What matters most to you about contraception?

Click on what really matters to you when it comes to contraception and we’ll show you which options you can discuss in more detail with your healthcare professional:

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Male and Female Sterilisation
Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception that involves cutting, blocking or sealing the tubes that carry sperm or eggs
Male and Female Sterilisation
Female sterilisation (tubal occlusion) involves cutting, sealing or blocking the fallopian tubes (which carry an egg from the ovary to the womb). Male sterilisation involves cutting or sealing the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis and is known as a vasectomy. Sterilisation is considered permanent and is more than 99% effective with typical use. You may want to find out about long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) which have many of the same advantages as sterilisation but are reversible in case you change your mind
BENEFITS
  • You do not have to use contraception ever again
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Can take between four weeks and three months to become effective
  • In rare cases, there is a risk that sterilisation will not work
  • The tubes that carry the sperm in men and the eggs in women can re-join after sterilisation
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Copper Coil or Intrauterine Device (IUD)
The IUD is a small device, typically made of plastic and containing copper, which is placed into the womb by a trained doctor or nurse. Copper changes the composition of the fluids in the womb and fallopian tubes, preventing the sperm from surviving. Several different types and sizes are available
Copper Coil or Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Depending on which IUD is used, it provides contraceptive protection for five to ten years, but can be removed by a trained doctor or nurse at any time. The IUD is more than 99% effective with typical use.
BENEFITS
  • Is one of the most effective contraceptive methods available
  • You don’t need to think about it every day
  • Is particularly beneficial for women who do not want, or are unable to take, a hormonal method of contraception
  • Removal of the IUD by a healthcare professional is quick, with fertility quickly returning to your normal levels
  • Can be prescribed for emergency contraception for up to five days after unprotected sex
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Can cause heavier periods and painful menstrual cramping
  • While the placement itself takes approximately five minutes, an extended appointment must be booked in advance when having an IUD placed — this is to have the placement procedure and follow-up advice explained to you
  • The placement process may feel uncomfortable and some women may experience temporary cramping, which feels like period pain, in the first 24–48 hours following placement; your doctor or nurse can advise you on how to minimise any discomfort
  • In rare cases, there is a small risk of uterine perforation
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Intrauterine System (IUS)
An IUS is a small, flexible plastic device that is placed into the womb by a trained doctor or nurse, releasing a continuous, very low dose of a progestogen hormone to prevent pregnancy. There are several types available that come in different hormonal doses and sizes
Intrauterine System (IUS)
Depending on which IUS is used, it provides contraceptive protection for three to five years, but can be removed by your doctor or nurse at any time. The IUS is more than 99% effective with typical use.
BENEFITS
  • Is one of the most effective contraceptive methods available
  • Apart from a follow-up appointment, once fitted, there’s nothing else you need to do to stay protected against pregnancy
  • Is easy to remove by your doctor or nurse, with fertility quickly returning to your normal levels
  • Releases only a very small dose of hormones in the womb
  • Depending on the IUS chosen, it can help make periods lighter and shorter
  • Some IUSs can be prescribed for the treatment of heavy periods, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB), and to protect the womb during hormone replacement therapy
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • For the first three to six months after placement, you may experience irregular bleeding, with the bleeding being heavier than usual at first. Your monthly period may be irregular and the number of days you bleed may, at first, increase
  • You may experience some spotting (bleeding which isn’t so heavy that protective products such as sanitary towels are needed) or light bleeding
  • After your body adjusts, the number of days you bleed for is likely to reduce, or your periods may stop altogether
  • While the placement itself takes approximately five minutes, by a trained healthcare professional, an extended appointment must be booked in advance when having an IUS placed — this is to have the placement procedure and follow-up advice explained to you
  • The placement process itself may feel uncomfortable and some women may experience temporary cramping that feels like period pain in the first 24–48 hours following placement; your doctor or nurse can advise you on how to minimise any discomfort
  • In rare cases, there is a small risk of uterine perforation
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Sub-dermal implant
An implant is a small, rod-shaped device containing a progestogen hormone. It is inserted under the skin in the upper arm via a short surgical procedure by your doctor or nurse
Sub-dermal implant
The sub-dermal implant lasts for up to three years but can be removed at any time by your doctor or nurse. It is more than 99% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Is one of the most effective contraceptives available
  • Can be removed at any time by a healthcare professional, with fertility quickly returning to your normal levels
  • Can be used by most women of reproductive age
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Periods may stop, be irregular, more frequent or heavier
  • The bleeding pattern experienced during the first three months is broadly predictive of future bleeding patterns for many women
  • The process of removing a sub-dermal implant is quick, but requires a small surgical procedure
  • Some women experience side effects, including breast tenderness and headaches
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Contraceptive Injection
There are three types of contraceptive injections available, each containing a progestogen hormone. The injection is either administered into the muscle in your buttock or injected under the skin in the upper thigh or abdomen. One injection is available for self administration
