Monday the 26th September is World Contraception Day!
The day focuses on raising awareness about contraception – helping young people make informed and empowered choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
So, let’s have a look at some of the types of contraception you can choose – all of which are available through our clinics or online…
Condoms are a great way of protecting against both pregnancy and STIs and are the only method that do both. In fact, male condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, whereas female condoms are 95% effective. They work by capturing sperm and avoiding direct contact between genitals.
They’re both easy to use and access, and are used as one of the most common types of contraception.
If you’re having sex with someone new, even if you’re using contraception, you could both potentially undergo an STI test to make sure you’re both healthy.
It’s also good to communicate about your thoughts, feelings and expectations, especially around contraception. Being on the same wavelength is one of the first steps to having fun sex!
Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)
Another option for contraception is LARC. This stands for long-acting reversible contraception. Well-known examples of LARC include the implant and coil.
This is a good option if you want to protect yourself for longer. It’s something you can have inserted quickly in a clinic – and then you can forget about it for a while!
it’s a good option as you don’t have to remember to take a pill every day. LARC doesn’t require any user action – meaning once it’s in and working, you don’t have to do anything.
LARC – as the ‘R’ suggests – is just as reversible as many other types of contraception. Once you stop using LARC, you should be fine if you decide to have children.
Oral Contraception (the pill)
Oral contraception is also known as ‘the pill’, usually taken by people assigned female at birth.
The pill was introduced in the 1960s, now being one of the most effective and widely used forms of contraception.
When taken properly, the pill is over 99% effective.
There are two types of pills:
- Combined pill:
- Contains artificial versions of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month.
- Progesterone-only pill:
- Often used by women older than 35, but is suitable for women of any age -it doesn’t contain oestrogen it supresses ovulation and thickens the mucus at the bottom of the womb, making it hard for sperm to enter.
If you’ve had sex without any type of contraception and are concerned you may become pregnant, you can take emergency contraception.
It can also help prevent pregnancy if you believe another type of contraception has failed (such as a broken condom).
There are two types of emergency contraception:
- Copper IUD or coil:
- For emergency contraception, once fitted inside the vagina, the copper IUD slowly releases copper which stops the egg from being fertilised and attaching to the side of your womb. You can then keep this as your regular method of contraception.
- Emergency contraceptive pill:
- Often referred to as the morning after pill. It contains synthetic hormones which stop or delay an egg being released, avoiding pregnancy.
If you’re considering taking the emergency contraceptive pill, it’s a good idea to do your research. The two common versions of emergency contraceptive pill – Levonelle and EllaOne – are a little different.
Levonelle can be taken up to 3 days of having unprotected sex, but the sooner the better.
EllaOne can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) of having unprotected sex, but again – the sooner the better. It contains a hormone which stops your body’s progesterone from working normally.
But it’s important to remember: emergency contraception is not meant for regular use!
It is a useful way of making empowered decisions, just like any other type of contraception!
Make the right choices for you!
However you like to have sex and whatever contraception you choose, it’s all about having fun and making informed and empowered choices.
Get more help and information on our website: https://essexsexualhealthservice.org.uk/contraception/