Contraceptive options in the UK


CONTRACEPTION OPTIONS IN THE UK

 

The term contraception means taking steps to prevent pregnancy when you have sex. There are many contraception options. Each has its pros and cons. Different options suit different couples. This article discusses the various contraception options available in the UK and globally.

 

Is contraception effective?

Yes! AccessDoctor has verified the methods of contraception listed below. They are all effective. We can also help you to put these methods to use. We have well-trained UK doctors who will who will conduct online consultation with you, and advise you on which contraception method best suits you.

It is important to note that while these methods of contraception are effective, no method is 100% reliable. The reliability of each method of contraception is determined in percentages. If the method fails in at least 1 per 100 women, then the number of women who become pregnant may be determined per 1000 women.

For instance, the contraceptive injection has 99% effectiveness. This means that it is effective in at least 99 out of 100 women. So, if 100 women use this method of contraception, less than 1 woman will become pregnant each year. If contraception isn’t used, at least 85 in 100 women will become pregnant within a year.

How you use each method of contraception determines how effective it will be. These are known as “user-dependent” methods. They must be used properly or they won’t work well. For instance, the “pill” method works excellently if taken correctly. But if you miss your pills or you vomit, then the failure rate may be high.

 

Different types of contraception methods

The combined pill

Combined pills contain artificial (synthetic) forms of progestin and oestrogen. Most pills in each cycle are active. This means that they contain hormones. The other pills in the cycle are inactive, meaning that they do not contain hormones. There are several forms of combination pills:

  • Monophasic pills: these pills are used in 1-month cycles. Each pill contains the same dose of hormone. At the last week of the cycle, you will take the inactive pills and then have your period.
  • Multiphasic pills: Just like the monophasic pills, multiphasic pills are used in 1-month cycles. They provide different hormone levels during the cycle. You take the inactive oils at the last week of the cycle, and your period shows up.
  • Extended cycle pills: they are usually used in 13-week cycles. The active pills are taken for 12 weeks, while the inactive pills are taken during the last week. This means that you will have your period just 3-4 times per year.

 

 

How effective are they?

If you take them correctly, birth control pills will drastically reduce your chances of getting pregnant during sex. The combination pill has just a 9% failure rate. This means that only 9 out of 100 women using it will get pregnant.

 

What are the advantages of combined pills?

Combined pills have several benefits:

  • They offer 24/7 protection so you don’t have to worry about birth control when you are intimate with your partner.
  • They are very effective and offer a higher level of protection against pregnancy compared to other birth control options.
  • These pills help in regulating menstrual cycles. So, women with heavy or irregular periods will find it helpful.
  • They are fully reversible. So, when you stop taking the pills, you’ll have your cycle returned to normal and you can get pregnant.

 

Disadvantages of combined pills

Combined pills do not offer protection against sexually-transmitted diseases. To protect yourself against STD, you must use a condom in addition to your pill. Also, do not forget to take your pill every day. Just have a new pack on hand when you finish the old one. Your risk of pregnancy increases if you miss a pill or delay taking one after completing a cycle.

 

Mini pill

Mini pills are also called progestin-only pills. They do not contain oestrogen, only progestin. Progestin-only pills are a good choice for women who for health reasons cannot take oestrogen. All the pills in the cycle are active. It doesn’t contain any inactive pills. As such, you may or may not have your period when taking these pills.

 

How effective are they?

Just like combined pills, mini pills have just a 9% failure rate. This means that 9 out of 100 women using the pill will get pregnant. To have full effect, you must take them within the same 3-hour period daily.

 

What are the advantages?

They have the same advantages as combined pills (listed above). Also:

  • They are safe for women who cannot tolerate estrogen
  • Breastfeeding women can use it
  • They are safe for women older than 35 years
  • They are safe for women who smoke
  • They can be used by women who have a history of blood clots

 

Disadvantages of mini pills

Mini pills do not offer protection against sexually-transmitted diseases. To protect yourself against STD, you must use a condom in addition to your pill.

