There are a range of different contraceptive options currently available in the UK. The type that works best for you will depend on your health and circumstances.
There are several issues to consider when deciding which method of contraception is right for you.
Other methods of contraception prevent pregnancy, but they do not protect against STIs.
How effective are the different methods?
Contraceptives that are more than 99% effective:
- contraceptive implant(lasts up to 3 years)
- intrauterine system, or IUS(up to 5 years)
- intrauterine device, or IUD, also called the coil (up to 5 to 10 years)
- female sterilisation(permanent)
- male sterilisation or vasectomy(permanent)
Contraceptives that are more than 99% effective if always used correctly, but generally less than 95% effective with typical use:
- contraceptive injection(renewed every 8 weeks or every 12 weeks, depending on the type)
- combined pill(taken every day for 3 weeks out of every month)
- progestogen-only pill(taken every day)
- contraceptive patch(renewed each week for 3 weeks in every month)
- vaginal ring(renewed once a month)
Contraceptives that are 98% effective if used correctly:
- male condom(every time you have sex)
Contraceptives that are 95% effective if used correctly:
- female condom(every time you have sex)
Can you make contraception part of your daily routine?
If you’re a well-organised person with a reasonably regular routine, you have a wide choice of contraception.
This is because you’re less likely to forget about your contraception by forgetting to take a pill or reapply a patch, for example.
You may want to use a method that you only need to use when you have sex, such as the male or female condom, or you may prefer a method that you need to take every day, such as the pill.
Or you may want to consider methods like the patch, injection or implant, which you do not need to use every day or each time you have sex.
Would you prefer contraception you do not have to remember every day?
Not all contraceptives have to be taken every day or each time you have sex, you do not have to think about some contraceptives for months or years.
These methods need to be inserted by a health professional into your uterus (IUD or IUS) or arm (the implant):
- intrauterine device (IUD)(lasts up to 5 to 10 years, depending on the type)
- intrauterine system (IUS)(lasts up to 3 to 5 years, depending on the type)
- contraceptive implant(lasts 3 years)
- The contraceptive injectioncan be given 1 of 2 ways: either by an intramuscular injection into the buttock, or as a subcutaneous injection into the thigh or abdomen -this is given every 8 weeks or every 12 weeks, depending on the type.
- The subcutaneous injection can be given by a health professional, or you can be shown how to inject it yourself.
Other contraceptives that need to be changed or replaced every month or week are:
- vaginal ring(worn for 3 weeks out of every 4)
- contraceptive patch(a new patch is used each week for 3 weeks out of every 4)
- Other contraceptives used or inserted just before sex are:
- diaphragm or cap
- male condomor female condom
What if you cannot use hormonal contraceptives?
Some contraceptives work by using hormones that are similar to the hormones women produce naturally. These hormones are oestrogen and progestogen.
Contraceptives that contain these hormones aren’t suitable for some women, such as those who have medical conditions like breast cancer.
Not all contraceptive methods use hormones. Some work in other ways, including:
Are you taking medicines for other conditions?
Some contraceptives can be affected if you’re taking other medicines, but there are plenty of options.
Contraceptives that are not affected by other medicines are:
- intrauterine device (IUD)
- intrauterine system (IUS)
- contraceptive injection
- diaphragm or cap
- male condoms or female condoms
At Pall Mall, we offer several contraception services for both men and women. For more information click here or call us on 03300 58 44 55. If you’re unsure what contraceptive method is best for you, you should consult with your GP. Speak to one of our private GPs by clicking here.