Contraception

Long-acting Contraception Methods

The most effective contraceptives are the ones that are ‘long acting’ and do not rely on a pill being taken every day or a condom or other barrier method being used every time you have sex. Long-acting contraceptives include:-

  • The contraceptive implant (nexplanon)
  • The intrauterine device (IUD)
  • The intrauterine system (IUS)
  • The contraceptive injection (depo-provera)

All these forms of contraception are available free of charge from Sexual Health Sheffield’s Contraception Service.

Remember, while these forms of contraception are effective at preventing pregnancy they will not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It may be advisable to use condoms or femidoms (the female condom) as well. Find out more on our Condom User Guide page.

Contraceptive Implant (Nexplanon)

The contraceptive implant is a small flexible rod that contains hormones that are slowly released into the body. The implant is inserted into the upper arm under local anaesthetic by a doctor or nurse. The implant can stay in place for up to 3 years and works by:-

  • Stopping eggs being released
  • Thickening the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm meeting an egg
  • Thinning the lining of the womb to stop eggs implanting

Implants are over 99% effective and are immediately reversible when removed by a doctor. For most women, fertility (the ability to get pregnant) is restored almost immediately after the implant has been removed.

Click here to download our service leaflet about the contraceptive implant

 

Contraceptive Injection (Depo-provera)

The contraceptive injection is an injection of hormones given every 12 weeks. The injection is given into a muscle (usually in your buttocks) and it slowly releases this hormone into your body. The injection works by:

  • Stopping eggs being released
  • Thickening the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm meeting an egg
  • Thinning the lining of the womb to stop eggs implanting

Contraceptive injections are over 99% effective as long as the injections are kept up to date. It may take a woman some time to regain fertility after she stops using this method of contraception.

Click here to download our service leaflet about the contraceptive injection

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

The intrauterine device (sometimes called the copper coil) is a small plastic and copper device that is fitted into the womb by a doctor or nurse. The copper in the coil changes the make-up of the fluids in the womb and this means that sperm and eggs can’t survive in the womb or fallopian tubes. The IUD may also prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

The IUD can stay in place between 5 and 10 years depending on the type, but can be taken out by a doctor or nurse at any time and is immediately reversible. Fertility (the ability to get pregnant) is restored almost immediately after the IUD has been removed.

The IUD is one of the most effective yet reversible methods of contraception and is over 99% effective.

Click here to download our service leaflet about the IUD

The IUD can also be used as a form of emergency contraceptive. If you have had unprotected sex or you think that your usual method of contraception may have failed (e.g. you forgot to take your pill or you used a condom but it split) having an IUD fitted within 5 days can stop a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

Intrauterine System (IUS)

The IUS is a similar device to the IUS but it also contains a slow release hormone. It works by:

  • Thickening the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm meeting an egg
  • Thinning the lining of the womb to stop eggs implanting

The IUS is over 99% effective and works for up to 5 years but can be taken out by a doctor or nurse at any time and is immediately reversible. Fertility (the ability to get pregnant) is restored almost immediately after the IUS has been removed.

As well as being an effective method of contraception, the IUS is helpful for women who have heavy periods.