Contraception

Our Mission: Reducing STI’s and Unplanned Pregnancies

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Contraceptives help prevent against unplanned pregnancies and there are many different types including hormonal and non-hormonal. If you want to find out more about how you can access them, go to https://www.nuh.nhs.uk/sexual-health-services or call 0115 9627627.

Condoms

Condoms are the most effective way of preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections. They are also an effective form of contraception but you should always use another form of contraception too in case of accidents. Even if you are a girl having sex with another girl you should still use condoms if you are sharing sex toys.

Find out more about using condoms.

Intrauterine device IUD

The IUD, ‘Copper Coil’ or ‘Coil’ is more than 99% effective. This means less than 2 women will get pregnant over 5 years.

How does it work?
A small plastic and copper T shaped device is inserted into the womb. It stops sperm reaching an egg and may stop a fertilised egg from embedding itself into the uterus.
The IUD is fitted by a nurse or doctor often with a local anaesthetic. It can be uncomfortable or hurt to have the IUD fitted but once it’s been inserted it doesn’t need removing for 5-10 years, depending on which type you have. It can be removed earlier than this but only by a nurse or doctor. Two little threads hang down through the opening (cervix) of the uterus which, when gently pulled by a professional, will remove the IUD.

How will it affect me?
Your periods may be heavier, last for longer and may be more painful. Once the IUD is removed your fertility returns to normal.

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The Implant

The Implant is over 99% effective. That means that less than 1 woman in 1000 will get pregnant over 3 years. It lasts for 3 years but can be taken out earlier if you want.

How does it work?
It works by releasing progestogen (a hormone) into the body. This prevents eggs from being released, thickens cervical mucus to stop sperm reaching any eggs and thins the lining of the womb so an egg can’t implant itself.

A small flexible rod is inserted under the skin on the upper arm. A nurse or doctor will numb the area with local anaesthetic then insert the implant which will feel a little like having an injection. It can be removed with local anaesthetic and the doctor or nurse will pull it gently out from under the skin.

How will it affect me?
Your periods may become irregular, stop or last longer than usual. Your fertility will return to normal once you have the Implant removed.

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Contraceptive Injection

The injection or ‘Depo’ is 99% effective which means that less than 4 women will get pregnant over 2 years.

How does it work?
Just like the implant, it works by releasing progestogen (a hormone) into the body. This prevents eggs from being released, thickens cervical mucus to stop sperm reaching any eggs and thins the lining of the womb so an egg can’t implant itself. It lasts for either 8 weeks (Noristerat) or 13 weeks (Depo-Provera and Sayana Press).

Depo-Provera is injected into a muscle like the buttocks or sometimes the upper arm. Noristerat is a thicker solution so it can hurt a little when it’s injected and Sayana Press is injected into the front of the thigh or the abdomen. Once injected the contraception cannot be removed so side effects continue for as long as the injection lasts.

How will it affect me?
Your periods may stop, be irregular or may last a little longer. It may take a little time for your periods and your fertility to return to normal after you stop having the injection.

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Intrauterine System IUS

The IUS or ‘Mirena’ coil is over 99% effective. Less than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant over 5 years.

How does it work?
The IUS is similar to the IUD except it is impregnated with the hormone progestogen which slowly releases into the body. It is inserted into the uterus and then works by thinning the lining of the uterus to stop fertilised eggs from implanting, thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg and may prevent eggs being released through ovulation.
It remains effective for 3-5 years depending on which type you have but it can be removed sooner by a doctor or nurse.

The IUS is fitted by a nurse or doctor often with a local anaesthetic. It can be uncomfortable or hurt to have the IUS fitted but once it’s been inserted it doesn’t need removing for 3-5 years, depending on which type you have. It can be removed earlier than this but only by a nurse or doctor. Two little threads hang down through the opening (cervix) of the uterus which, when gently pulled by a professional, will remove the IUD.

How will it affect me?
Periods may become much lighter, less painful and may not last as long. They may even stop altogether. Once it’s removed, your fertility
will return to normal.

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THE PILL

The Combined Pill is usually just called ‘The Pill’. It contains 2 hormones; oestrogen and progestogen which are similar to the hormones women produce in their ovaries. There are a number of different pills available but they all do a similar thing. They work by stopping the production of eggs from the ovaries, thickening the mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm reaching an egg and thinning the lining of the womb so it’s more difficult for an egg to embed itself.

If used correctly the pill is more than 99% effective but there can be problems if you miss a pill, are sick or have diarrhoea. If the pill isn’t used exactly as per instructions then it could be only 91% effective.

There are risks and side effects associated with taking the pill although some people don’t have any problems at all. It is best to talk this over with your GP or with a specialist contraceptive nurse or doctor. For further information visit www.fpa.org.uk or contact NUH Sexual Health Service for more information.

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Emergency Contraception

If you or your partner didn’t use a condom or the condom split or came off during sex, you will need to think about what to do next.

You can take emergency contraception, but this needs to be done as soon as possible after sex. If you don’t manage to take it within 5 days after sex, then you can have the emergency coil fitted on the 5th day.

If you don’t access any kind of emergency contraception within 5 days and think you may be pregnant, then you can talk to someone in confidence about your options. You can speak to your own doctor and they will be able to tell you what is involved in an abortion or discuss with you continuing with the pregnancy.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service – (BPAS) also offer help and advice on pregnancy and abortion. Call 03457 304030 for information.

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