Unless you’ve had a good, long chat with your GP about contraceptives – or have good long chats with your GP about contraceptives on a semi-regular basis – it’s entirely possible that there’s a whole world of contraceptives out there you don’t even know exist.
Available contraceptives are ever-evolving, so if you’ve been on the same pill for the past four/nine/forever years, you’ve probably never even been told about some of the newer options. It’s a brave new world out there, people.
Okay, so what about some contraceptive methods you haven’t heard of?
Nuva Ring (contraceptive vaginal ring)
The Nuva Ring is a soft plastic ring that is self-inserted (no pesky doctor’s room procedures here) into the vagina, and then releases low doses of oestrogen and progestogen (a similar dose of hormones to that used in the combined oral contraceptive pill). The ring stays in for three weeks, is taken out and then replaced with a new ring a week later. The Nuva Ring usually costs around $80 for three rings.
And the contraceptives that only 10 per cent of the population are using?
The contraceptives that everyone is talking about at the moment (okay, that all GPs are talking about at the moment) are Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives, otherwise known as LARCS. Dr Caroline Harvey, Medical Director Queensland, says that LARCs are methods of birth control that are administered less than once per month.
Implanon (Progestogen implants)
The implanon is inserted directly under the skin above the elbow, where it releases a low dose of progestogen over a three-year timeframe. Its effects are also immediately reversible upon removal, which is a plus for people who might be thinking of having kids sometime in the near future. The implanon insertion is a small procedure done by GP with a local anaesthetic.
The point of the implanon is that it results in a change in women’s usual bleeding patterns. For most women, this will mean little or no bleeding, but for one-fifth it will mean irregular or persistent bleeding. Luckily, if it doesn’t work for you, you can easily have the implant removed. An implanon costs $5 to $25 every three years (plus the cost of the procedure by a doctor).
IUDs (Intrauterine devices)