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About Contraceptives

There are lots of different types of contraceptives and they vary hugely in how they work and what the side effects might be. As there are so many different forms of contraception available it is likely that there will be one out there that suits you. 

How do Contraceptives work?

Different forms of contraception include (please note DocTap can only provide the contraceptive pill)

Barrier methods: This includes things like condoms - male and female condoms, but also diaphragms and caps. These are 'user-dependant' which means they are only likely to work if used correctly - these types of contraception can often leave room for error. However barrier contraception is the only form of contraception that will also provide some protection again Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) - they cannot protect you 100% - so it is still always important to regularly attend for sexual health check ups. 

Pills: There are 2 main types of pills - the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP) and the Progesterone-Only Pill (POP). Pills have to be taken following a certain regime to ensure they work as effectively as possible. Problems with pills can arise if a patient forgets to take it, or  if the medication isn't absorbed properly, for example, if a patient vomits shortly after taking the pill.

Injections: Contraception can be delivered as an injection - these need to be administered every 12-14 weeks to make sure they work.

Implants: These are small devices put just under the skin usually in the arm. They slowly emit the hormones needed and are one of the most effective forms of contraception. They last for 3 years and fertility returns quickly once they are removed.

Inter-uterine devices or systems (coils): These are tiny devices that sit in the uterus. There are 2 main types

  • The copper coil. This coil doesn't use any hormones so there are no hormonal side effects.
  • Interuterine System (IUS) which is a plastic coil and slowly emits progesterone. The IUS can also be very effective at helping to reduce troublesome heavy periods. 

Sterilisation: This is an irreversible form of contraception and both men and women can be sterilised. The procedure is much more straight forward for more men to undergo sterilisation rather than women. 

Emergency Contraception: If you have sex without using contraception or the method of contraception you are using fails (i.e. condom splits or you forgot to take a pill) you may need take emergency contraception . Emergency contraception is a pill and it works best if you take it as soon as possible after having sex. It can be effective for 3-5 days after having sex but the effectiveness gradually reduces as each day goes by. 

how contraceptives work

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