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.

Information about Your IUD/IUS Fitting Appointment

If you already have an appointment to have an IUD/IUS fitted please read the following advice so that we can successfully fit your IUD/IUS on the day of your appointment.

  • It is very important that there is no risk that you may be pregnant when the IUD/IUS is fitted. Please continue your current method of contraception (pills/ implant / injection or condoms) until the day of your IUD/IUS fitting and do not have unprotected sex prior to the fit.
  • If you are at risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) then it is important to have a clear STI screen prior to your IUD/IUS fitting appointment. You may be at risk if you have had
    • a new sexual partner in the last three months or
    • if you have had more than one sexual partner in the last one year.

You can easily arrange for an STI check by coming into the clinic to do a self-service screen or by visiting your GP or by ordering a postal testing kit

We routinely test everyone who is at low risk for an STI on the day of the IUD/IUS fitting.

  • Please take some painkillers one hour prior to the IUD/IUS fit (either Paracetamol 2x 500mg tablets or Ibuprofen 2x 200mg tablets). IUD/IUS fitting can affect different women in very different ways. Most women will have some discomfort (“period-like” pain) during the IUD/IUS fit. Some women may experience more severe pain and may need to take the rest of the day off work or college to recover. Please do not arrange any important appointments (e.g. an exam or job interview) on the same day after your IUD/IUS fit. It is normal to need to take some regular painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen) in the first few days after your IUD/IUS fitting – a hot water bottle or heat pad can also be helpful with “period-like” pains.

The IUD/IUS fitting appointment will take approximately 30 minutes, during this time the Doctor or Nurse will explain everything you need to know about having an IUD or IUS. The fitting itself takes about 5 minutes.

Click here to download our service leaflet about the IUS