A-Z of contraception

What contraception is right for you?
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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.

Contraception is important for protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

Protection against STIs 

These four methods are the only ones that provide protection against STIs.

Condoms – Protection against STIs and pregnancy

“Male” Condoms

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 for:

  • vaginal sex
  • anal sex
  • 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 for:

  • vaginal sex

Dental dams – Protection against STIs

Dental dams protect against STIs during oral sex performed on a vagina or anus. Remember, you need to use protection for these types of oral sex too, so make sure you read up about dental dams!

Use for:

  • vaginal-oral sex
  • anal-oral sex

Protection against pregnancy

Remember that the forms of contraception in the list below will not protect against STIs, so it’s best to use a condom at the same time. 

Contraceptive implant

The contraceptive implant is an extremely effective way of preventing pregnancy, and they last for a long time.

Contraceptive patch

The contraceptive patch is similar to the contraceptive implant, but you have to replace it every 7 days.

Contraceptive pill

The contraceptive pill is a very popular and effective way of preventing pregnancy, and it’s widely available. 

Diaphragm and cap

The diaphragm and cap 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. 

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill, is a pill you can take to prevent pregnancy, up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex. It’s also important to have an STI test after unprotected sex, as emergency contraception cannot prevent an STI.

Contraceptive injections

Contraceptive injections involves getting an injection, and the protection lasts for 12 weeks, when you will need to get another.


Sterilisation is a permanent surgical procedure that makes a person 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. 

The coil – IUD/IUS

The coil, also known as an IntraUterine Device (IUD) or an IntraUterine System (IUS), is a small, T-shaped device made of either plastic or copper that is inserted into the uterus and used as a form of contraception. It is very effective in preventing pregnancy. 

Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring 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: 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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