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Birth Control

Our sexual health clinic offers birth control options and counselling.  Birth control methods available from the clinic include: the pill, the patch, the ring, Depo Provera (the injection) and emergency contraceptive pills.  They are available at reduced cost to those in financial need.

Condoms are available at our clinics and are free of charge.

If you are interested in receiving birth control from our clinic, you will meet one on one with a nurse to discuss the benefits, risks, myths and realities, effectiveness and instructions for use. 

Some questions to be ready for …

  • Have you had sex?
  • Are you currently having sex or planning on it?
  • When was the last time you had sex?
  • Do you use condoms?
  • Can you tell me about your sexual partner?

No worries, it’s a private discussion we don’t share your information with anyone (your family doctor/nurse practitioner, friends or family members)… even if they ask!

To book your appointment with the nurse, contact the Sexual Health Clinic

Birth Control & STIs

Condoms are the only form of birth control that will protect you against both pregnancy and STBBIs.  Keep in mind, the only way to completely prevent pregnancy or a STBBI is to abstain from sexual contact all together.

Commonly used Birth Control Methods:

The external condom also known as the male condom is a thin, disposable covering that is worn over the penis to prevent both pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). 

Effectiveness

  • 95% with perfect use
  • 78% with typical use

How to use

  • Put the condom on the tip of an erect penis, pinch air from the tip and roll down the shaft.

Benefits

  • Reduces risk, of STBBIs, reduces the risk of pregnancy, very accessible

Side Effects

  • Possible allergy to latex

Warnings

  • Non-latex are costly,
  • 2-8% of condoms will come off or break during sex;
  • if using a condoms with spermicide STI transmission risk is increased

Did it break, fall off or not go on before penetration?  If yes to any of these you might want to consider Emergency Contraception and/or STI testing?

For more information, visit SexandU - External Condoms

The Internal also known as the female condom is a barrier method of birth control used by females.  It is designed to be inserted into the vagina.  It is a soft, loose-fitting pouch with two flexible rings. 

Effectiveness: 

  • 98% with perfect use
  • 82% with typical use 

How to use:

  • Ensure the unattached ring lies within the closed end of the pouch
  • Insert the condom into the vagina just prior to or up to 8 hours before sex

Benefits

  • High level of pregnancy prevention
  • covers more genitals than the external condom therefore added STI protection,
  • made of polyurethane so no risk of latex allergy 

Side Effects

  • N/A 

Warnings

  • Costly
  • may be difficult to insert at first; may need practice
  • may slip during sex  

Female Internal Condom

If you experienced any trouble with using the internal/female condom you might want to consider Emergency Contraception and/or STI testing. 

For more information contact the Sexual Health Clinic and/or SexandU - Female Condoms.

The Emergency Contraceptive Pill also known as the “Morning After Pill” is an emergency measure to prevent pregnancy that can be taken after unprotected sex or failed birth control, such as when a condom breaks.

Effectiveness

  • 95% if used within the first 24 hours after unprotected sex
  • 85% if used between 24-48 hours after unprotected sex
  • 72% if used between 48-72 hours after unprotected sex 

How to use

  • Take a pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex 
  • Can be used for up to 5 days after unprotected sex

Benefits

  • Can be used after unplanned or unwanted sex 

Side Effects

  • Possible nausea, vomiting, dizziness, spotting/vaginal bleeding

Warnings

  • Not to be used as a regular method of birth control. If used more than once per cycle it is not as effective

 For more information check out: SexandU - Emergency Contraception.

The Intra-Uterine Device or IUD is a plastic, T-shaped device with copper wire wrapped around it.  It is a long-acting method of birth control that an remain in place for five years or more.

Effectiveness

  • 92% with perfect use 
  • 92% with typical use

How to use

  • To be prescribed and inserted into the uterus by a trained health care provider

Benefits

  • Concealed (nobody sees it), long-term, no hormones
  • Cost-effective for those who do not have health coverage

Side Effects

  • Irregular bleeding
  • heavier periods

Warnings

  • Slight risk of uterine perforation
  • infection risk is increased during the 20 days after insertion
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • does not protect against STIs  

 Intrauterine Device

If interested in receiving an IUD, please speak with a Public Health Nurse or your health care provider.

For more information, visit SexandU - Intra Uterine Device.

The Intra-Uterine System or IUS is a small plastic device containing progesterone that can stay in place for up to five years.

Effectiveness

  • 99.8% with perfect use
  • 99.8% with typical use

How to use

  • To be prescribed and inserted into the uterus by a trained health care provider

Benefits

  • Concealed (nobody sees it)
  • reversible
  • works for 3-5 years
  • cost effective

Side Effects

  • Light periods
  • many experience no periods after 1 year
  • depression
  • acne
  • headache
  • breast tenderness

Warnings

  • Need to be screened for infections prior to insertion
  • slight chance of uterine perforation
  • costly
  • does not protect against STIs

 Intrauterine System

If interested in receiving an IUS, please speak with a Public Health Nurse or your health care provider.

For more information, visit SexandU - Intra-Uterine System.

Injectable Contraception is a needle or a shot of progesterone that is given by a health care provider.

