Contraception

With so many options available to you, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. There are many different factors to consider, and we are happy to sit down with you to discuss your options. In the meantime, you can read the summaries below of some of the popular methods of contraception.

Barrier methods

Condoms

are a highly effective form of contraception when used properly, preventing pregnancy in 95 to 99% of cases . Condoms are placed over the penis to stop sperm passing into the genital tract and as such help minimise the risk of contracting a range of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a small silicone dome that is inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse to prevent sperm from meeting and fertilising an egg. After sex, diaphragms need to remain in the vagina for at least six hours to be most effective, and are between 88 and 94% effective if used correctly[W 3] .

Diaphragms must be fitted by a gynaecologist or trained health professional. As they can be washed and re-used, they can last for up to two years.

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

Copper IUD

This is a non-hormonal IUD. It is a small plastic and copper structure that sits in the uterine cavity, preventing sperm from passing higher into the genital tract and also preventing the implantation of a fertilised egg. It is a highly effective method of contraception, preventing pregnancy in over 99% of cases, though it offers no protection against STIs and can make periods slightly heavier and more painful.

A copper IUD will normally last between three to five years and must be fitted by a gynaecologist or trained health professional. It comes with a fine nylon string attached to make checking and removing it relatively easy.

Mirena® device

This hormonal IUD is a small plastic T-shaped device that contains progestogen, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone that regulates menstruation. The device controls the release of progestogen into the uterus and can reduce the blood flow of your periods by 90%. Like the copper IUD, it is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancies and has a fine nylon string attached to the end to make checking and removing it easier.

We are able to insert either type of IUD and use our own specialised anaesthetic gel to numb and dilate your cervix to make the procedure as comfortable as possible for you, while eliminating the need for local anaesthetic via a needle. This is a service unique to WHRIA.

If you would be more comfortable, we can also arrange for insertion under general anaesthetic or light sedation as a day procedure at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital.

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Hormonal methods

Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) – Combined and Progesterone Only

There are many different contraceptive pills available, and if this method appeals to you, we’ll help you work out which one is best for you. Typically, pills need to be taken orally at the same time every day to be effective. While prevention rates vary depending on which Pill you use, they can be around 99% effective. They work by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries and changing the composition of the uterus so sperm can’t get through as easily and fertilised eggs can’t take hold.

There are many advantages to taking the Pill, including reduced blood flow and severity of periods and a reduced risk of ovarian cysts, endometriosis and ovarian cancer. But there are also disadvantages to consider including mood swings and an increase in appetite.

Nuva Ring®

This is a small ring inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks of every month. It contains the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are absorbed into the blood stream via the vagina, and works in a similar way to the Pill. It offers a similar rate of protection against pregnancy, around 99% when used correctly.

Implanon NXT®

Implanon NXT is a small progesterone rod implant that we insert into your upper arm. It continuously releases a low dose of progesterone to suppress ovulation, in a similar way to the Pill, and is 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy. The advantage this method has over the Pill is that it lasts for three years and once inserted you can almost forget about it. However, it is known to cause unpredictable bleeding; you might have none at all or very irregular patterns.

Depot Medoxyprgesteron Acetate (DMPA)

DMPA is a hormone similar to progesterone. Delivered to the body by way of an injection every 12 weeks, it suppresses ovulation and is between 94 and 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, it is known to have a variety of side effects and they can take up to three months to wear off, while long term use may also be associated with a loss of bone density (bone thinning).

Permanent Methods of Contraception

Sterilisation

This surgical procedure is performed less and less as other methods of contraception can be just as effective and less invasive. Female sterilisation involves an operation under general anaesthetic where the fallopian tubes are blocked or cut to prevent eggs from reaching the womb. There are various surgical methods for this procedure, including laparoscopic surgery.

Helpful resources

For more information about our services & what to expect at your first appointment, click on the links below:

For more information on contraception methods, you can visit the websites below or contact us to make an appointment:

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