If you’re sexually active, it’s vital that you have access to the necessary tools to inform your decisions around safer sex.
Thankfully, here at College Times, we've got the information that you need to achieve this.
It’s a good idea to discuss your contraceptive choices with your GP or family planning clinic, to ensure that the contraceptive you're planning on choosing is right for you.
A few factors that you should take into account are:
- Your age
- Any underlying health conditions you may have
- Whether or not you're a smoker.
Hormonal and barrier contraceptives are very effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy when used correctly and consistently.
Below is an overview to the different forms of contraception available.
Condoms are the only form of contraception that can also protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but they must be used properly. Condoms are readily available in pharmacies and convenience stores.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (or LARCs) are also an effective method of contraception.
You can use LARCs for an extended period of time and you do not have to remember to take or use these methods every day.
Examples of LARCs are the copper coil, the contraceptive implant and the intrauterine system, better known as IUS.
LARCs can only be inserted by a trained doctor.
The Contraceptive Pill
The contraceptive pill contains artificial female hormones. There are different kinds of contraceptive pills available, but they must be taken daily to be effective.
The pill can be a really useful option for anyone who is good at remembering to take pills on a daily basis. Ask your doctor to guide you towards the pill that suits you best.
The patch is worn for seven days and contains artificial female hormones, which when absorbed through the skin, stop ovulation. It works in a very simple way - you wear a patch for one week, then change every week for three weeks and you don’t wear it on your fourth week.
As always, we recommend that you speak to your doctor or family planning clinic to see if this method will suit your needs best.
Injectable contraception contains progesterone and helps to stop you from ovulating, i.e. producing any eggs.
One thing to note is that this needs to be administered by a healthcare professional every 12 weeks.
Remember - if for any reason, your contraception fails, you could be at risk of an unplanned pregnancy.
However, emergency contraception is available without prescription (and is free for medical card holders) from your local pharmacy for up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.
Emergency contraception does not provide any protection against STIs.
For more information on contraception choices, visit here https://www.sexualwellbeing.ie/sexual-health/contraception/your-choices/