• Contraception 101

There are a wide range of choices - both irreversible and reversible - when couples are looking for effective forms of contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies and complications. Tubal ligation and vasectomy are both irreversible methods that involve surgery. But for those keen for a long-term but reversible method, consider the following options:

Hormonal Implant is a matchstick-sized rod inserted under the skin and lasts up to three years. Side effects include weight gain, breast tenderness. and headaches.

lntra-Uterine Device (IUD) is a small T-shaped device placed into the uterus. There are two types of IUD — plastic (such as those made by Mirena), which contain a low dose of hormones similar to those used in birth control pills, and copper, which do not release hormones. Such devices are convenient and last for three to five years. Risks include infection and expulsion. The copper device may cause periods to be heavy and painful, while the plastic type tends to be associated with lighter and less painful periods.

Oral Contraception is an appropriate method if you prefer to take pills. Oral contraceptive pills contain hormones that prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries but need to be taken daily - without fail. They will help to reduce pre- menstrual symptoms, induce regular periods and prevent ovarian cysts, but may increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, especially for women aged 40 years and above.

Hormonal RingNuvaRing is a new alternative to the pill and is now available in selected clinics. It’s a flexible ring- shaped device that is inserted into the vagina once every three weeks then removed to allow a break of one week during which the period will occur. While inserted, it releases hormones continuously and suppresses the release of eggs from the ovaries.

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