What is temporary contraception?
Temporary contraception refers to methods and measures used to prevent pregnancy for a limited duration without permanently affecting a woman’s reproductive capabilities. These methods are designed to offer flexibility and control, allowing individuals or couples to decide when they want to conceive.
There are various types of temporary contraception, both hormonal and non-hormonal, providing individuals with choices that suit their preferences and health considerations. Common methods birth control pills, patches, injections, condoms, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Our experienced gynaecologists are here to guide you through the diverse array of temporary contraception methods, ensuring you have the knowledge and support to make decisions aligned with your reproductive goals.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a contraceptive device placed within the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is known as a long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) that provides birth control for a number of years (5-8 years) depending on the type. Generally speaking, IUD's work by restricting the sperm's ability to reach and fertilise the egg.
IUD's are a small T-shaped piece of flexible plastic with often unnoticeable strings attached for removal purposes. The thin string hangs down into your vagina, so you can check that the IUD is still in place at any time. Inserting an IUD is a quick and simple non-surgical procedure that can be done at our gynaecological suites in Brisbane. During the procedure, a speculum is inserted into your vagina to open your cervix. Then the IUD is folded down and gently inserted into your vagina, through your cervix, and into your uterus. It then expands and sits in place.
The procedure for removing an IUD is simple yet does need to be performed by a health professional. To remove Mirena™, your gynaecologist will use an instrument to grasp the device’s strings, then gently pull. The IUD’s arms will fold up as its removed from the uterus.
Removal of an IUD can be done at any time during your menstrual cycle and can actually be a bit easier when you’re on your period.
*IUDs do not protect against HIV or STIs, so make sure to use condoms to be fully protected from infection.
*Fertility returns to normal once removed.
Many women choose an IUD because it’s long lasting, low maintenance, and suitable for nearly every woman.
Advantages of using an IUD include:
- It can be used when breastfeeding
- It still works no matter which other medications you’re taking
- It’s long lasting (5 years)
- It’s cost-effective
- It’s low maintenance
- Women return to their normal fertility quickly after its removal
- It can help reduce heavy periods
When deciding to have an IUD. In particular, an IUD cannot typically be used if you:
- Are or may be pregnant.
- Currently have or in the past have had pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), unless a normal pregnancy occurred after the infection left.
- Currently have an untreated genital infection.
- In the past 3 months have had a significant pelvic infection following a pregnancy.
- Are exposed to multiple sexual partners directly or indirectly through a partner with multiple sexual partners; If chances of infection are high, a Mirena IUD cannot be inserted.
- Experience issues with immunity and the immune system.
- Use or abuse drugs that are administered through the vein.
- Have or a suspected to have uterine or cervical cancer.
- Experience unexplained bleeding from the vagina.
- Currently have a liver tumour or liver disease.
- Currently have or have had any form of cancer that is sensitive to the female hormone, progestin (e.g. breast cancer).
- Already have an IUD in their uterus.
- Have a uterus with condition that changes the shape of its cavity (such as a large fibroid tumour)
- Are allergic to silicone, silica, polyethylene, levonorgestrel, iron oxide or barium sulphate.
What IUD is right for you?
Northside Gynaecology provides multiple options:
In Australia, one hormone-releasing IUD available is Mirena™. Mirena™ IUD is an option that can prevent pregnancy for up to 8 years with over 99% effectiveness. It is a viable option for those who experience heavy periods, with an FDA-approval to treat heavy menstrual bleeding for up to 5 years due to its effective hormone reservoir. That being said, you can choose to have it removed sooner if your circumstances change. Mirena™ can be used by women who have or have not had a baby, and it can be removed by your healthcare provider anytime if you change your mind or want to get pregnant.
Mirena™ works in two ways:
- Thickening mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching an egg
- Thinning the lining of the uterus to partially suppress ovulation
How Much Does It Cost?
Mirena™ is listed on Australia’s PBS, so the government subsidises the cost of $30 if you have a Medicare card. If you show your Concession Card at the pharmacy it will costs significantly less, as full price is around $170. Plus the cost of your visits with Northside Gynaecology to insert and remove.
Kyleena® IUD is an option that can prevent pregnancy for 5 years - the equivalent to 1,826 daily pills taken. It is over 99% effective for pregnancy prevention for this period, and 98.6% effective after the 5 years. The hormone reservoir releases the levonorgestrel hormone, which aids in inhibiting sperm movement.
How Much Does It Cost?
Kyleena® is listed on Australia’s PBS, so the government subsidises the cost to $30 if you have a Medicare card. If you have a Concession card, it costs significantly less, as full price is around $175, plus the cost of your visits to Northside Gynaecology to insert and remove.
A copper IUD incorporates a copper wire wrapped around the T-frame. It's 99.5% effective for up to 5 or 10 years, depending on the type of copper IUD used. Unlike the Mirena or Kyleena IUDs, it does not contain hormones to prevent sperm movement, but rather uses copper to produce an inflammatory reaction that repels sperm and eggs. Due to this, the usual menstrual period continues, and periods do not stop. Copper IUDs can be used as emergency contraception if inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
How Much Does It Cost?
This device will cost around $70-90, plus the cost of your visits to Northside Gynaecology insert and remove.
The combined oral contraceptive pill (generally rereferred to as 'the pill') is a type of contraceptive effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy. It is 93-99% effective in this through the release of specific hormones found naturally in the ovaries, oestrogen and progestin. By changing the natural level of hormones, the ovaries are restricted from releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle. Some versions of the pill only release progestin, the hormone that thickens the mucus around the cervix, restricting sperm movement into the uterus.
Other benefits of using the pill can include:
- Skipping a period
- Lessen iron deficiency (anaemia)
- Lessen acne
- More consistent, lighter, and less painful periods
- Minimise symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
- Minimise risk of serious infections in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus
- Minimise symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis
- Reduce risk of uterine, ovarian, and bowel cancer
There are some possible side effects that can occur with taking the pill. These include:
- Changes in the menstrual cycles can be incurred such as irregular bleeding, missed periods or extra bleeding (spotting)
- Changes in vaginal discharge
- Nausea and mood changes
- Worsening of headaches, especially if the pill contains oestrogen
- Breast tenderness and weight gain
How do I use the pill? Follow packet instructions and take one around the same time daily. Most pills come in 28-day packets with both hormone and placebo sugar pills. The sugar pills are incorporated for habit purposes.
*The pill does not protect against HIV or STIs.
*The pill must be prescribed by a health care provider.