SHAG week - Contraception choices

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Most common methods of contraception available on the NHS:

  1. Combined pill – An oral contraceptive pill which contains artificial versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, makes it harder for sperm to reach an egg, and thins the lining of the womb (and making it harder for a fertilised egg to grow)
  2. Condoms – ONLY type of contraception that can prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections. Two types: female and male, designed to stop semen from coming into contact with the sexual partner. Can be used for vaginal, anal and oral sex!
  3. Contraceptive implant – small plastic rod, placed under the skin in the upper arm and releasing progestogen (hormone). It prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg each month and lasts for 3 years.
  4. Contraceptive injection – Releases the hormone progestogen to prevent pregnancy, similar to the implant. Commonly lasts for about 13 weeks.
  5. Intrauterine device (IUD) – T-shaped plastic and copper device put into the uterus, releasing copper to protect against pregnancy between 5-10 years.
  6. Intrauterine system (IUS) – Similar to the IUD, it is a T-shaped plastic device which releases the progestogen hormone, stopping the user from getting pregnant and lasting between 3-5 years.

These are just 6 of the 15 available methods on the NHS. The only way to protect against STIs is to use a condom every time you have sex. You can pick up free condoms from your SU Reception and SU Advice! We buy them in bulk for our members, so make full use of it! No judgement, no need to talk to a member of staff unless you wish to do so. We want our members to practice safe sex!

Emergency contraception is available to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you have used (i.e. condoms) has failed. The “morning after” pill, as it is commonly known, needs to be taken within 3-5 days of unprotected sex for it to work – the sooner, the better.

Deciding on the best method for you depends on a number of factors such as age, medical and family history and any other medicine you might be taking. This information will hopefully clarify some of the available options, but your next step is to contact your GP so you can receive specialist advice!

You can find the full list of contraceptive methods on the NHS website.


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