Contraception - the options

• The combined oral contraceptive pill, which contains the
   hormones oestrogen and progestogen, is very effective
   and must be taken daily. Occasionally, bleeding can occur

• The progestogen-only or 'mini-pill' is another form of oral
   contraception and must also be taken daily. 'Spotting' or
   irregular bleeding can occur.

• Hormone injections contain progestogen only and provide
   contraception for 12 weeks, after which time another
   injection must be given.

• Hormone implants contain progestogen only and are
   effective for 5 years; unlike injections, implants can be
   removed at any time. Bleeding can, however, be irregular.

• The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is inserted
   at a clinic under medical supervision. Periods can be
   heavy after insertion. The device is usually replaced
   after 5 years.

• The intrauterine system (IUS) is an intrauterine
   contraceptive that contains the hormone levonorgestrel.
   In addition to providing contraception, it also helps to
   lighten heavy periods.

• The diaphragm and cervical cap are inserted before sexual
   intercourse. They should both be used in conjunction with
   a spermicide.

• Sterilization involves an operation. In a woman, this
   involves closing off the tubes that carry the egg from the
   ovary to the womb. This form of contraception should be
   considered permanent.