Contraception Options

Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy. There are many options available for contraception. Choosing the right contraceptive option for you will depend on your requirements and desires for future pregnancy, and the secondary benefits of the individual options.

The Contraceptive Pill

The contraceptive pill may be a combined pill (containing oestrogen and progesterone) or the progesterone only pill or ‘mini-pill’. The pill works by preventing the release of the egg from the ovary or ‘ovulation’.

The pill must be taken daily at the same time to ensure its effectiveness. This is particularly true of the ‘mini-pill’, which must be taken within a 3-hour time frame (12 hours for the combined pill) to be effective.

The pill is taken for three weeks and then a rest of one week allows for your period to occur. It is beneficial for women who are organised enough to remember to take it every day. There are a number of different pills with varying hormones and associated benefits.

The Ring - Nuva Ring

The ring is a small flexible ring, which is inserted into the vagina. The ring works by releasing hormones similar to the combined contraceptive pill.

It can be left in for up to three weeks at which time the ring is removed for a week to have a period. One week following the removal of the ring another ring can be inserted. The ring is easily inserted and removed and if correctly inserted should not be felt or interfere with intercourse.

The Implant – Implanon

The implant is a small plastic rod that is inserted just under the skin in the upper arm. It slowly releases progesterone hormone over a 3-year period.

The implant is inserted by a doctor in a short procedure using local anaesthetic. Once inserted you should be able to feel the implant just under the skin. After three years it must be removed and replaced if you still require contraception. Following removal fertility returns within the first cycle.

The Injection – Depo Provera

The injection is an injection of hormones for a long-term alternative for the contraceptive pill. It provides cover for 3 months and must be repeated every 12 weeks.

Following your last injection there may be a lag in the return of fertility by 12 months.

The Intrauterine Device – Mirena or Multiload

The Mirena is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. The shaft of the device contains progesterone hormone, which is released slowly over 5 years.

The Mirena has the benefits of being effective, reversible and may reduce your period blood loss and pain. It is also used in the management of heavy bleeding.

The Multiload IUD does not contain any hormone at all and as such will not improve bleeding concerns but may be preferred as avoids the side effects of hormones.  It also lasts 5 years, is inserted into the uterus and is effective as contraception.

Female sterilisation – Tubal Ligation

Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure often performed via keyhole. It works by stopping the transport of the egg and sperm. It does not include hormones.

Tubal ligation is a permanent form of contraception and is irreversible.