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Contraception choices for women

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Most women need to use contraception for around 30 years if they want to avoid pregnancy. Many factors influence the choice of contraceptive used, including effectiveness, safety, positive and negative side effects and acceptability of use. Health status and situation in life are also important considerations.1

Contraception is free in the UK.Condoms can be obtained from contraception and sexual health clinics and some GP surgeries. The ideal contraceptive should be effective and easy to use; improve sex life by reducing worry about failure; not be required during intercourse. It should also help with vaginal dryness; control problematic menstrual symptoms, making periods lighter, shorter and less painful, with fewer hysterectomies and decreased rate of gynaecological pathology; and not cause systemic side effects, such as raised blood pressure.2

By the time women have reached their late 40s, only 11 per cent are using oral contraception. This may be due to personal choice, or because the various risk factors of oral contraception have developed, limiting the choice. Women in their 40s are still choosing sterilisation. Around 50 per cent of couples aged 40 and over use sterilisation as their method of choice. Women over 40 should be advised that no method of contraception is contraindicated by age alone.3

Menstruation


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