How to Work Out Which Contraceptive Method is Right For You

If you were asked to name all the different methods of contraception, I reckon you’d at least come up with condoms and the Pill. However, there are 15 different methods of contraception, so why do so many of us limit out sexual wellness to just two types? Sure, a condom is the only way to prevent an STI, but that leaves you with 14 other choices for pregnancy prevention. In sexual health and wellbeing, we are all individuals and there are many different factors that can help determine which kind of contraception will work best for you.


1. How effective are the different methods?

For a contraceptive that’s more than 99% effective, your options are the contraceptive injection, the contraceptive implant, an intrauterine system (IUS), or the intrauterine device (IUD), also known as the coil. If used correctly, the contraceptive patch, vaginal ring, combined pill and progestogen-only pill are more than 99% effective, while natural family planning is 99% effective if used according to teaching instructions. The male condom is 98% effective if used correctly, the female condom is 95% effective if used correctly, and the diaphragm with spermicide and the cap with spermicide are 92-96% effective if used correctly.


2. What will work best in your routine?

If you’re an organised person, you may prefer a method you need to take every day, such as the pill. Otherwise, you may want to use a method that you only need to use when you have sex, such as the male or female condom. However, if you’re likely to forget to keep a regular routine or get caught up in the moment, you should consider methods such as the patch, injection or implant, which you don’t need to use every day or each time you have sex.


3. How comfortable are you with inserting contraceptives into your vagina?

Female condoms, a diaphragm or cap and a vaginal ring are great options for women who are comfortable inserting contraceptives into their own vaginas. If you don’t like that idea, but would be ok with a health professional inserting the contraceptive, an IUD or IUS can give you a long-term solution. Otherwise, you can pick non-insert contraceptives, like the implant, injection, patch or pill.


4. Do you mind if you’re not regular?

As certain contraceptives can affect your periods, this can be cause for concern among some women. Some contraceptives can make your periods heavy or more irregular, which is worth asking your doctor about before you start any new methods. However, the pill, patch, injection, IUS and vaginal ring can make your periods lighter or more infrequent. Ask a health professional for more details.


5. Do you smoke?

Most types of contraception are fine for smokers to use, but smokers over the age of 35 should only consider the IUS, IUD, implant, injection and the progestogen-only pill. Other methods, such as the combined pill or the vaginal ring, can be harmful to smokers so ask your doctor for more information before trying a new method.


6. Are you overweight?

Again, regardless of your weight, most types of contraception are ok to use and won’t cause weight gain. Still, if you use the injection for two years or more, this can cause a small amount of weight gain so take that into consideration.


7. Are you taking medicines for other conditions?

Certain contraceptives are affected by other medications, but your doctor should be able to tell you if yours will clash. Generally, you’re safe with the IUD, injection, diaphragm or cap and male and female condoms, regardless of anything else you’re taking.

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