MANY women using contraception have been on the Pill for years.
It is the most common tool used, with GPs regularly prescribing it and women often going on it in their teens.
But while it is the right option for many women practising birth control, it's not the only choice.
We told today how women often suffer crippling side-effects, before switching onto something that works far better for them.
The Lowdown is the world’s first review platform for contraception. It was set up by Founder Alice Pelton, after she suffered from side effects from the Pill throughout her twenties.
Alice said: "I started The Lowdown because I was also sick of side effects from contraception being minimised.
"It’s madness that women should have to waste so much time, money and effort navigating this minefield in the 21st century – struggling to get doctor’s appointments, taking mornings off work for them, or not being able to access the method or brand they want.
"The Lowdown is here to change that."
The site is now visited by 80,000 people every month, helping thousands to choose what works best for their body.
Take this quiz to find out what would suit you the best in your contraception choice.
1. Do you want to use hormones?
Some women have a strong view on using a hormonal or non-hormonal method – but some might not care at all.
Whichever side you land on, it's a good question to start off with.
As if you don’t want to use something with hormones in it, it rules out around 50 per cent of options available to you.
There are some great benefits to hormonal contraception, with many saying it's improved their skin and helped with endometriosis pain and bleeding.
But it can also cause women anxiety and other health problems, so it's best to look into all the potential side-effects.
- If hormonal methods aren't for you: Rule out Combined Pill, Progestogen-only Pill, Patch, Ring, Hormonal Coil (IUS), Implant and Injection
2. Do you mind taking something every day?
Are you confident you can remember to take something like the Pill every day, or is something you don’t need to remember like the contraceptive implant or injection better suited for your lifestyle?
This is really important as taking the Pill correctly is critical to making sure it works effectively to prevent pregnancy.
- If you don't enjoy having to remember or don't think you will remember each day: Rule out the Combined Pill, Progestogen-only Pill and Fertility Awareness Methods.
3. Have you looked into anything other than the pill?
The contraceptive pill is the common method in the UK; it makes up two thirds of The Lowdown’s reviews and is the most reviewed method by 18-25 year olds.
But there are three long term reversible methods of contraception that require a small procedure to get started with; these are the injection, coil and the implant.
The Hormonal IUS can last up to five years with 99 per cent effectiveness.
These three methods are very effective, and once you’ve had them inserted or injected, you don’t need to worry about or remember anything for several months or years.
- If you don't like regular injections or having something fitted in your body: Rule out the Injection, Hormonal IUS, Copper IUD and Implant.
4. Do you want to be able to control your periods, make them lighter or make them stop completely?
Almost all contraceptives impact your menstrual cycle.
But you can choose your contraception to help you manage or control when you bleed.
- If you’re looking to control when you have a period – then the Combined and Progestogen-only Pill could be good for you.
- If you want to make your periods lighter – then all hormonal contraceptives are good options, but you should avoid the Copper coil (IUD).
- If you want to make your bleeds stop altogether – then look into the injection or the hormonal coil (IUS).
5. Do you want to try to get pregnant soon after coming off contraception?
It’s possible to get pregnant as soon as you stop using almost all methods of contraception, and your fertility will return to whatever is normal for you.
The only method where there is a short term impact on fertility after you stop using it is the injection.
It can take your usual fertility up to one year to return after not renewing the injection.
Other methods that aren’t good if you want to have children are the male vasectomy and female sterilisation, as these are permanent and difficult to reverse.
- If you want to try to get pregnant soon after coming off contraception – Rule out the injection, male vasectomy and female sterilisation.
6. Have you discussed your medical history and contraceptive choices with a doctor?
Conditions like migraines with aura, diabetic complications, a high BMI or blood pressure, and personal or close family history of blood clots, can mean many hormonal methods of contraception (methods like the Combined Pill, Patch and vaginal ring) might not be suitable.
That’s why it’s really important that you discuss any of your choices with your healthcare professional, and they conduct a full overview of your medical history to ensure it’s safe to prescribe your chosen contraceptive.
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