Which contraception is right for you?

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The patch:

Not something you want to get mixed up with your boyfriend’s nicotine patches.

It works exactly the same as the pill – three weeks on, one week off – except you only have to remember to change patches every week.

Fine to be worn in the bath or swimming pool, the patch can be worn on most of your body, as long as the skin is dry and not too hairy – sorry girls you can’t wear it there. Don’t stick it to your boobs either.



The Cap:

Admittedly not the most glamorous of contraception methods, it is essentially a dome of plastic you (yes you) have to push up your vagina each time before sex. It works by blocking the entrance of the cervix and barring sperm, but must be left in for six hours after your man has done his business.

Used correctly with spermicide (a sperm killing gel), it is 92-96% effective and there are no nasty side effects. But it can take time to learn how to use it, it can interrupt sex and other forms of contraception are more effective.

On the plus side, it’s reusable. What more could a girl want?


Slightly bigger and more obvious than the cap, but works in a similar way. Used correctly with spermicides it is 92-96% effective.


Vaginal ring:

A bit like a cock ring but without the whirring attachments.

The ring goes inside the vagina for 21 days and is then binned. Like the pill, three weeks on, one week off and then a new replacement is shoved up there.

Over 99% effective if used correctly, you only have to think about twice a month, it doesn’t interrupt sex and it can make your periods lighter.



IUD (intrauterine device):

One of the less common types on contraception, the IUD is a T-shaped plastic and copper contraption that a nurse puts into your womb.

It’s over 99% effective, lasts for five to ten years (depending on the type) and works because the copper messes up the system and stops sperm from surviving in the womb. Once removed, it goes back to normal straight away.

The nurse who fits your IUD will teach you how to see if it’s still in place – although it’s unlikely to move.

IUS (intrauterine system):

Similar to the IUD but without the copper. The IUS works by releasing a hormone that thickens the mucus and stops sperm from reaching your precious eggs.

This one lasts for three – five years (depending on the type).


Dr Delvin, a family planning specialist from Net Doctor, says: “None of the methods is quite 100 per cent effective, which means the only guaranteed way of preventing conception is to not have sex.

“You should also remember that some methods are quite complicated to use, and no method is as safe as the figures quoted if you don’t follow the instructions carefully.”

The next step is to visit your GP or local walk in centre for more information and a chat with a doctor about which one is best for you.

Hopefully we’ve mulled over your options, but if you’re still not sure take a look at Brook charity’s contraception tool for a table comparison.

Stay safe girls!



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