The contraception conversation...





Hello and welcome back to Vibe! As promised, we are going to be discussing contraception. Our last post ‘my story so far…’ touched upon contraception, but we thought it was about time we deep dive into the daunting contraception conversation. Don’t worry if you have no clue about contraception, we promise you will after this…


You may be asking yourself, what is contraception and why is it so important. The simple answer is contraception prevents you from unwanted pregnancy and one type (continue reading to find out more) protects you from sexually transmitted diseases. (STIs) Whenever you are with a new partner discussing contraception methods and how you will practice safe sex are really important.


‘Contraception is like a bra’ Dr Pradhan explains ‘there is a different size of contraception for everyone’. There are roughly 10 methods of contraception and finding what suits your body and lifestyle is going to heavily influence your contraception choice. The best thing to do is always visit your GP to discuss different options, talk about your lifestyle and medical history and they will give you personalised information and contraception advice.


So, what are the different types of contraception that protect against unwanted pregnancybut not STIs?


Combined pill (the pill) – a pill containing a combination of the female hormone’s oestrogen and progesterone.

· over 99% effective when taken correctly… i.e once a day at the same time every day! Therefore, if you are forgetful the pill may not be the best fit for your lifestyle. If you do miss a pill/ forget to take one, vomit or have severe diarrhoea you could get pregnant so use an alternative form of contraception such as a condom.

· There are loads of different versions of the pill so go to your GP and they should help you find the one that will suit your body best.

I have previously been on the combined pill and it took me a while to find one that suited my body without giving me side effects, but after speaking to my Doctor, she helped me find my best fit. I am now on the progesterone only pill (mini pill) …


Progesterone only pill (the mini pill) - unlike the combined pill the mini pill only contains progesterone

· Much like the combined pill, the mini pill is over 99% effective when taken correctly (see above to learn how to take your pill correctly)

· You do not take a break unlike the combined pill.

· your periods may become lighter, irregular or more frequent.


Diaphragm or cap

· 92-96% effective

· A circular dome, made of silicone that is inserted in the vagina before sex!

· It covers the cervix to stop sperm getting into the uterus. (refer back to our first post for an anatomy refresher)

· Needs to be left in place for at least 6 hours after sex


Implant

· More than 99% effective

· Placed in your arm by a doctor, it releases the hormone progesterone into your blood stream and prevents pregnancy for 3 years.

· This is a good option if you are forgetful


injection- Releasing progesterone into the blood stream to prevent pregnancy

· More than 99% effective when used correctly I.e. going to get your top up injection every 8/13 weeks.

· Lasting 8-13 weeks depending on the type of injection (depo-provena or Noristrerat) check with your doctor to see how often you need a top up.

· A good option if you are forgetful!


The coil- releasing copper into the womb

· more than 99% effective

· This is inserted into the womb by a doctor and lasts 5 to 10 years depending on the type. The doctor will check it is in the correct place and teach you how to do the same.

· A good option if you are forgetful!

· A risk of infection after it is fitted


Hormonal coil- releasing progesterone into the blood stream

· More than 99% effective

· It is inserted the same as the copper coil through the vagina into the womb by a doctor and lasts 3 to 5 years.

· A good option if you are forgetful!

Patch

· More than 99% effective when used correctly-

· A small sticky patch placed on your arm, releasing hormones, you can still wear it in the bath, swimming or playing sport

· The patch lasts for 1 week and you change it every three weeks before having a week’s break

· A good option if you are forgetful!


Vaginal ring- releasing oestrogen and progesterone into your bloodstream

· More than 99% effective when used correctly- one ring provides contraception for a month before waiting a week to change it.

· You insert the ring like a tampon

· A good option if you are forgetful!


Read more on unwanted pregnancy contraception in depth below

https://www.mums.me.uk/sexual-health/contraception


As you can see there are lots of different types of contraception to suit all different bodies and lifestyles.

Now we have covered all there is to know about preventing pregnancy we need to talk STIs, or how to avoid them. Don’t worry we are going to cover more on the different STIs in depth in a future post!

As I have already mentioned whenever you are intimate with a new partner it is really important to wear a condom and get STI tested, you can get tested in a sexual health clinic or get free home self-testing kits-

Link to free STI at home testing kits

https://umbrellahealth.co.uk/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwsLWDBhCmARIsAPSL3_0Z0HuWLEzjpMElsr5JTyrenUQB5SjBdDjNucUy8sHvg6VanDdGG5AaAoHaEALw_wcB


contraception to avoid STIs-

Male condoms-

· They are worn externally on the penis and protect against STIs

· when used correctly they are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy

· you can get free condoms from sexual health clinics

· you can only use a condom once

· check your condoms and lube are compatible to avoid splitting the condom.

· you can get flavoured, ribbed and dotted condoms!

see the link below to see how to use a male condom

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/how-do-i-use-condom/

Female condoms- worn inside the vagina

· 95% effective when used correctly

· They are worn internally and protect against STI


Dental dams-

· a piece of latex that can be used to cover the gentiles during oral sex


Did you know you can get an STI from oral sex so you still need to use a condom or dental dam when engaging in oral sex!

See link on how to avoid STIs below

https://umbrellahealth.co.uk/sti/how-to-avoid-stis


We may have covered the different types of day to day contraception but we haven’t mentioned emergency contraception (the morning after pill)

· The morning after pill can protect from pregnancy when your normal contraception fails or you have unprotected sex.

· The morning after pill is for emergency’s only and you should go to your GP to discuss a long-term solution to select one of the contraception methods, we have already discussed

· You need to take the pill within 3 days of having unprotected sex

Places you can get the morning after pill for free below-

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/where-can-i-get-emergency-contraception/


I am sorry to have waffled on about contraception but it is really important we all take responsibility for our sexual health and choosing the right contraception for our bodies and lifestyle are a key part of this, so book an appointment with your GP to discuss the best contraception options for you.

That is all for this post, we hope you have found it educational and beneficial in choosing your contraception. see you later,

The Vibe team x



Disclaimer, this is a blog for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for consulting a doctor.


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