·tra·cep·tion (əˈmərjənsē käntrəˈsepSH(ə)n)


Essure Inserts
Photo © 2015 Dawn Stacey

Essure birth control is the only non-surgical, permanent contraceptive method. Unlike tradition tubal ligation, Essure is considered hysteroscopic sterilization. This is a type of tubal sterilization procedure that uses your body’s natural openings to place metal spring implants into the fallopian tubes.

Pronunciation: es·sure (ˈeˈSHo͝or)


Ethinyl estradiol
By Gauravjuvekar (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ethinyl estradiol is a synthetic estrogen. It is often safely used along with a progestin in many combination hormonal contraceptives.

Pronunciation: ethy·nyl es·tra·di·ol (eth-ə-nil es-trə-ˈdī-ˌōl)


Complete Contraception Dictionary

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