We supply a range of contraception options tailored to meet your individual needs.

Our service offers intrauterine methods specifically for contraception and deals with issues related to contraception. If, however,  an intrauterine method is required for non-contraceptive purposes (Heavy menstrual bleeding or as part of HRT), we would advise to seek this via your GP or Gynaecology‚Äč

Long-acting methods of Contraception (LARC) include the  Implant, IUD and IUS which work for three years or more.

Find out about all the different methods below:

What is the Injection?

The injection is long-lasting and releases the hormone progestogen, which stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is 99% effective if used as directed.

Advantages

  • Lasts for 13 weeks
  • Don’t have to think about contraception for as long as it lasts
  • Not affected by diarrhoea and vomiting, as not absorbed by the tummy
  • May make periods lighter and less painful
  • Can self-inject once assessed – meaning only one clinic visit per year

Disadvantages

  • Bleeding may stop or become irregular or heavier
  • Fertility may take up to 12 months to return after stopping the injection
  • No protection against STIs
  • Some people gain weight
  • Can cause slight thinning of the bones mostly in younger people or women over 50 (usually recovers once the injection is stopped)

Useful Information

  • Injection cannot be removed from the body, so any side effects may continue for as long as the injection lasts
  • Important to have your next injection at the right time
  • Not affected by other medicines

 

What is the Implant?

The Implant is a small, flexible rod (the size of a matchstick) put under the skin of the upper arm. It releases the hormone progestogen, which stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The implant is over 99% effective.

Advantages

  • Works for 3 years, but can be removed sooner
  • Don’t have to think about contraception for as long as it lasts
  • Fertility returns immediately once it is removed, with no long-term effects
  • Not affected by diarrhoea and vomiting, as not absorbed by the tummy
  • No link to weight gain
  • May make periods lighter and less painful

Disadvantages

  • Bleeding may stop or become irregular or heavier
  • No protection against STIs
  • Requires a small procedure to fit/remove it, but only takes a few minutes

Useful information:

  • Inserted using a local anaesthetic and no stitches are needed
  • Tenderness and bruising may occur after fitting, but resolve in a few days
  • You can feel the implant with your fingers, but it can’t be seen

 

What is an IUS?

An Intrauterine System (IUS) is a small, flexible T-shaped plastic device is put into the uterus where it releases the hormone progestogen. This stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The IUS is over 99% effective.

Advantages

  • Works for 5 or 6 years depending on the type, but can be removed sooner
  • Bleeding usually becomes lighter, shorter, less painful, or may stop
  • Don’t have to think about contraception for as long as it lasts
  • Fertility returns immediately once it is removed, with no long-term effects
  • No link to weight gain
  • Not affected by diarrhoea and vomiting, as not absorbed by the tummy

Disadvantages

  • May cause irregular bleeding/spotting, especially in the first 6 months
  • Small risk of getting an infection after it is fitted
  • Small risk of perforation
  • Some women find the insertion procedure uncomfortable, causing bad period type pains
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • You are taught to check the IUS is in place
  • Not affected by other medicines
  • If fitted at or after age 45, certain IUS’s can stay in place as contraception until the menopause

 

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a small, T-shaped plastic and copper device is put into the uterus. The copper is toxic to sperm. It also changes your cervical mucus to stop sperm reaching an egg. It may also stop a fertilized egg implanting in the uterus. The IUD is over 99% effective.

Advantages

  • Works as soon as it is put in
  • Works for 5 or 10 years, but can be removed sooner
  • Don’t have to think about contraception for as long as it lasts
  • Fertility returns immediately once it’s removed, with no long-term effects
  • Can also be fitted as a method of emergency contraception
  • Not affected by diarrhoea and vomiting, as not absorbed by the tummy

Disadvantages

  • Periods may be heavier, longer or more painful
  • Small risk of getting an infection after it is fitted
  • Small risk of perforation
  • Some women find the insertion procedure uncomfortable, causing bad period type pains
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • You are taught to check the IUD is in place
  • Not affected by other medicines
  • If fitted at or after 40, both the 5 year and 10-year IUD can stay in place as contraception until the menopause

What is the Progestogen Only Pill (POP)?

A pill that contains the hormone progestogen, which thickens cervical mucus to stop sperm reaching an egg. Some POP’s stop ovulation too. POP is 99% effective if used according to the instructions.

Advantages

  • Can be used if you can’t use oestrogen
  • Can be used at any age, but is especially useful if you smoke and are over 35 years
  • Can be used if you’re overweight, have migraines or if you have certain medical conditions that prevent you using the combined pill
  • Fertility returns immediately once it is stopped, with no long-term effects
  • No link to weight gain
  • May make periods lighter and less painful

Disadvantages

  • Bleeding may stop or become irregular
  • No protection against STI’s
  • Must take around the same time each day (12 hours for some, 3 hours for others) for it to remain effective
  • May experience temporary side effects including spots, breast tenderness, weight changes or headache

Useful Information

  • May not work if have vomiting or severe, long-lasting diarrhoea
  • Need to be aware of missed pill guidance and how to access emergency contraception if necessary
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the pill

What is the Combined Pill (COC)?

