Female Contraception: Choosing the Right Long-Term Method

Good contraception is essential for preventing unintended pregnancy, whether unwanted or mistimed. There are numerous methods to consider when choosing the most ideal option for your lifestyle and body. Generally, you can select between short-term and long-term methods. Short-term methods are favorable because they are cheaper and easily accessible. However, the long-term alternatives are more effective, about 99% when used correctly. Moreover, they are more convenient since keeping track of daily or weekly contraceptives can be difficult. Here is a short description of the 3 most popular long-term contraceptive methods.contraceptive-implant

Contraceptive implant

The contraceptive implant is essentially a flexible tube, approximately 40mm long. This is inserted below the skin of the upper arm. This must be implanted by a doctor or other trained professional for maximum effectiveness and safety. The contraceptive implant works by preventing the release of the eggs from the ovary. In simple terms, it slowly releases the hormone progesterone which affects this process. In addition, the hormone causes the cervical mucus to thicken, reducing the probability of the sperm moving to the womb.

When properly inserted, it will be effective for up to three years.

Intrauterine system (IUS)

As implied, the intrauterine system is a plastic device which is inserted into the uterus. The product is also called a hormonal coil, but it is actually a T-shaped plastic item. It is normally inserted by a specially trained doctor. Like the contraceptive implant, this works by releasing progesterone slowly and steadily. The hormone will stop the release of the egg in the user. It also thickens the cervical mucus, making to almost impossible for sperm to penetrate to the womb. So the mechanism of action is quite similar to the contraceptive implant. Intrauterine system can also cause the thinning of the uterine wall such that a fertilized egg will not become implanted.

The effect of IUS can last up to five years when properly inserted by a professional.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

The intrauterine device is different from the intrauterine system though they are both commonly known as coils. This product is also T-shaped, but it is made from copper and plastic. However, the essential difference is that, unlike the IUS, this device is not hormonal. Instead, it is designed to make the condition in the womb and even in the fallopian tubes unsuitable for the survival of eggs and sperm. It is also capable of preventing a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus.

With proper maintenance, IUD will last between five and ten years.

Finally, if you are sure you don’t want to conceive in the future, you can choose permanent sterilization which blocks and seals the fallopian tubes, preventing the flow of the eggs from the ovary to the uterus.