Whether you’re planning a family or trying to prevent pregnancy, knowledge about the different forms of contraception is paramount! There are many myths out there, so it’s important you see a GP or other health professional to ensure your form of contraceptive is as effective as possible. The following is a brief guide to common forms of contraception – visit your doctor to find out which one is right for you.
One of the most common forms of female contraception, the combined oral contraceptive pill or “the pill” usually contains both oestrogen and progestogen. The pill works by preventing a woman’s ovaries from releasing an egg each month – and if there is no egg to be fertilised, pregnancy can’t occur.
The pill has around a 99% effectiveness rate when taken correctly. It comes with minor risks and side effects, so you will need a valid prescription from your GP and may be offered a progestogen-only pill instead.
An inter-uterine device or IUD is a small device, one variety is made from copper that is placed inside the uterus. An IUD works by inhibiting the movement of sperm inside the uterus, making it much more difficult for the sperm to reach and fertilise a woman’s egg. There is also the hormonal IUD which features a cylinder which contains progestogen, which alters the lining of the uterus and makes it more difficult for eggs to implant.
While not 100% effective, IUDs have around a 99.8% efficiency, making them an excellent form of birth control, and have the added benefit that you do not need to regularly maintain them or consciously use them as you do with condoms or the pill.
An IUD is implanted inside a female’s womb, which must be done by a registered doctor so you will need to see your GP if interested.
Condoms are an effective and safe form of birth control that can be used when needed, making them a very popular choice. Male condoms are usually made from latex, and work by forming a sheath around a man’s penis so that sperm cannot escape into a woman’s uterus. Condoms have the added benefit of helping protect against STIs, as they form a barrier between the male’s penis and his partner’s genitals.
While easy to use and relatively cheap, relying on condoms long term does not suit many couples, as they must remember to use a condom every time intercourse occurs. Condoms also come with a risk of breakage and various forms of user error. Condoms can be purchased from most supermarkets and pharmacies, but a prescription can be obtained from a GP in order to buy bulk condoms much more cheaply.
Implanon is a contraceptive implanted directly into the upper arm where it will stay effective for up to three years. It is comprised of a rod which contains etonogestrel which is transmitted directly into the bloodstream, so functions in a similar way to the pill, but there is no need to remember to take it daily because it automatically enters the body!
Implanon is around the size of a matchstick and is a relatively painless and safe procedure to have inserted – the insertion will happen with the aid of a general anaesthetic. It is more than 99.9% effective and completely reversible.
The above information is merely indicative and represents just a couple of the wide variety of contraceptive options. If you would like specific advice about what form of contraceptive is most suitable for you, see your GP or make an appointment for our Sexual Health Clinic at Mount Waverley.
After Hours Sexual Health Clinic
Mondays and Thursdays 5pm – 8pm
Encompass Medical Centre Mount Waverley
533 Blackburn Road, Mount Waverley
Phone: 8545 9955