A pill that contains 2 hormones – oestrogen and progestogen. It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and thins the lining of the uterus. COC is 99% effective if used according to the instructions.

Advantages

  • Usually makes bleeding regular, lighter, and less painful
  • Reduces risk of cancer of ovary, uterus, and colon
  • No link to weight gain
  • Fertility returns immediately once it’s stopped, with no long-term effects
  • Suitable until age 50 for non-smokers with no health concerns
  • Can improve acne in some people

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable if you are a smoker aged over 35, overweight or have certain medical conditions
  • Can increase your blood pressure
  • Small risk of serious side effects including blood clots or breast or cervical cancer
  • May experience temporary side effects including headaches, nausea, breast tenderness or mood changes
  • You can choose not to have monthly bleeds/shorter bleed; with some flexibility of how to take it
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • May not work if have vomiting or severe, long-lasting diarrhoea
  • Need to be aware of missed pill guidance and how to access emergency contraception if necessary
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the pill
  • Break through bleeding and spotting is common in the first few months

What is the Patch?

A small 5cmx5cm, thin, beige coloured patch stuck on the skin releases 2 hormones – oestrogen and progestogen. It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and thins the lining of the uterus. 99% effective if used correctly.

Advantages

  • You don’t have to think about it every day (only once a week)
  • No link to weight gain
  • Usually makes bleeding regular, lighter, and less painful
  • Fertility returns immediately once it is stopped, with no long-term effects
  • Suitable until age 50 for non-smokers with no health concerns
  • Can reduce the risk of some cancers
  • You can choose not to have a monthly bleed

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable if you are a smoker aged over 35, overweight or have certain medical conditions
  • Small risk of serious side effects including blood clots or breast or cervical cancer
  • May experience temporary side effects including headaches, nausea, breast tenderness or mood changes
  • No protection against STI’s
  • Possible skin irritation
  • It can be seen

Useful Information

  • Not affected by diarrhoea and vomiting, as not absorbed by the tummy
  • Need to be aware of missed patch guidance and how to access emergency contraception if necessary
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the patch
  • Break through bleeding and spotting is common at first

What is the Ring?

The Ring is a small, flexible plastic ring is put into the vagina and releases estrogen and progestogen. It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and thins the lining of the uterus. 99% effective if used correctly.

Advantages

  • You don’t have to think about it every day (only every 3 weeks)
  • No link to weight gain
  • Usually makes bleeding regular, lighter, and less painful
  • Fertility returns immediately once it is stopped, with no long-term effects
  • Suitable until age 50 for non-smokers with no health concerns
  • Can reduce the risk of some cancers
  • You can choose not to have a monthly bleed

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable if you are a smoker aged over 35, overweight or have certain medical conditions
  • Small risk of serious side effects including blood clots or breast or cervical cancer
  • May experience temporary side effects including headaches, nausea, breast tenderness or mood changes
  • No protection against STIs
  • Possible skin irritation
  • It can be seen

Useful Information

  • Not affected by diarrhoea and vomiting, as not absorbed by the tummy
  • Need to be aware of missed ring guidance and how to access emergency contraception if necessary
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the patch
  • Break through bleeding and spotting is common at first

What are Condoms?

External condoms are made of very thin latex (rubber) and cover the penis when erect, to stop sperm entering the vagina. They act as a barrier preventing sexual fluids being transferred between partners preventing pregnancy and STIs. 98% effective if used correctly.

Advantages

  • Only method that protects against both pregnancy and STIs.
  • Only need to use them when you have sex
  • No serious side effects
  • Variety of shapes, sizes, textures, colours and flavours – making sex more fun
  • Easily available, and free from sexual health clinics

Disadvantages

  • May slip off or split if used incorrectly
  • Penis needs to be withdrawn straight after ejaculation, before it goes soft, being careful not to spill any semen
  • Some people find talking about condoms awkward and embarrassing

Useful Information

  • Use a new condom every time and follow instructions carefully
  • Must be on the penis before the penis touches a partner’s genital area
  • Oil-based products can damage latex, making them less effective
  • Use extra water-based lubricant when using condoms for anal sex
  • If a condom splits you needs access to emergency contraception/STI testing
  • Not affected by other medicines

What are female condoms?

Internal condoms are made of soft, thin polyurethane (plastic). They loosely line the vagina and cover the area just outside, stopping sperm entering the vagina. They act as a barrier preventing sexual fluids being transferred between partners preventing pregnancy and STIs. 95% effective if used correctly.

