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Benefits of alternative contraceptives

16th October 2019

For a long time, the contraceptive pill has been most women’s first choice of birth control. Whether you prefer a combined pill or a progestogen-only pill (also known as the mini pill), there are a number of effective brands for you to choose from (a wide range of which can be purchased from UK Meds). 

Although the pill is highly effective at preventing pregnancy, it doesn’t come without its shortfalls. And with women always looking for the contraceptive route that best suits them and their body, we thought we’d explore alternative hormonal contraceptives.

Available as a vaginal ring (NuvaRing) or hormonal patch (Evra Patch), alternative contraception refers to hormonal methods that are administered in a way other than an oral tablet. There are, of course, non-hormonal options (barrier methods, spermicide, menstrual tracking, to name a few) but these often leave room for errors or slip-ups and many women find peace of mind knowing they’re protected at all times.

Benefits of alternative contraceptives

1. You don’t have to think about it on a daily basis

The pill must be taken every day, at approximately the same time of day, to ensure it maintains effective. The pill is 99.9% effective, however in actual use (the way that most women use it in real life), the rate drops down to 92%. This is because pills can be forgotten or taken late and this increases your chance of getting pregnant.

Vaginal rings or hormone patches need only be changed every 7 days (for 3 consecutive weeks before having a 7 days break), meaning that you don’t need to be constantly worrying about them.

2. Sickness can’t affect them

Everyone gets ill from time to time and vomiting is never pleasant. But add to that the risk that your pill may not have been absorbed and you could be at risk of getting pregnant, and suddenly the whole thing seems much worse.

Another benefit to contraceptives that don’t come in an oral tablet form, is that the hormones continue to be administered in your body even if you get ill or suffer from vomiting, as they don’t rely on going through your digestive system.

3. They’re convenient

The pill is a great choice for a large number of women and many find that it suits their lifestyle just fine. But women who work erratic shifts, travel a lot or have a busy social calendar, may not find that remembering to take a tablet at the same time every day suits their lifestyle. To provide more flexibility, alternative contraceptive methods are a great choice.

4. They provide the same effectiveness as the pill

Both promising more than 99% effectiveness at protecting against unwanted pregnancy, the pill and the alternative methods (ring and patch) are very much the same in that way.

However, the pill does carry a risk of a decreased effectiveness figure, based on human error. Although the ring and patch can still be used incorrectly, they’re much easier to use and leave fewer gaps for mistakes. So in an actual real life scenario, the ring and patch are more effective than the pill.

5. There are usually fewer side effects

When you take the pill, your daily dose of hormones are released into your body as the pill makes its way through your digestive system. Your hormone levels therefore peak and trough throughout the day and this can increase the amount and severity of the side effects you experience.

Although the side effects for the ring and patch are very similar (headaches, bad skin, mood swings), the risk of experiencing these may be lower, due to the steady flow of hormone administration (as opposed to a fluctuating level).

Whether you find that you’re more suited to the contraceptive pill or an alternative contraceptive method, we have a wide range available at UK Meds that can be obtained using our prescription service.