When it comes to contraception, the options might seem a little daunting, particularly if you are young or you’ve had a bad reaction to a particularly type of protection in the past.
What is Contraception About?
Contraception is not just about preventing pregnancy, although this is the most relevant use. It’s also used by women for a range of health issues, for example, to give them regular periods, to reduce acne and some forms can even help with pain associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
How to Chose the Right Contraception
To help you through the process here is some important information about the types available, what they do and possible side effects.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
These are suitable for women of all ages and can be used by most without any problems. To get them inserted you need a doctor or nurse, and they are removable at any time. IUDs are either hormone-releasing devices or copper devices and provide the effectiveness of 99.2% – 99.8% for pregnancy prevention.
Implants release a low dose of a progestogen hormone into the blood stream and are 99.9% effective. They usually last 3 years.
Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate is an injection that’s given every 12 weeks to stop ovulation. It is between 94% and 99.8% effective, depending on the person.
Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
This is a small plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks the releases low doses of oestrogen and a progestogen. It’s replaced monthly.
There are two types of pill. The combined pill, which contains the hormones oestrogen and a progestogen, and needs to be taken daily to be effective; and the progestogen-only (POP) contraceptive pill, also known as the mini-pill and needs to be taken daily at the same time or it’s not effective. The POP pill is common for women with newborns.
Other Contraception Methods
Other methods of protection include male and female condoms (male condoms provide 82% to 98% effectiveness; female provide 79% to 95% protection); diaphragms (88% to 94% effective); and a free option – the withdrawal method (78% to 97% effective).
If you do have any concerns that your contraception method has not been effective, emergency contraception is available. This pill is 85% effective if taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex, but can be taken up to 5 days later.
If you are unsure which option is best for you, discuss any of these with your doctor and get the right advice for your body.
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