Advantages

  • Only method that protects against both pregnancy and STIs
  • Only need to use them when you have sex, putting it in anytime up to 8 hours before sex
  • No serious side effects
  • Can use lubrication with them including oils, creams, lotions or petroleum jelly

Disadvantages

  • May slip or get pushed up into the vagina if used incorrectly
  • Need to ensure the penis enters the condom and not between the vagina and the condom
  • Not widely available, like external condoms

Useful Information

  • Use a new condom every time and follow instructions carefully
  • Sold online and in some chemists and free from CaSH/GUM clinics
  • If there is a problem with it, you need access to emergency contraception/STI testing

What is the Diaphragm/Cap with Spermicide?

A flexible silicone device used with spermicide (a gel which contains chemicals that kill sperm) is put into the vagina to cover the cervix. This stops sperm from entering the uterus and meeting an egg. 92-96% effective when used with spermicide.

Advantages

  • Can be put in up to 3 hours before sex (or earlier if you add extra spermicide)
  • Only have to use when you have sex
  • No serious side effects

Disadvantages

  • Needs to be left in for at least 6 hours after sex/need extra spermicide if you have sex again
  • Can take time to gain confidence in using them
  • Some people may be sensitive to latex or spermicide
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • Not affected by other medicines
  • Need to use the correct size unless using caya
  • Not recommended to use during your period because of risk of toxic shock syndrome
  • Needs washing in warm water after use and storing in a container in a cool, dry place

What is female sterilisation?

Female sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception where the fallopian tubes are cut, sealed, or blocked by an operation. This stops the egg and sperm meeting. Overall failure rate is about one in 200.

Advantages

  • Not easily reversed
  • Once it has worked, you do not have to use contraception again
  • Periods are unaffected

Disadvantages

  • Need to continue with contraception until sterilisation has proven effective
  • Low risk of serious complications with the operation
  • Will need a general or a local anaesthetic
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • Needs careful consideration/counselling to ensure there is no doubt that this is the best method prior to the operation
  • If in any doubt, a long-acting reversible method of contraception is recommended and is highly effective
  • May experience discomfort/pain after sterilization

What is a Vasectomy?

Male Sterilisation, or Vasectomy, is a permanent method of contraception, where the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis are cut, sealed, or tied. Overall failure rate is 1 in 2,000.

Advantages

  • Not easily reversed
  • Once it has worked, you do not have to use contraception again
  • Usually performed under local anaesthetic

Disadvantages

  • Contraception must be used until a semen test shows no sperm are left
  • Some people may experience ongoing testicle pain, but this is uncommon
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • Needs careful consideration/counselling to ensure there is no doubt that this is the best method prior to the operation
  • May experience discomfort/pain after sterilisation

What is the Fertility Awareness Method?

The fertile and infertile times of the menstrual cycle are identified by noting the different fertility indicators. The three indicators are body temperature, cervical secretions and position of your cervix. By using these indicators and calculating how long your cycle lasts will enable you to work out when you can have sex without risking a pregnancy.

Advantages

  • No physical side effects
  • Offers a greater awareness of your body and menstrual cycle
  • Can be used to help plan a pregnancy, as well as to avoid one

Disadvantages

  • Need to avoid sex/use condoms at fertile times of the cycle
  • It can take several cycles to learn effectively; making it more difficult if you have an irregular cycle
  • You must keep daily records of your fertility indicators
  • No protection against STIs on the days when it is safe for you to have unprotected sex (non fertile times)

Useful Information

  • It requires considerate commitment by you and your partner
  • There are different fertility apps to help you record your indicators available; with more research needed into their effectiveness
  • Persona is a device that predicts your fertile days and if used correctly can be 94% effective

What is Emergency Contraception (EC)?

Emergency Contraception and the IUD both work up to 5 days after unprotected sex. You may have longer with the IUD than 5 days for it to be fitted. EC attempts to stop a pregnancy from occurring following either unprotected sex or failure of regular contraception. The IUD stops the egg being fertilised or implanting in the uterus.

Emergency Contraception pills work mainly by stopping/delaying ovulation. They are only likely to work if they are taken before the egg is released.

Advantages

  • If taken/fitted within 5 days of unprotected sex, emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy
  • The IUD can be kept in and become a regular ongoing method of contraception

Disadvantages

  • IUD insertion can be uncomfortable, but does not usually take longer than 5 minutes
  • There may be some temporary hormonal side effects to the oral contraceptive pill, including headaches, abdominal pain, dizziness, disruption to periods for a while. Most go away within a few days.
  • Oral emergency contraception does not offer any ongoing contraceptive cover
  • Oral emergency contraception may be less effective if you vomit within 3 hours of taking it
  • No protection against STIs

Useful Information

  • A pregnancy test is recommended 3 weeks after emergency contraception to ensure it has worked
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the oral emergency contraceptive pills
  • Some chemists may charge for the oral emergency contraceptive pill (between £25-£35)
  • It is FREE from sexual health/GUM clinics/GP’s
  • A tablet containing Ulipristal Acetate (UPA) is more effective at preventing pregnancy than a pill with levonorgestrel