 

Contraceptive patch

It is also known as the birth control patch. It is a sticky patch that releases hormones into your body via your skin. These hormones prevent pregnancy. The UK version of the contraceptive patch is known as Evra.

 

How effective is the contraceptive patch?

It is quite effective. The contraceptive patch contains two hormones called Oestrogen and progesterone. These are the same hormones contained in the pills. They prevent your egg from being released. The patch should be applied once per week. You stick it to non-hairy parts of your body.

 

What are the advantages?

  • It is simple to use
  • It can be used by just one partner
  • It improves acne in many cases
  • It does not detach due to sweating and exposure to water
  • It is very effective and offers almost 100% protection
  • The oestrogen content improves bone strength

 

Disadvantages

  • It does not protect against STIs
  • It contains very high oestrogen levels compared to other methods
  • It may cause skin irritation in some women
  • It can delay the return of fertility by up to two months after stopping its usage
  • It interacts with medications like rifampin, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids. It also interacts with St John’s Worts – a herbal supplement.

Contraceptive implant

It is also known as the birth control implant. It is a small plastic rod just the size of a matchstick. It is inserted under your skin by a doctor.

 

Is it effective?

It has a failure rate of just 0.05%. At least half a million women use this implant.

The contraceptive implant causes a slow release of etonogestrel into your body. Etonogestrel is a kind of progestin hormone. This hormone then blocks the release of eggs from your ovary thus preventing pregnancy. It also thickens the mucus in your cervix. This will prevent the entry of sperm into your uterus.

 

Advantages of contraceptive implant

  • It is very easy to use
  • It has a high level of effectiveness
  • Fertility returns after removal of the implant
  • You don’t have to worry about birth control for some years (usually three years)

 

Disadvantages of the contraceptive implant

  • It does not protect against sexually-transmitted infections
  • The device must be taken out after three years. You cannot leave it there for life.

 

Contraceptive injection

The contraceptive injection is also known as a birth-control shot. It is very effective at preventing pregnancy. It is also very convenient. A single shot can last for three months. The birth control shot blocks the release of eggs from your ovary. The release of eggs from your ovary is called ovulation. Pregnancy cannot occur in the absence of ovulation. The shot also thickens the mucus in your cervix and prevents sperm from getting into your uterus.

 

Is it effective?

It is very effective and has a failure rate of less than 1 percent when used correctly.

Advantages

  • You only worry about birth control once in three months
  • There are very little chances of missing or forgetting a dose
  • It can be used by women who are allergic to oestrogen.

Disadvantages

  • It does not protect against sexually-transmitted infections
  • It may cause irregular periods
  • This method is not recommended for long-term use
  • You may have spotting between periods

 

Vaginal ring

The brand name for the vaginal ring is NuvaRing. It is a prescription-only birth control method. It is a small plastic ring, flexible, inserted into the vagina to help prevent pregnancy. The vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by slowly releasing oestrogen and progesterone into your body, just like the pills and contraceptive patch. These hormones prevent the release of eggs from your ovaries, and thus, prevents pregnancy.

 

How effective is it?

It is very effective when used properly. It has just a 9% failure rate.

Advantages

  • It is highly effective
  • It is easy to use
  • It has very few side effects – fewer than oral contraceptives
  • Your periods may become lighter and shorter when you use the NuvaRing

Disadvantages

  • It may cause infections or irritations in your vagina
  • It causes side effects like nausea and breast tenderness in women. It may also cause spotting between periods.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Other methods of contraception include:

  • The withdrawal method
  • Condoms
  • The intrauterine system is also known as Mirena
  • The intrauterine device or the copper coil

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Birth control or contraception is a very important tool for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. It is however important to note that no method of 100% effective.

You must stay informed and use your preferred birth control method with care.

Remember, you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. AccessDoctor has well-trained UK doctors in its employ who are willing and ready to guide you and help you decide the best contraception method that suits you.

Our emergency contraception products include:

Contact us today if you need any assistance and we’ll be right there for you.

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