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Top 6 Contraceptive Options For Women

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Types of Contraception: Women Have Many Contraceptive Options When It Comes To Birth Control.

There are a variety of contraceptive options that are readily available to women who require some form of birth control. There are many factors to consider when choosing the most suitable form of contraception. There are hormonal contraceptives as well as non-hormonal contraception. Some types of contraception are long term, some are reversible over time and others offer almost immediate fertility once stopped. Some contraception options require daily attention and others can last up to three years without you needing to worry.

From the commonly used contraceptive pill through to more invasive contraceptive options such as the IUS and the contraceptive implant, it’s important to be aware of the short term and long term effects of which ever birth control method you end up choosing. When deciding between different methods of contraception, it’s a good idea to consider your health, your long term plans regarding child birth and your current level of sexual activity with both the short term and long term effects of each contraceptive option.

Contraceptive Pill

The combined pill contains the hormones oestrogen and progestogen while the mini pill contains only progestogen. The hormones provide contraception by changing the mucus in the cervix and the lining of the uterus and also preventing release of eggs from the ovaries. The contraceptive pill needs to be taken at the same time each day to optimise contraceptive effectiveness. The reliability of the combined pill can be greatly diminished if taken over 12 hours late and the mini pill has an error window of just 3 hours before reliability is diminished. Fertility generally returns within the first cycle after stopping the oral contraceptive pill.

IUS

The Intrauterine System (IUS) is a plastic t shaped hormonal implant that is inserted strategically into the uterus by a doctor. The IUS slowly releases progestogen and prevents fertilisation and implantation by changing the cervical mucus. The Intrauterine System can last up to five years before it needs replacing. While pre-existing fertility may not return immediately, the majority of women are able to conceive within 12 months after having the IUS removed.

Contraceptive Implant

The Contraceptive Implant is a small plastic rod (about the size of a match stick) that is placed under the skin on the inner side of the upper arm. The contraceptive rod must be inserted and removed by a trained health practitioner and can last up to three years before needing replacing. The contraceptive implant also prevents fertilisation and implantation by releasing progestogen and changing the mucosal linings of the cervix. Most women return to pre-contraceptive fertility levels after the first cycle following removal.

Contraceptive Ring

The contraceptive ring is s small plastic ring that is self-inserted into the vagina, left in for three weeks, then removed for 1 week to allow menstruation. The contraceptive ring works the same way as the contraceptive pill, releasing hormones to change the mucosal linings of the cervix, preventing fertilisation and implantation. The hormones are absorbed directly into the blood vessels of the vaginal wall rather than having systemic hormonal effects, which may be beneficial for some women sensitive to other hormonal contraceptives. Women tend to return to pre-existing fertility as soon as the contraceptive ring is removed.

Contraceptive Injection

The contraceptive injection is administered by a doctor, who injects progestogen directly into a muscle. The progestogen prevents the egg from releasing from the ovary and changes the cervical mucus to prevent implantation. The contraceptive injection lasts three months and then another injection or another form of contraception will be required. Following the used of the contraceptive injection it may take 12 to 18 months before returning to pre-contraceptive fertility.

Non-Hormonal Contraception

The most common non-hormonal contraceptive method is the use of the male condom. Male condoms are readily available from many supermarkets, chemists and convenience stores and do not require a prescription. Female condoms which act as vaginal liners are also available but are not as reliable or as easy to use. Male condoms are placed on the penis when the penis is erect and acts as a physical barrier to stop sperm from entering the uterus. Male condoms are also effective in reducing the transmission of several sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are only effective if used properly and while breakage is unlikely, it is possible, so it may be worth considering the use of condoms combined with a hormonal types of contraception.

Another non-hormonal contraceptive option is the intra-uterine device (IUD). This copper and plastic implant prevents fertilisation and implantation by acting as a foreign body within the uterus. The IUD must be inserted by a doctor and lasts for up to 5 years. Most women return to pre-contraceptive fertility within twelve months of having the IUD removed.

Contraceptives Summary

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best type of birth control for your situation. Considering whether you would like to have children in the near future, distant future or at all will help you determine whether you are best suited to contraceptive methods that are more short term, long term or even permanent. Some women do experience some side effects from hormonal contraceptive options, so this might also be a consideration when choosing contraception.

Hormonal contraceptives do not protect you from STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases), so when deciding on the best birth control method to suit your situation it’s also the ideal time to consider the best way to protect yourself from STDs and STIs.

Any types of contraception that are hormonal in nature will need to be prescribed or administered by your local doctor or family planning clinic. It’s important to consider your general health and current medical status to help determine the right birth control method for you. If you want more information regarding contraceptive options or your medical status has changed since your last contraceptive prescription, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor or visit your nearest family planning clinic.

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About Author

As Editor in Chief of 'Health & Wellbeing Australia', Lucinda brings over 20 years experience in the Health Industry, with 14 years as a practicing, registered Physiotherapist; specializing in pelvic floor and erectile dysfunction issues, to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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