More options for Women’s Health
August 31, 2020
National Women’s Health Week runs from 7 – 11 September and includes activities and awareness-raising to improve the wellbeing and health literacy of women throughout Australia.
Our newest GP, Dr Hayley Glasson, used this opportunity to create awareness about the range of contraceptive options now available for women in this article for 2515 Magazine:
The release of the first combined oral contraceptive pill (“the pill”) in Australia in 1961 revolutionised women’s healthcare. The pill has many advantages, but it is not the best option for all women.
Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
A number of long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) options are now available, and provide increased reliability, cost-effectiveness, ease of use and other health benefits.
Depo-Provera is a progestogen-only contraceptive which needs to be injected every 12 weeks. A number of women find that they get lighter periods with extended use. There can be a delay to return to fertility, and it is considered 94-99.8% effective.
The most reliable LARCs are the contraceptive implant (Implanon) and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Implanon is a small flexible rod placed under the skin, which releases a low dose of progestogen, and typically lasts for three years. Once inserted, they are 99.9% effective, and the effects are rapidly reversed when the implant is removed.
Hormonal IUDs include Mirena and the latest option available in Australia, Kyleena. Both are small T-shaped devices that are fitted inside the uterus by a specially trained GP or Gynaecologist and release a very low dose of a progestogen over 5 years. Mirena is also available on the PBS as a treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding, and both are considered around 99.8% effective for contraception. The Kyleena has a lower dose of hormone and a smaller insertion device, which may be preferable in women who have not had previous pregnancies.
For those who want a hormone-free LARC, the Copper IUD is an option which lasts for 5-10 years.
Contraception is a highly individual choice, and some options may not be suitable for you. To find out which is the best option, have a chat with your GP. Bulli Medical Practice offers all forms of LARCs.