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University SOS: Contraception 101 for Women

Are you heading off to uni soon? Or perhaps your son or daughter is?

Either way, it's important you're clued up about your - or their - contraception choices. For males, there's no better option than to carry a good supply of condoms, while females face a big decision regarding which method of contraception to opt for. From the pill to the coil, or even the implant, contraception can seem like a minefield.

The NHS has some great advice regarding how to select the right contraception aid for you, though, so make sure you check it out prior to making a decision.

To help you both, we're giving you a rundown of the key contraception options currently available. Read on...

The Contraceptive Pill

There are two types of contraceptive pill - progestogen-only and the combined pill. Both can be obtained from your GP following an initial appointment - and you will be prescribed the one which best suits your needs. For people with acne, for instance, the combined pill can be more effective in terms of clearing up spots.

It's important you have a chat with your doctor regarding the best pill for you. In the meantime, the NHS has some advice on both versions: the progestogen-only pill, and the combined pill.

Generally, these pills are taken throughout all or most of your cycle, with a seven-day break from the pill required for those on the combined version. It's vital, therefore, that you read the directions inside your pack, since all pills vary.


If you'd like to prevent pregnancy but you don't want to go on the pill, make sure you carry around plenty of condoms - whether you're female or male. Though it's not a common option, female condoms are certainly becoming more widely-used.

Condoms for men, however, are one of the most popular forms of contraception - and can be purchased here on the Chemist.co.uk site. You can also request condoms - free of charge - from your GP or family planning clinic.

The Contraception Injection

Releasing the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy, this injection - known as Depo-Provera, Sayana Press or Noristerat - must be administered by your GP or family planning clinic, and lasts for 13 weeks.

The Implant

A small, flexible plastic rod that's placed in your upper arm by a doctor or nurse, the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon) releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream. Lasting for three years, it aims to prevent pregnancy.

The Contraceptive Patch

Ever heard of the contraceptive patch? When used properly, it is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and each patch lasts a week, at which point you need to change it. You change the patch every week for three weeks, then have a week off.

The Vaginal Ring

For women who aren't squeamish about inserting a contraceptive device into their vagina, the vaginal ring is an option. Releasing a continuous dose of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy, it is not as widely-used as the pill or condoms, but can be very effective.

The Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Often referred to as 'the coil', an IUD is a small, T-shaped plastic and copper device that's positioned in your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse. Releasing copper to stop you getting pregnant, it can help protect against pregnancy for up to 10 years.

The Contraceptive Diaphragm

Inserted into the vagina before sex, a diaphragm or cap is a circular dome made of thin, soft silicone. Covering the cervix so sperm can't get into the womb (uterus) to fertilise an egg, the diaphragm can be tricky to use but is very effective.

Hopefully you now feel ready to make a choice regarding contraception, but do get in touch if you require any advice regarding the various methods we have mentioned here on our blog.

Until next time...

Disclaimer: If you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the products mentioned, do not consume them. Always check with your doctor before trying a new medication or regime, and if irritation or allergy occurs stop using the product or medication immediately

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