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Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

 

Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) devices are birth control methods that provide effective contraception for an extended period of time. You do not have to think about contraception on a daily basis or every time you have sex, as with the oral contraceptive pill or condoms. Long-acting reversible contraception is highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies, and can be stopped if you decide you want to get pregnant.

 

Long-acting reversible contraceptives include the following:

 

  • Implants – these are inserted under the skin and last for up to 3 years.
  • Intrauterine devices – these are inserted into the womb and last for 5 to 10 years before they need replacing.
  • Contraceptive injections – these work up to 12 weeks before been repeated.

Currently all LARC methods are for women, as there are no long-acting reversible contraceptives designed for men yet.Make sure you have sufficient information from your doctor or nurse before you decide which long-acting reversible contraceptive is right for you. Information should be verbal as well as written. You’ll need to check with your doctor or nurse as particular contraceptive methods may not be suitable for you. Your doctor will enquire about your general health, medical problems, periods and previously used contraceptives. Before starting any method your doctor will need to check that you are not pregnant.

Some long-acting reversible contraceptives take effect immediately, depending on when in you cycle you start using them. Other methods may not be immediate in which case additional contraception may be required.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms can help protect against these infections and your doctor or nurse can provide more information on this.All the methods mentioned in this leaflet can generally be used by: 

  • Women of any age
  • Women who have never had children
  • Women who are breastfeeding, or recently have had a child
  • Women who recently had an abortion
  • Women who are overweight
  • Women with diabetes 
  • Women with epilepsy
  • Women who suffer from migraines
  • Women who can’t use oestrogen containing contraceptives 
  • Women who are HIV-positive

 

Copper IUDs

IUS

Progestogen-only

Implants (Nexplanon)

 

injections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is it?

A small plastic and

A small plastic device

An injection that slowly

A small, flexible rod inserted

 

copper device which is

which is inserted into

releases progestogen

under the skin that slowly

 

inserted into the womb

the womb and slowly

 

releases progestogen

 

 

releases progestogen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does it work?

Prevents fertilization and

Mainly prevents

Prevents ovulation

Prevents ovulation

 

inhibits implantation of

implantation of egg

 

 

 

egg in the womb

and sometimes

 

 

 

 

prevents fertilization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long does it

5-10 years depending on

5 years

Repeat injections every

3 years

last?

type

 

8-12 weeks depending on

 

 

 

 

type

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chances of getting

Less than 2% of women

Less than 1% of

Less than 0.4% over a 2

Less than 0.1% of women

pregnant?

over a 5 year period

women over a 5 year

year period

over 3 year period

 

 

period

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could it affect

No

No

It may take up to a year

No

chances of getting

 

 

for fertility to return to

 

pregnant in the

 

 

normal

 

future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affect on periods?

Periods may become

For the first 6 months

Periods often stop, but

Period pains may improve.

 

heavier or more painful

there may be irregular

some women experience

Periods may stop, or

 

 

bleeding or spotting.

irregular or persistent

become longer or irregular

 

 

Periods often become

bleeding

until removal of implant

 

 

less frequent or stop

 

 

 

 

after a year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unwanted effects?

Risk of ectopic

Risk of ectopic

May gain weight (2-3kg

May develop acne

 

pregnancy is higher if a

pregnancy is higher if

over a year)

 

 

woman falls pregnant

a woman falls

May cause thinning of the

 

 

while using an IUD.

pregnant while using

bones which is reversible

 

 

 

an IUS.

on stopping

 

 

 

May develop acne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checks needed

Need check-up after first

The same checks

None – need to regularly

None.

whilst using LARC

period after insertion.

apply as for the IUD.

receive repeat injections.

 

 

Regularly feel for threads

See doctor or nurse if

See you doctor or nurse if

See you doctor or nurse if

 

of IUD to ensure it is still

you experience any

you experience any

you experience any

 

in place.

problems or want to

problems related to the

problems related to the

 

See doctor/nurse if you

have it removed.

injection.

implant, want to stop using it

 

experience any problems

 

 

or have it removed.

 

or want to have it

 

 

 



 
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