Contraceptive Injection
Once the injection has been administered, the hormone will stay in your body for 8–13 weeks, depending on the type used and cannot be removed. You may choose to have it re-administered after this period. The contraceptive injection is 94% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Could be an option if you don’t like the idea of having a device inside your body
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • To ensure contraceptive protection, you will need to have follow-up injections every 8, 12 or 13 weeks, depending on which injection you have been given
  • Is not instantly reversible like most other long-lasting methods, as once given, the hormone will stay in your body for the intended duration (8–13 weeks)
  • Some women experience side effects including abdominal pain or discomfort and headaches
  • There could be a delay of up to a year before your usual level of fertility returns and it may be associated with a loss of bone mineral density
  • You should speak to a doctor or nurse about this option if you are thinking about using it long term
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
A vaginal ring is a small flexible, plastic ring that is placed into the vagina and releases the hormones oestrogen and progestogen to prevent pregnancy. It is self-inserted once a month
Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
The contraceptive vaginal ring protects from pregnancy for up to a month. It is left in the vagina for 21 days and then removed for seven days (during which a period-like withdrawal bleed will occur) after which a new one is inserted. It releases a constant dose of hormones into the bloodstream through the vaginal wall and is activated upon contact with the vagina. It works by stopping the production of an egg, helps the body form a barrier against sperm and helps prevent an egg from settling in the womb. The contraceptive vaginal ring is 91% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • You don’t need to think about it every day
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Some women may experience side effects, including breakthrough (unexpected) bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, mood changes, temporary increase in vaginal discharge or infections
  • There is a small risk of the ring coming out of place if it is not inserted properly, while removing a tampon, during sex or with a bowel movement
  • In very rare cases, some women may develop blood clots
  • Women over 35 years of age who smoke, are overweight or have a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, migraines or diabetes should speak to their healthcare professional before using this method
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Contraceptive Patch
A small patch that is stuck on the skin releasing the hormones oestrogen and progestogen, which are slowly absorbed into the skin, to prevent pregnancy
Contraceptive Patch
Each patch lasts for one week. It should be applied on dry, clean skin and changed each week for three weeks, then removed for a week, during which a period-like withdrawal bleed will occur. The contraceptive patch is 91% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Easy to use
  • You don’t need to think about it every day
  • Can be worn in the bath, while swimming and playing sports
  • Is still effective if you vomit or have diarrhoea
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Is visible on the skin, but can be placed on a discreet area that is clean and hair-free
  • Certain medicines can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive patch so you may need to take other forms of contraception
  • Some women experience side effects, including skin irritation, breakthrough (unexpected) bleeding and a temporary increased chance of breast tenderness, headaches and nausea
  • In very rare cases, some women may develop blood clots
  • Women over 35 years of age who smoke, are overweight or have a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, migraines or diabetes, should speak to their healthcare professional before using this method
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COC)
COCs have to be taken every day at the same time, releasing the hormones oestrogen and progestogen to prevent pregnancy — they are often referred to as the Pill
Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COC)
Depending on the type of pill, women will either need to: take one for 21 days, then break for seven days before starting a new pack, or take one every day of the month with no break between packs — some of the pills in the everyday form will be inactive, containing no hormones (placebo). During the pill-free week or the days you are taking the inactive pills, women will experience a period-like ‘withdrawal bleed’. COCs are 91% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Depending on the type, COCs can help to make periods lighter, less painful and more regular, while also helping with pre-menstrual tension (PMT)
  • You can choose to skip a period by taking two packs back to back every now and again (e.g. if you are going on holiday)
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Must be taken correctly as missing a pill or vomiting/experiencing diarrhoea shortly after taking it could mean you are no longer protected against pregnancy
  • Some women may experience side effects, including headache, feeling sick, breast tenderness, mood changes, breakthrough (unexpected) bleeding and spotting (bleeding which isn’t so heavy that protective products such as sanitary towels are needed)
  • In very rare cases, some women may develop blood clots
  • You should speak to your doctor or nurse about your medical history and lifestyle as a history of blood clots, high blood pressure and other risk factors such as age, weight and being a smoker may make this method unsuitable for you
  • Certain medicines can reduce the effectiveness of the COC so you may need to take other forms of contraception
  • Should not be used while breastfeeding
  • Do not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Progestogen-only Pill (POP)
POPs are taken every day at the same time with no break between packs and, as these pills only contain a progestogen hormone, can be taken by women who are not suitable for oestrogen-based contraceptives — they are also known as the mini-pill
Progestogen-only Pill (POP)
POPs work by thickening the mucus in the neck of the womb, so it’s harder for sperm to get into the womb and fertilise an egg. Some types of POPs can also stop your body from producing eggs. POPs are 91% effective with typical use.
