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A-Z of contraception!

What contraception is right for you?


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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There are so many different options available for contraception these days, so it’s good to take the time to figure out which is the right one for you. Click on any of the below for more information.

ProtectIon against STIs and pregnancy

Male Condoms are a popular form of contraception, and the most effective too - when used correctly. They are the best method for helping prevent STIs, and they can protect against pregnancy too.
Use them for: vaginal sex, anal sex, and oral sex performed on a penis.

Female condoms. These are another great way to protect against pregnancy and STIs. They’re similar to the male condom, but are inserted into the vagina, instead of covering the penis.
Use them for: vaginal sex.

Dental dams. These handy little things protect against STIs during oral sex performed on a vagina or anus (rimming). Remember, you need to use protection for these types of oral sex too, so make sure you read up about dental dams!
Use them for: vaginal-oral sex and anal-oral sex (rimming)

Abstinence. This involves abstaining from any form of sexual contact altogether and is the only 100% effective method of protecting against STIs or pregnancy.

Protection against pregnancy

Contraceptive implant. This is an extremely effective way of preventing pregnancy. Plus they last for ages! Remember though this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Contraceptive patch. Similar to the contraceptive implant, but you have to replace it every 7 days. Remember though this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Contraceptive pill. This is a very popular and effective way of preventing pregnancy, and it's widely available. Remember though this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Diaphragm and cap. This is a flexible rubber cap that fits inside the vagina. It is effective in preventing pregnancy, but not quite as effective as the contraceptive pill. Remember though this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Emergency contraception. Also known as the morning after pill, this is a pill you can take to prevent pregnancy, up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex. Remember though, this does NOT treat STIs, so if you’ve had unprotected sex, make sure to get an STI test too.

Contraceptive injections. This is similar to the contraceptive pill, except it lasts for 12 weeks. Remember though this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Natural methods/withdrawal. This involves only having sex at certain times in a woman’s menstrual cycle. It can sometimes protect against pregnancy, but it is not as effective as other methods. Remember it does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Sterilisation. This is a permanent surgical procedure that makes a man or woman incapable of having children. It is very effective in preventing pregnancy, but it is not a good option for young people, as it is irreversible. Remember this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

The coil. This is a small plastic and copper device that is put into the womb. It is very effective in preventing pregnancy but is not a good option for young women. Remember this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

The IUS. This is a small plastic contraceptive that is put into the womb and releases the hormone progestogen into the womb. It is very effective in preventing pregnancy. Remember this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Vaginal ring. This is a small, clear plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks each month. During this time, the ring releases a low dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy by stopping the release of a mature egg (ovulation). Remember this does NOT protect against STIs, so use a condom too.

Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.

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Published November 19th, 2014
Last updated May 15th, 2017
Tags sexual health contraception pregnancy
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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