Contraception is used for many reasons, from preventing unwanted pregnancy, to managing menstrual cycles and various health conditions.
Different people may choose to use different methods depending on their circumstances, so it is important not to make assumptions on why someone might choose to use contraception, or to judge them for the type of contraception method they choose to use.
First of all, what is contraception?
Contraception refers to the intentional use of artificial methods, various devices, medication, or surgeries to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Some contraceptive barrier methods, such as condoms, are used to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
In Australia, there are many contraception methods available:
- Long Acting Reversible Contraception methods, such as contraceptive implants and hormonal IUDs
- Short Acting Contraception methods, such as the contraceptive injection, vaginal ring, and oral pills
- Barrier methods such as internal condoms, external condoms and diaphragms
- Permanent methods such as vasectomy and tubal ligation
You can have a read of their correct use and effectiveness in a previous blog post we wrote, at this link.
So, what are the main reasons people use contraception?
- Most commonly, contraception is known for preventing unplanned pregnancies.
Different contraception methods work in different ways, and have different efficacy rates. For example, Long Acting Reversible Contraception methods like the IUD and implant are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, while emergency contraception pills are around 85% effective.
Our previous blog post discusses various contraception methods and their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.
- Contraception can also help you space your children.
People may choose to plan their families, by having more control of the spacing in between childbirths. These may be for health reasons, lifestyle choices, for financial reasons or otherwise.
- Hormonal contraception can be great for managing periods and associated issues.
People may choose to use hormonal contraception options to manage period pain, cramps, bloating, breast soreness, menstrual migraines and the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Hormonal contraception may also be used to regulate their menstrual cycles or skip their periods when convenient.
Common hormonal contraception options include the pill, implant and hormonal IUD (eg the Mirena or Kyleena in Australia).
- Hormonal contraception can also be useful in managing other health conditions. For example, acne, iron deficiency, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, cysts, bone thinning, and unwanted hair growth.
- A combination of the above!
It is important to note, that most contraception methods do NOT provide protection against STIs, so the use of barrier methods as well as getting regular STI tests are key in ensuring STI prevention. Barrier methods like condoms can be useful in promoting safer sex and preventing STIs. These can be used for oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
It’s always a good idea to discuss your contraception options with your GP or sexual health nurse. You can also contact us at 1800 My Options to find a service near you – call 1800 696 784 (weekdays, 9am – 5pm).
The Better Health Channel has a very useful factsheet on various Contraception Choices.
You can also view our video explaining the various contraception options available in Victoria.
Benefits of Contraception Use, New Zealand Family Planning 2013.
Contraception Choices, Better Health Channel 2022.
Contraception, 1800 My Options 2022