Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (otherwise known as LARC) is a type of contraception which is increasingly popular today. The more well-known types of LARC include the implant, the IUD and the contraceptive injection.
LARC is a great option for preventing pregnancy, and is quick and easy to get hold of! All you need to do is book an appointment and head over to your local clinic.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of using LARC as one of your chosen methods of contraception…
Advantages of LARC
There are lots of advantages to using LARC!
LARC is great option for contraception – unlike the pill, there’s no alarms to set and nothing to remember every day. Once it’s in, it’s in.
Also, most types of LARC are over 99% effective when administered properly, meaning you can have fun sex without having to worry.
That being said, condoms are still the only type of contraception which protects against STIs, so it’s a good idea if using LARC to continue to use condoms.
Now, let’s look at the types of LARC in more detail.
The Contraceptive Implant
The contraceptive implant is a small, flexible rod you can have put in your upper arm, just under the skin.
It releases a progestogen hormone, which works just like natural progesterone.
The contraceptive implant stops you from getting pregnant in 3 ways:
- Prevents eggs from being released
- Thickens the mucus on your cervix so it’s harder for sperm to move if it gets there
- Thins the lining of the womb so fertilised eggs are less likely to implant
Once the implant in, you don’t have to think about it again for another 3 years!
The Intrauterine Device (IUD)
IUD stands for “Intrauterine Device” it’s a small device made from copper and plastic and is sometimes called the ‘copper coil’, or simply the ‘coil.’
It’s put into the uterus (womb) and has one or two threads on the end. These thin threads hang through the opening at the entrance of your uterus (cervix) into the top of your vaginal canal.
The IUD releases copper into the womb which changes the mucus in your cervix, so it’s hard for the sperm to reach an egg and survive. Just like the contraceptive implant, it can also stop a fertilised egg from implanting.
Depending on the type of IUD you have, it can last for 5-10 years.
The IUD is one of the more popular types of contraception in the UK due to longevity and peace of mind – and it might be a good option for you. IUD can be used for Emergency contraception too.
The Intrauterine System (IUS)
IUS stands for “Intrauterine System”.
The IUS is a small T-shaped plastic device put into your uterus (womb). It releases the progestogen hormone, similar to the natural progesterone your body produces in your ovaries.
The IUS has two threads which hang through the opening at the entrance of your uterus (the cervix) into the top of your vagina and can be effective for 3-5 years depending on the type of IUS.
The IUS can work in 3 ways:
- Thickens the cervical mucus, making it hard for the sperm to move through the cervix
- Thins the lining of the womb so an egg is less likely to implant
- For some people, it can also prevent the release of eggs each month, but most people keep ovulating
The IUS is the hormonal version of the IUD, and another good option if you’re considering LARC.
The Contraceptive Injection
The contraceptive injection can be administered every 8-13 weeks to prevent pregnancy.
The injection contains the progestogen hormone, like the natural progesterone hormone women produce in their ovaries.
Similar to the IUS, the contraceptive injection thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the womb, primarily preventing ovulation. This means sperm finds it harder to move through the cervix and, if an egg is fertilised, it’s less likely to be able to implant.
If used correctly, the contraceptive injection is more than 99% effective.
Finding the right choice for you
It’s a great idea to take a look at the different types of contraception, including LARC, to see what works best for you.
Everyone’s different, and what suits your body and hormones best may differ from person to person – but that’s OK!
Great sex is all about knowing your body and finding what works for you, especially regarding contraception.
LARC might be the right type of contraception for you – and if not, that’s OK too!