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Contraception choices for women

Women have a wide choice of contraceptive choices, all of which are free in the UK, so different options should be explained to patients, writes Maggie Cooper

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

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