There are many different contraceptive methods available, and different methods suit people at different times of their lives. The information on different methods of contraception listed in the left hand menu will help you and your partner to decide on the method of contraception most suited to you both. It gives details of most of the available methods, explains how they work, how effective they are, and the main advantages and disadvantages. You can ask your GP, practice nurse or family planning clinic for more information on any method you are interested in. Information is also available from fpa’s helpline (0845 310 1334).
Most contraceptives need to be prescribed. If your general practice does not provide all the methods then contact a family planning clinic (click here for details of clinics in Bolton). If you would prefer not to see your own GP or practice nurse about contraception you can go to another general practice or family planning clinic for contraception.
You can buy male or female condoms and spermicides without going to a doctor or clinic. For most women, spermicides on their own are not recommended as a reliable contraceptive. You can also buy diaphragms and caps at a pharmacy, if you know your size. There is a condom service for young people in Bolton (click here to find out details)
Research about the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer and hormonal contraception is complex and contradictory. Current research suggests that all users of hormonal contraception appear to have a small increase in risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to nonusers of hormonal contraception. Further research is ongoing. All risks and benefits should be discussed with your doctor or nurse.
No method of contraception is perfect. If you think you could be pregnant you should see your doctor or practice nurse as soon as possible to find out. They can talk to you about good pregnancy care, such as taking folic acid and stopping smoking, if you want to be pregnant. They can also talk to you about what you can do if you don't want to be pregnant.
If you have had sex without using contraception or think your method might have failed there are two emergency methods you can use.
The emergency hormonal pill – must be taken up to 3 days (72 hours) after sex. It is more effective, the earlier it is taken after sex.
An IUD – must be fitted up to 5 days after sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have released an egg (ovulation).
Ask your doctor or nurse about gettng emergency pills in advance, just in case you need them.
Sexually transmitted infections
Most methods of contraception do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
Male and female condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can help protect against sexually transmitted infections. Diaphragms and caps may also protect against some sexually transmitted infections. If you can, avoid using condoms containing Nonoxinol 9 (spermicidally lubricated), as this does not protect against HIV and may even increase the risk of infection.
Methods of contraception
The pages on the left hand menu offer specific information on all methods of contraception.