Contraception

Shire Doctors - Your Friendly GP to Talk to About Contraception

Your GP is normally the first point of contact for advice and guidance on sexual health and contraception. At Shire Doctors and Dentists, we offer a full range of family planning services, including contraception counselling and treatments, unplanned pregnancy management, and managing infertility, as well as shared antenatal care.

There are many contraceptive methods available on the market, including:

Common Types of Contraception

Oral Contraceptive Pills

To this day, Australian women continue to use oral contraceptive pills as their choice of contraception. Two main types of contraceptive pills are commonly known as ‘the pill’:

Overall Effectiveness (FPNSW)

If taken correctly, the combined pill and progestogen-only pill are both 99.7% effective.
Advantages*
  • The pill may regulate your period, and acne often improves.
  • Improvement or absence of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which normally causes uncomfortable symptoms before a period starts.
Disadvantages*
  •  The pill may cause nausea, tender breasts, and breakthrough bleeding.
  • It can cause some people to gain weight, experience mood changes, or loss of libido.
  • Other rare health problems can occur.

*You can discuss them with your GP if you have any concern.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is also known as “the morning-after-pill” and is available over the counter at most chemists. Emergency contraception may be used if:

Overall Effectiveness (FPNSW) The morning-after-pill is most effective when taken as early as possible following the intercourse. Emergency pills prevent about 85% of expected pregnancies.
Advantages The morning-after-pill is very safe with no serious or long-lasting side effects.
Disadvantages There is a small chance of nausea, breast tenderness, or headache after using this contraception.

IUDs: Intrauterine Devices

An Intrauterine Device or “IUD” is a small contraceptive device that is placed inside your uterus. An IUD stops sperm from reaching an egg – it also changes the lining of your uterus, so a fertilised egg cannot embed in it. In Australia, we have 2 kinds of IUDs:

Overall Effectiveness (FPNSW)
The copper IUD is 99.5% effective. The hormonal IUDs are between 99.7% and 99.9% effective.
Advantages
  • Very effective and is a long-term form of contraception.
  • The copper IUD does not contain hormones, therefore, no hormonal side effects.
  • Your fertility returns to normal once the implant is taken out.
Disadvantages
  • No protection against STIs.
  • Requires a small procedure to be put in and removed from the uterus.
  • Small chance of the IUD coming out by itself.

Barrier Methods: Male and Female Condom

Condoms are a popular method of contraception that can be used on-demand, are hormone-free, and can easily be carried. They also come in male and female forms.

Male condoms are rolled onto a penis and act as a physical barrier, stopping sexual fluids from passing between people during sex. While the female condom is placed into the vagina before having sex.

Overall Effectiveness

(FPNSW)

Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly. However, in real life, they can be less effective (88% effectiveness) due to breakage or incorrect use.
Advantages
  • They are the only form of contraception that prevents pregnancy as well as protects against STIs.
  • This contraception is widely available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Condoms can be used on-demand and are hormone-free.
Disadvantages
  • It can tear or come off during sex.
  • Condoms are not reusable, and they have a lower effectiveness rate than some other forms of contraception.
  • Some people are allergic to latex condoms.

Contraceptive Implants

The contraceptive implant is a small, reversible contraceptive device that is inserted right under the skin, usually in the upper arm, and stays effective for up to 3 years. It works by releasing a small amount of progestogen constantly preventing ovulation. Progestogen is one of the hormones used in the combined oral contraceptive pill and is similar to the hormone progesterone found in the body naturally.

Overall Effectiveness (FPNSW) The contraceptive implant is 99.95% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Advantages
  • The contraceptive implant can last up to 3 years.
  • The implant is a cost-effective form of contraception as no ongoing check-ups are needed.
  • Periods are typically lighter or even absent once the implant is inserted.
Disadvantages
  • It does not protect against STIs.
  • Hormonal side effects may include – nausea, bloating, acne, breast tenderness, lower libido.
  • It requires a small procedure to insert the implant and to remove it.

Talk about Contraception with Shire Doctors & Dentists

It is important to consider all the different types of contraception available and choose a method that best suits your needs.

For more information on contraception, you have options such as: