Need Help? +66 90668 2825
Choosing the Right Contraception Method

Choosing the Right Contraception Method

There are no less than 16 different methods of contraception available, which means that you should definitely be able to find the right one for you!

But you may have to try several different things before you find the one you like most.

So we have reached the stage where unplanned pregnancies really should be rare, because of the range of good methods of birth control.

What are the most popular types of contraception?

In the second decade of the 21st century, the best available figures suggest that the Pill and the condom remain far and away the most widely used methods in Britain.

Both are employed by about 25 per cent of sexually active couples.

Below is a league table of popularity among the various methods of family planning.

Table 1: League table of popularity.

Rank Contraceptive
1st equal The Pill, including the mini-Pill – 25 per cent.
1st equal The male condom – 25 per cent.
3rd Vasectomy – 11 per cent.
4th Female sterilisation – nine per cent.
5th The coil (intra-uterine deviceor IUD) – five per cent.
6th Withdrawal method – four per cent.
7th Variations of the rhythm method – three per cent.
8th equal The contraceptive injection (‘the Jab’) – almost three per cent.
8th equal Mirena (intra-uterine system or IUS) – almost three per cent.
10th equal The skin patch (Evra) – two per cent.
10th equal The cap or the closely-related diaphragm – two per cent.
10th equal The implant – two per cent.
13th The female condom – about one per cent.
14th The vaginal ring – less than one per cent.
15th Chemical methods (ie spermicides) alone – less than 0.5 percent.

This league table changes from time to time, depending on factors such as ‘Pill scares’ and the introduction of new methods.

What works and what doesn’t?

With the exception of Withdrawal (coitus interruptus), the above methods have the blessing of family planning experts because when used properly, they have a superior chance of preventing pregnancy.

However, while the rhythm method is okay for well-motivated couples who have been trained in its use by a qualified ‘natural family planning’ teacher, for the rest of us, it’s a bit risky.

Also very risky are certain other methods, for instance, using spermicides (chemical pessaries, creams or foams), or douching your vagina after sex.

Practices like ‘doing it standing up’ or ‘coughing a lot afterwards’ or ‘trying not to come’ don’t work, and will simply lead to unwanted pregnancy.

How effective are the various methods?

Some contraceptive methods are more effective in preventing pregnancy than others, while only condoms offer any protection against sexually transmitted infections.

The following figures will give you some idea of which kinds of contraception are the most efficient at protecting you against pregnancy.

Table 2: Effectiveness of contraceptive methods.

Contraceptive method Effectiveness
Vasectomy Almost 100 per cent
Female sterilisation Almost 100 per cent
The Pill Almost 100 per cent
Contraceptive injection Almost 100 per cent
Contraceptive implants Almost 100 per cent
IUS (Mirena) 98 to 99 per cent
IUD (the coil) 97 to 98 per cent
The mini-Pill Around 98 per cent
Male condom 90 to 98 per cent
Female condom 90 to 98 per cent
Diaphragm with spermicide 90 to 96 per cent

None of the methods is quite 100 per cent effective, which means the only guaranteed way of preventing conception is to not have sex.

You should also remember that some methods are quite complicated to use, and no method is as safe as the figures quoted if you don’t follow the instructions carefully.

For example, if you are taking the Pill, you shouldn’t miss taking a tablet. If you are using condoms, you should make sure you put them on before sex starts – not half way through. If you’re relying on the contraceptive injection, you do need to turn up for your jab every 12 weeks.

Every method, except vasectomy and sterilisation, can easily fail if you don’t take care.

What about new methods of contraception?

Other methods of contraception will be available in the future. Below are two fairly recent developments.

The vaginal hormone ring

The vaginal hormone ring (NuvaRing) has been tried out extensively since 2001. It is approved in over 30 countries, but only became available in the UK in 2009. Since then, some thousands of British women have been using it successfully.

You keep it in your vagina for three weeks out of every four. During the week you take it out, you will have your period. After the week’s break, you put a new NuvaRing inside.

Like the Pill, the ring contains two hormones. We don’t know what its long-term effects will be, especially with regard to cancer.

Because of the presence of the Pill-type hormones in the ring, it should NOT be used by anyone who is at risk of thrombosis (clotting). That includes heavy smokers, especially those over 35. On the ‘plus’ side, the ring is now thought to make periods lighter and less painful in many cases.

The most common side-effects are known to be:

  • vaginal discharge
  • headache
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea
  • possibly mood changes.

It can also have much the same major side-effects as the Pill.

The ring has attracted legal action regarding serious side-effects, particularly in the USA.. In 2008, a lawsuit was launched by a husband who claims that his wife died as a result of using it.

Since then, many more people have alleged that the ring gave them a deep vein thrombosis, a pulmonary embolism or a stroke.

In 2014, the current manufacturers of NuvaRing settled 1,700 lawsuits by women who claimed to have been damaged by the product. The total sum paid out was around 100 million US dollars.

The most recent significant research on the vaginal ring was published in the British Medical Journal in May 2012. The Danish authors found that the ring may increase the risk of venous thrombosis (clotting) by a factor of 6.5.

This reinforces the message we have stated above: you should NOT use the vaginal ring if you have any factors which predispose you to clotting.

The Male Pill

Research work continues on the male Pill, particularly in Indonesia, California and in China.

Alas, it’s still several years away from general release, despite the fact that it keeps making optimistic headlines in the newspapers.

At present, it’s an injection, or an implant or patch, not a pill. However, at the end of 2014 the Indonesian government announced that they were testing a capsule which is intended to be taken an hour or two before sex.

family planning

Where do I get advice about choosing a contraceptive?

Traditionally, advice has been provided by the specially-trained experts at Britain’s large chain of family planning clinics, which were originally set up by the Family Planning Association (FPA).

About 1.2 million women (and 149,000 men) attend family planning clinics. Substantially larger numbers of people got contraceptive help from general practitioners.

You can find your local FP clinic in the phone book, or use the ‘clinic finder’ on the FPA website.

Alternatively, these days, most GPs also offer advice on contraception.

If you don’t want to talk to your own doctor about family planning, you can ask to see another. You can even go to a different practice if you want to, though that’s rarely done.

It’s fair to say that many GPs aren’t experts in all methods of family planning. But often there is one partner in the practice who does have good qualifications in contraception.

If you’re under 25, you could also go to a Brook advisory clinic or a local youth advice clinic.

Also, these days a number of women seek on-line advice and prescriptions from commercial companies who advertise in newspapers.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.