A wide variety of contraceptives are now available in the market for women, but choosing the right one for you can be an arduous process.
Contraceptives are used for various reasons, with some of the most common ones being birth control, regulating menstrual cycles, reducing heavy or painful periods, and controlling hormonal balances such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Before initiating contraception however, it is important to first have a detailed discussion with your doctor to determine which contraceptive suits your health profile and lifestyle.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of contraception available.
- Combined Oral Contraceptives/Oral Contraceptive Pill: Birth Control Pills Singapore
Otherwise known as ‘the pill,’ this is the most frequently prescribed form of contraception.
Administered daily, the pill primarily contains 2 hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
It works by preventing ovulation and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and is used consistently and correctly.
Other advantages of oral contraceptives also include:
- Regulation of menstrual cycles
- Reduction of excessively painful periods
- Relief from period-related pain
- Improvement in acne
However, certain side effects may be present with some women. Some of these include nausea, headaches, intermittent spotting, bleeding, and breast tenderness. The pill may also increase the risk of blood clots, partiuclarly in women who are obese (BMI > 25) or heavy smokers.
- Hormonal Contraceptive Patch
The patch is the first alternative for women who find it difficult to consume the pill on a daily basis.
The patch is similar to the pill in terms of contents and effectiveness. However, instead of consuming it, it is usually administered on the lower belly, upper arm, buttocks, or above the chest (away from the breast) and is changed every 7 days.
Each cycle uses 3 patches over the course of 3 weeks, followed by a patch-free week, during which regular bleeding will occur.
- Progesterone Only Pill/ Mini-Pill: Contraceptive Pills Singapore
For women who are breastfeeding or are unable to use the combined oral contraceptive pill, the progesterone only pill could be a viable alternative.
However, for the contraceptive to be effective, the pill must be taken at the same time everyday. The contraception is no longer guaranteed if it is consumed more than 3 hours from the time you have initially consumed it, and additional protection may be required in this case.
This pill also contains similar side effects to the oral contraceptive such as intermittent spotting or bleeding, even with correct use.
- Hormonal Injections
Apart from consumption of tablets, some women may prefer to use hormonal injections as an alternative. The hormone is administered in the upper arm muscle once every 3 months to ensure effective contraception throughout.
It is one of the more effective contraceptives in this list, having an effectiveness rate of more than 99% and is also suitable for breastfeeding women or women who are unable to consume the oral contraceptive pill.
However, some disadvantages of the injection include longer delay to return to fertility and irregular bleeding.
- Birth Control Implant
Similar to the injection, the birth control implant is another medium-term contraceptive option. However, instead of an injection, a small, rod-shaped implant that contains synthetic progesterone is used. It is inserted just under the skin of the upper arm, near the bicep area.
The implant is able to provide 3 years of contraception with an effectiveness of 99.8% at preventing pregnancy. Additionally, the contraceptives begin to work after just 24 hours of insertion if implanted within the first 5 days of menses.
Insertion can be done in your doctor’s office during regular consultations as well as removed easily when the need arises, returning fertility at a quicker than usual pace.
Some side effects of using this method include irregular bleeding, acne, nausea, and headaches.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD)
IUDs are a long-term contraception option and can be found in two forms: progesterone-releasing, or plain copper IUDs. Depending on the type, the IUD is able to provide effective contraception of up to 3 – 5 years.
These small, T-shaped frames are inserted via the cervix and sit inside the cavity to prevent ovulation and implantation of the egg in the womb lining.
Before insertion, your doctor may recommend a pregnancy test and STD test to minimise any potential complications with the IUD.
- Barrier Contraception
While all the methods listed above are very effective at preventing pregnancy, none offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
To reduce this from happening, barrier contraceptives such as male or female condoms can be a viable option. However, failure rates can be high due to errors such as slippage, breakage and inappropriate use of lubricant.
In fact, the probability of pregnancy with condoms can be as high as 15%, making it the least effective method of contraception in comparison to the others.
Read more about long-term contraception.
While choosing the right one may be challenging, we are here to assist. Our healthcare partners’ dedicated team of female doctors can review your individual health profile and help decide which method of contraception suits you best.
Book a session, and speak to our experts today!
Contact our partner clinics at +65 6976 5023 or drop us an email at email@example.com to book an appointment today!