Dr Caitríona Henchion
Medical Director, Irish Family Planning Association (IFPMA)
If avoiding pregnancy is your priority, a “fit and forget” method, such as the contraceptive coil, is one highly effective option that can last for up to 10 years.
As life changes, your contraceptive needs can change too. Whether you’re thinking of using contraception for the first time, or considering a change of method, understanding what’s available can help you choose an option to suit your needs.
Contraceptive methods include long and short-acting options; hormonal and hormone free coils; barrier methods, including condoms and diaphragms; permanent methods, such as tubal ligation and vasectomy; as well as daily pills and emergency contraception.
Women often are unaware of just how many options they can choose from. At the IFPA, we provide information about all forms of contraception and we specialise in long-acting methods.
A variety of options available
Long-acting reversible contraceptives, sometimes referred to as LARCs, are an option if you are sexually active and wish to avoid pregnancy. Intrauterine devices, also known as coils, are among the most effective fit and forget methods.
Whether you’re thinking of using contraception for the first time, or considering a change of method, understanding what’s available can help you choose an option to suit your needs.
The coil is inserted into your uterus and can offer protection for three to 10 years. It can be easily removed by a trained doctor or nurse. Coils are suitable for most people, including younger women, women with no previous pregnancies and women who have had only C-sections.
More reliable than pills or barrier methods, coils can also make your periods lighter or less frequent, or sometimes even stop them altogether. Most have hormones, but the copper coil is an excellent hormone free option.
Protecting yourself from STIs
It’s important to remember that LARCs don’t offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, they can be used in combination with condoms to protect against STIs.
If you’d like to speak to someone about your contraceptive options, talk to your GP or visit your local family planning clinic. You can also find information on all types of contraception on the IFPA website.