Alternatives to the pill

The pill isn’t something that every woman can have. It has some seriously dangerous side effects – plus many struggle to keep taking them everyday. They aren’t the only form of contraception, here are five alternatives if you are fed up with the pill.

IMPLANT

A small flexible plastic rod is placed under the skin in your arm. You are given local anaesthetic and it’s over in a few minutes. It lasts for up to 3 years and releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent the release of an egg each month. It’s good if you don’t want to think about it, but it can stop your periods altogether or have negative side effects. Note – does not protect against STIs. 

Find out more on the NHS website

COIL

Stopping you getting pregnant for between 5 to 10 years, a small T-shaped plastic and copper device is placed into your womb by a doctor or nurse. The downside is that it doesn’t protect you against STIs and it can sometimes lose its place – but the doctors will teach you how to find this out. The bonus is that it has no hormonal side effects such as acne or weight gain. 

Find out more on the NHS website.  

DIAPHRAGM

An oldie but effective – a circular cap made of soft silicone is inserted into the vagina before sex. That’s it, and you only need to do this when you want sex. It doesn’t affect your periods or hormones at all. The downside is that it’s less effective than the others at preventing pregnancy and can be awkward for women with unusually shaped or positioned cervix. But if you want a method that doesn’t involve hormones – this could be the one for you.

Find out more on the NHS website

CONDOMS

Female and male condoms are still an alternative to the pill. You should use them if you can even with contraception to protect against STIs. Obviously, everyone knows of external condoms that people with penises use – but did you know about the ‘female’ condoms. They go inside the vagina to prevent semen getting to the womb and preventing STIs. 
Find out more on the NHS website.

PATCH

Known as Evra in the UK, the patch is a small sticky patch that releases hormones into your body through your skin in order to prevent pregnancy. It’s extremely effective and changed every week, so there’s no hassle during that time. You can wear it in water and it can also stop heavy periods. Sadly, it can cause some skin iration, side effects and obviously doesn’t protect against STIs – but it could be the contraception for you if you like to be in control of your protection. 

Find out more on the NHS website

Speak to a trained doctor or nurse to make an informed decision, and always wear a condom when having unprotected sex.


Words by Charlie Vogelsang

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