What is contraception?
Contraception or birth control is a broad term which covers a number of practises that assist in preventing pregnancy. There are many different types of contraception, but not all types are appropriate for every situation.
Some of the factors relating to which is the most appropriate method of birth control depends are:
- An individual's overall health
- Frequency of sexual activity
- Number of sexual partners
- Desire to have children in the future and family history of certain diseases
An ideal contraceptive should be –
- Financially affordable/sustainble
- Simple to administer
- Long lasting
Should require minimal medical supervision.
Types of Contraception:
Broadly speaking, contraception can be classified into two categories:
- Temporary methods
This blog covers all you ever wanted to know about the temporary methods of contraception.
For more information on permanent methods of contraception, please click here: LINK
Temporary methods can be categorised as:
Long Acting Reversible Contraception LARC methods:
- Injectable contraceptives
- Subdermal Implant
- Copper Intrauterine Device( IUCD)
- Progestogen-only Intrauterine System (IUS) Mirena coil
Reversible Methods, which need action around the time of sex:
- Male condom
- Female condom
- Cervical Cap
Reversible Methods, which need regular action:
- Combined pill
- Combined patches
- Combined Vaginal Rings
- Fertility Awareness (Safe Period)
- Withdrawal and spermicidal alone are not deemed effective methods of contraception in the UK
Natural methods, in which no artificial device is used. Here, hormones and natural biological process are used to prevent fertilisation. Some common natural methods of contraception include:
- Periodic abstinence
Barrier/ Mechanical/ Chemical method –
This is an approach in which the ovum and sperm are not able to meet each other, using a barrier, such as:
- Condom (male and female)
Condoms are also important in preventing the transmission of the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and HIV
- Diaphragms – (females)
- Cervical caps and Vaults (females)
- Spermicides – cream/gel applied into the vagina to destroy the sperm
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) -
Intrauterine Devices are inserted, under medical supervision, into the uterus through the vagina to prevent conception.
Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD)
Although the morning after pill is very effective, the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), or coil, can be used as an emergency contraception up to 5 days after having sex. The coil can also act as a preventative method of contraception as well as an emergency contraception and can provide protection for 10 years after it’s fitted.
Hormonal contraceptives are the most effective spacing methods of contraception
Combined Hormonal Contraception
They act by:
- Suppressing ovulation
- Thickening of the cervical mucous
Oral contraception –
It is important to remember that the oral contraception pills should be taken under Consultant Gynaecologist supervision only. A number of options are available depending upon your health, which should be discussed in full with a specialist.
Emergency contraception – ‘morning after pill’
The Morning after pill is a safe and effective contraception method taken after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. The pills are found to be a very effective emergency contraceptive. They have to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex to avoid the possibility of pregnancy.
Contraceptive Injection – Depo-Provera
Contraception is also available as an injection. The Depo-Provera injection slowly releases medroxyprogesterone into the body to prevent ovulation from occurring.
To be effective, it must be administered by a health professional every 12 weeks.
Nexplanon or the ‘implant’, as its most commonly known, is a flexible tube around 4cm long, which is inserted into the upper arm, just under the skin. It releases etonogestrel, a hormone similar to progesterone which prevents an egg from being released each month.
Injectable contraception, which suppresses ovulation in all women.
Progestogen-only-pill, which suppresses ovulation only in about 97% of cases, so its main action is on cervical mucous.
Subdermal implant, suppresses ovulation but this is not absolute especially towards the end of the 3 years.
Progestogen-only Intrauterine System (Mirena Coil) - exerts a profound effect on the endometrium which becomes atrophic and cervical mucous which becomes thick. The foreign body effect is much less than the IUCD. Although ovulation is not usually inhibited, follicular diameter is reduced.
There are a variety of contraception methods available. If you are unsure which option is most suitable for you, Pall Mall Medical have a range of male and female GPs and Consultant Gynaecologists who can discuss the pros and cons of each option.
To book an appointment at any of our 3 locations (Manchester, Newton-le-Willows, Liverpool), contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 058 44 55.
Structure needs to be reviewed. It splits into long acting and reversible. But then there is a list following which includes both. The long acting methods should be within the long acting heading and the revsersible should be in the reversible heading. It’s not clear if “natural” is part of long acting, reversible or a new section.