Long term contraception
Nowadays, there are a variety of contraceptive methods available.
However, in this topic we will be covering the options for long term contraception (LTC).
Please check out our previous article on general contraceptive methods.
So why use long term contraception?
Firstly LTC has a comparable success rate to the short term options such as the pill.
Secondly once the LTC has been put into place it provides effective action for up to 5 years, which means that remembering to take pills everyday is a thing of the past.
Thirdly, these methods are cost effective. Although the initial cost may be higher, the fact that LTC can last up to 5 years means that it may be cheaper than the equivalent length of time using short term contraception.
Last but not least is the issue on returning to fertility should you wish to start a family. The intra-uterine devices can show a return to fertility in as little as 1 month while fertility returns to normal upon removal of the implant.here
So what is available?
- Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
Hormonal IUD which contains the hormone (progesterone) is a device that is placed into the womb to provide contraception for up to 5 years. It works by releasing small amounts of the hormone on a regular basis so that the womb lining is not suitable for implantation. So even if fertilisation were to occur, the uterus would not be ready to accept the embryo and implantation would fail.
The contraceptive implant is a small flexible tube that is inserted under the skin of your upper arms and can provide contraception up to 3 years. Again a small amount of progesterone is released into the body to make the womb lining unsuitable for implantation.
- Copper bearing intrauterine device (IUD)
The copper IUD provides long term contraception from 3-5 years. It is fitted into the womb where it works by causing a chemical change that damages the sperm and the egg before they can meet. As an additional effect the action of the device ‘resting’ on the uterus lining deceives the body that an embryo has already implanted onto the womb lining thus making it much less likely that the real embryo can implant.
It is important to note that although LTC can be very successful, as with all types of contraception, there is always a small risk of pregnancy. Should you find out that you are pregnant while on the LTC, please make an appointment to see your doctor so further advice can be given.
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