BENEFITS
  • Can be used by women who are breastfeeding, are over 35 years of age, who smoke and/or those who are overweight
  • You don’t have to remember to take a break between packs and some women prefer it if their periods can stop altogether
  • Does not interrupt sex
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Must be taken correctly as missing a pill, taking a pill late, vomiting or experiencing diarrhoea shortly after taking it could reduce the effectiveness of this method
  • Some women may experience side effects, including changes in periods (which may be irregular, light, more frequent, last longer or stop altogether), sex drive, breast tenderness and weight gain
  • In rare cases, some women prone to acne may experience an increase and others may develop cysts on their ovaries, but these don’t usually require any treatment
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
Diaphragm or cap with spermicide
Diaphragms are also known as caps. They are flexible silicone or latex domes, used with spermicide (a clear liquid that kills sperm), inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix (entrance to the womb or uterus) at the time of sex
Diaphragm or cap with spermicide
They must be left in place for at least six hours after sex and must be used with spermicide. They come in lots of different shapes and sizes. A doctor or nurse will help you place it for the first time. The diaphragm or cap with spermicide is 88% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Only needs to be used at the time of sex
  • Can be re-used
  • Helps prevent some sexually transmitted infections
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Additional spermicide is needed for every act of sex
  • Some women might experience cystitis when using this method (inflammation of the bladder, characterised by an urgent need to urinate and pain or a stinging sensation when urinating)
  • May cause allergic reactions due to the spermicides or latex in the cap
  • Does not protect against all sexually transmitted infections
Male condoms
Condoms are made of latex (rubber) or thin plastic and are put over the erect penis. They are closed at one end with a ‘teat’ at the top to hold the sperm when a man ejaculates during sex
Male condoms
Condoms create a barrier that stops the man’s semen from coming into contact with his sexual partner and fertilising an egg. They are designed to be used only once and are up to 82% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Only needs to be used at the time of sex
  • No prescription is needed to access them
  • Help prevent sexually transmitted infections
CONSIDERATIONS
  • It is important to practise placing male condoms properly
  • Can tear easily during placement or sex so you need to be careful when using them
  • Cannot be used with oil-based products (e.g. Vaseline, body oil or suntan oil) as they might damage the condom
  • May cause allergic reactions due to the latex or chemicals used in condoms
Female Condoms
The female condom is a bit like the male condom — it’s made out of a very thin layer of soft plastic called polyurethane. Female condoms are worn inside the vagina, the closed end has a flexible ring which fits inside and the open end is left outside
Female Condoms
The female condom creates a barrier that stops the man’s sperm from getting into the vagina and fertilising an egg. They are designed to be used only once and are up to 79% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Only needs to be used at the time of sex
  • No prescription is needed to access them
  • Help prevent sexually transmitted infections
CONSIDERATIONS
  • It is important to practise inserting the female condom properly
  • Can slip, be pushed to one side or tear during sex so you need to be careful when using them
Natural Family Planning
Involves being able to identify the signs and symptoms of fertility during the menstrual cycle, and avoiding sex during your most fertile times, in order to plan or avoid pregnancy
Natural Family Planning
It is advised that guidance is sought from a specialist or natural family planning teacher who will show you how to observe the natural signals of fertility to help you predict when you are most likely to get pregnant (e.g. calculating how long your menstrual cycle lasts, recording changes in body temperature and any changes in mucus). Natural family planning is 75% effective with typical use
BENEFITS
  • Does not involve hormones or chemicals
  • Is free of any side effects
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Reduces the flexibility of when you would like to have sex
  • Can take up to six menstrual cycles before you learn the process completely
  • Should only be used by women who have regular menstrual cycles
  • You should consider things that might disrupt your cycle before considering this method e.g. stress, illness or medication
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
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All contents © Bayer 2016. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: June 2016