Be prepared when talking to your Healthcare Professional (HCP)

Think about what is the most important factor to you when choosing your contraception and finding your match.

Have an open and honest discussion with a HCP and they will be able to advise you on the best options that meet your needs.

Explore you available options prior to your consultation and ask yourself:
  1. How important is it for you NOT to become pregnant?
  2. If you want to become pregnant, when do you plan to become pregnant?
  1. Would you prefer a short-acting, long-acting or permenant method of contraception?

Contraception and Sexual Health clinic locator

Doing things online is fine but changing your contraception usually requires an appointment or prescription. Sometimes it’s just nice to talk face-to-face.

You can get a prescription for contraception from your GP surgery but if you prefer to go to a separate clinic then click on the link below and enter your postcode to find the location of your nearest C&SH clinic.


Frequently asked questions

We have pulled together a list of questions and answered them for you below. Whilst we’ve done our best to make sure the information is accurate, it is not designed to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

  • How can I work out which contraceptive is best for me?
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    Of course all of us want a contraceptive that works but perhaps you are particularly concerned about having to remember to take it every day, the hormones used or a health condition you have. Whatever your needs, there is a suitable contraceptive available.

    Start off with our conversation guide to help prepare for an appointment with your doctor or nurse. You can also find out more about all the contraceptive options available to you here.

  • What is the most effective contraceptive method?
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    The implant, IUS and IUD are amongst the most effective forms of reversible contraception because you don’t need to remember to take them every day. They’re over 99% effective in real-life with typical use. Sterilisation is a permenant option which may be suitable if you have completed your family or have decided that you no longer wish to have children. Your healthcare professional will be able to advise you about this.

  • What are LARC methods?
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    LARC stands for long-acting reversible contraception. It refers to contraceptives that you don’t need to take every day but that are not permanent. LARCs can last from 8 weeks to up to 10 years, depending on which method you use. They can also be discontinued at any time (apart from the contraceptive injection, which lasts for 8–13 weeks, but can be discontinued after that). LARC methods include the implant, IUS, IUD and the hormonal injection.

  • Are there any contraceptives I don’t have to take every day?
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    Yes. LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives - such as the implant, IUS, IUD and the hormonal injection), the vaginal ring and the patch have longer-lasting effects but vary in the length of time that they’re effective. For example, LARCs can last from 8 weeks to up to 10 years, depending on which method you use, whereas the patch and vaginal ring require weekly or monthly replacement. But they can also be discontinued at any time (apart from the contraceptive injection, whose effect lasts for 8–13 weeks, but can be discontinued after that).

  • How old do you have to be to start using LARC methods?
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    LARC methods are suitable for most women who need contraception. Your doctor or nurse will be able to help you select the method that would be right for you.

  • Will I feel my coil during sex?
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    You and your partner should not be able to feel your coil during sex. If you think you can, contact your doctor or nurse.

  • Will I gain weight if I choose a hormonal contraception?
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    This will depend largely on the type of contraception and you as an individual. The amount of weight will also vary depending on the individual.

  • Is there an increased risk of infection with the coil?
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    The coil and inserter are sterilised. The coil inserter has been designed to minimise the risk of infections, and helps to protect the coil from contamination with bacteria during the fitting. The risk of infection with the coil is very low - less than 1 in 100 women will develop an infection and those who do usually had an infection ongoing before the coil was fitted, which may make the infection worse. This means it is important to have treatment for any genital infections before you have a coil fitted and your healthcare professional can advise you on this.

  • Will my fertility be affected if I choose a long-acting method?
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    Your fertility will return to your normal levels when you stop using any contraception (apart from sterilisation) - however, the time it takes for your fertility to return will vary.

  • I’ve got really heavy periods/get really bad period pains/have really irregular periods, are there any contraceptives that could help?
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    Hormonal contraceptives could help, read more about the benefits of all the contraceptives available here.

  • Can I get pregnant if I use contraception?
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    The simple answer is yes. No method of contraception works 100% of the time but some methods are far more reliable than others. The implant, IUS and IUD are all more than 99% effective in typical use. That’s because there’s less room for error — once your doctor or nurse has fitted them for you, you don’t need to remember to do anything for them to work (until you need to go back to get a replacement). Whilst other methods could be just as effective if used correctly, it’s not always easy to do this which means they are far less effective with typical use. Read more about the benefits and considerations of different contraceptives here.

  • Will all contraceptives protect me from sexually transmitted infections?
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    Only condoms (female and male) offer protection against sexually transmitted infections.

  • Can I take hormonal contraceptives if I have a health problem or am taking medication?
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    Your doctor will be able to help you decide which contraceptives are suitable for you depending on any health conditions you already have. Speak to your doctor to get more information that’s tailored to you.

  • Are there any low dose or non-hormonal contraceptive options I can try?
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    There are a number of low dose or non-hormonal contraceptives. Read more about them here here.

  • I’m going through the menopause. Do I need a contraceptive?
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    Yes. You won’t be fully protected from pregnancy until you’ve had 12 consecutive months without a period. So even if you have a few months without a period, you can still get pregnant. Speak to your doctor about using an appropriate method of contraception.

  • I don’t want to have children/any more children. Are there any permanent solutions I can consider?
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    There are permanent solutions for both men and women. Sterilisation may be an option if you are sure your family is complete. Read more about the options here.

  • What should I do if I’ve had unprotected sex or I’m worried my contraceptive has failed?
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    Emergency contraception is a backup method that can be used when something goes wrong. There are two kinds — pills (sometimes referred to as the morning after pill) or an intrauterine device (IUD, sometimes referred to as the copper coil).

    Depending on the emergency contraceptive pill taken, it can be taken up to 72 hours or 120 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, however the sooner you take it the more effective it is. You can get the emergency contraceptive pill from your pharmacist, doctor or nurse.

    The IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into the womb and contains copper. It can be used as emergency contraceptive up to five days after unprotected sex. The IUD needs to be fitted by a doctor or nurse.

    If you’ve had unprotected sex or are worried your contraceptive has failed, speak to a healthcare professional about whether one of these methods could be right for you.

    Read more about emergency contraception on the NHS Choices website.

  • Where can I go to find out more about contraception?
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    You can read more about contraception on the NHS Choices website or the FPA website. Your GP’s clinic or your local sexual health clinic will also be able to provide information and advice on which method could be best for you. You can find your nearest sexual and reproductive health services here.

  • What side effects will I get if I start taking hormonal contraception?
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    Different contraceptives come with different side effects but hormonal contraceptives may be associated with headaches, increased appetite and weight, feeling sick, breast tenderness, mood changes, breakthrough (unexpected) bleeding and spotting. Not all women will experience side effects and many women find that side effects wear off after a few months of starting a new type of contraception. There are also side effects that many women consider to be positive, such as lighter and less painful periods or periods stopping altogether.

  • What’s the difference between the IUD and the IUS?
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    The IUD or intrauterine device is also known as the copper coil. It doesn’t contain any hormones, instead it works by releasing a small amount of copper which changes the composition of the fluids in the womb and fallopian tubes, preventing the sperm from surviving. The IUS on the other hand is a plastic device that releases a continuous, low dose of a progestogen hormone to prevent pregnancy. To read more about the IUD and the IUS as well as other types of contraceptives click here.

Always speak to your doctor or nurse for personal medical advice. Health information in this website is intended as general information and for UK audiences only. It is not intended to replace a consultation with a healthcare professional, nor is it intended to provide specific medical advice.

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All contents © Bayer 2018. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: October 2018