Guide to contraception

November 12, 2012

Guide to contraception

Did you know that in the United Kingdom contraception is free for the majority of people and there are 15 different types of protection? So there isn’t really an excuse for not taking precautions when having sex.

Although contraceptives give protection from unplanned for pregnancies they do not stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Condoms do give some protection against STIs but the amount of protection afforded depends on the type and style of sex that you and your partner enjoy.

The main thing about contraception is to find a method which is suitable for you and your partner. With fifteen different methods available it is easy to find another one if the first contraceptive didn’t suit you. It is crucial that you do not just stop using contraceptives otherwise it is likely that an unwanted pregnancy will occur.

The fifteen different types of contraception available in the UK are:

  1. caps

  2. combined pill

  3. condoms (female)

  4. condoms (male)

  5. contraceptive implant

  6. contraceptive injection

  7. contraceptive patch

  8. diaphragms

  9. intrauterine device (IUD)

  10. intrauterine system (IUS)

  11. natural family planning

  12. progestogen-only pill

  13. vaginal ring

In addition to the 13 types above there are two forms of permanent contraception:

•female sterilisation

•male sterilisation (vasectomy)

Contraception – Where and How?

All aspects of contraceptive services in the UK are free and confidential for people aged 16 years or over. However if a person aged under 16 years wishes contraception then the medical staff must ensure that the individual is fully understanding of the information being given. Healthcare professionals, when dealing with under 16 year olds, must adhere to stringent procedures.

Free contraceptives are available from most GP surgeries, some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, community contraceptive clinics, sexual health clinics and some young people’s services.

To find the nearest place to you then look on the NHS website,

If you need any information regarding STIs or pregnancy then the clinics and surgeries above can help you. Treatment and testing for STIs is available at some of these places too. Remember that if you consider yourself to be at risk of an STI then you are also at risk of pregnancy.

Choosing a Contraceptive

It is good to make yourself as aware as you can of the different types of contraceptives and how they work before seeing your health professional. All options may not be suitable to you for a number of reasons. Lifestyle and age are two different factors which could influence which contraceptive is best for you.

Contraception is Required until the Woman is Post Menopausal

Any women who are going through the menopause must have been without a period for at least 12 months before having unprotected sex if they wish to be certain that they cannot become pregnant. It is common in women during the menopause to have irregular periods before completely stopping. However at any time during the menopause a woman can become pregnant if she has unprotected sex.

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