Effectiveness

  • 99.9% with perfect use
  • 99.6% with typical use

How to use

  • See your health care provider for an injection every 12 weeks

Benefits

  • Does not require daily attention
  • reliable
  • economical

Side Effects

  • Unpredictable bleeding
  • weight gain
  • headache
  • nausea
  • breast tenderness

Warnings

  • Decrease of bone density (might not be completely reversible)
  • may not be suitable for people with a history of depression or diabetes
  • does not protect against STIs
Missed Dose: Check with your prescribing health care provider or check out SOS.

For more information check out SexandU - Injectable Contraception.

The Patch is a medication patch that looks like a band-aid. It is worn on the skin.  

Effectiveness

  • 99.9% with perfect use
  •  90.0% with typical use

How to use

  • Apply patch to the abdomen, upper arm or back weekly

Benefits

  • Lighter/shorter periods
  • cycle regulation
  • less cramping
  • improves acne
  • do not need to remember daily

Side Effects

  • Unpredictable bleeding
  • nausea
  • breast tenderness
  • skin reactions at the site of application

Warnings

  • Slight risk of blood clots,
  • DO NOT use if you get migraines with aura
  • does not protect against STIs
  • may interact with other medications.

Missed Dose: Follow instructions on package insert or check out SOS

For more information, check out SexandU - The Patch

The Pill, also called the Oral Contraceptive Pill or Birth Control Pill is a daily pill that prevents pregnancy.

Effectiveness

  • 99.9% with perfect use 
  • 91.0% with typical use

How to use

  • Take a pill at the same time every day

Benefits

  • Lighter/shorter periods
  • cycle regulation
  • less cramping
  • improves acne

Side Effects

  • Irregular bleeding
  • nausea
  • breast tenderness

Warnings

  • Slight risk of blood clots
  • DO NOT use if you get migraines with aura
  • does not protect against STIs
  • may interact with other medication

Missed Dose: Check your package insert for directions or check out SOS.

From more information, check out SexandU - The Pill.

  • Male sterilization is called vasectomy.  A vasectomy is a surgical procedure where the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis are closed or blocked.
  • Female sterilization is called a tubal ligation.  Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that involves closing or blocking the fallopian tubes.  

Effectiveness

  • Highly effective

How to access

  • See your health care provider or contact the Sexual Health Clinic

Benefits

  • Safe
  • permanent
  • does not interfere with sex
  • no hormones
  • vasectomy allows male partner to assume responsibility for contraception

Side Effects

  • Possible post surgery related complications

Warnings

  • Not effective immediately
  • use another method of birth control for 3 months after the procedure.

Sterilization

For more information, check out SexandU - Tubal ligation/occlusion or vasectomy

The vaginal ring or The Ring. Is a soft plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina.  It slowly releases hormones to prevent pregnancy.

Effectiveness

  • 99.9% with perfect use
  • 90.0% with typical use

How to use

  • Insert 1 ring into the vagina and leave in for 3 weeks, remove for 1 week then insert a new ring and repeat

Benefits

  • Lighter/shorter periods
  • cycle regulation
  • less cramping
  • improves acne
  • no need to remember every day
  • concealed (nobody sees it)

Side Effects

  • Irregular bleeding/spotting
  • headache
  • nausea
  • breast tenderness
  • vaginal discharge

Warnings

  • Slight risk of blood clots
  • DO NOT use if you get migraines with aura
  • Does not protect against STIs
  • may interact with other medications.
Missed dose:  Follow directions on package insert or check out SOS.

For more information, check out SexandU - Vaginal Ring

METHOD

EFFECTIVENESS

HOW TO USE

BENEFITS

SIDE EFFECTS

WARNINGS

HORMONAL **

The Pill

 

P 99.9%

T 91.0 %

Take a pill at the same time every day

· Lighter/shorter periods

· Cycle regulation

· Less cramping

· Improves acne

· Irregular bleeding

· Nausea

· Breast tenderness

· Slight risk of blood clots

· DO NOT use if you get migraines with aura

· Does not protect against STIs

· May interact with other medications

Progestin Only Pill (POP)

P 99.9 %

T 89-94%

Take a pill at the same time every day

· Lighter/shorter periods (some women will have no period)

· Less cramping

· Can be used if estrogen can’t be taken

· Spotting in the 1st cycle

· Slight risk of headache, acne, bloating and breast tenderness

· Must be taken within a 3 hour time frame to be effective

· Does not protect against STIs

The Ring

P 99.9 %

T 91.0%

Insert 1 ring into the vagina and leave in for 3 weeks, remove for 1 week then insert a new ring and repeat

· Private

· Does not require daily attention

· Usually not noticeable during sex

 

· Irregular bleeding/spotting

· Headache

· Nausea

· Breast tenderness

· Vaginal discharge

· Slight risk of blood clots

· DO NOT use if you get migraines with aura

· Does not protect against STIs

· May interact with other medications

The Patch

P 99%

T 90.0%

Apply a patch to the abdomen, upper arm or back weekly

· Lighter/shorter periods

· Cycle regulation

· Less cramping

· Improves acne

· Do not need to remember daily

· Irregular bleeding

· Nausea

· Breast tenderness

· Skin reactions at the site of application

· Slight risk of blood clots

· DO NOT use if you get migraines with aura

· Does not protect against STIs

· May interact with other medications

Depo Provera (The Shot)

P 99.9%

T 99.6%

See your health care provider for an injection every 12 weeks

· Does not require daily attention

· Reliable

· Economical

· Unpredictable bleeding

· Weight gain

· Headache

· Nausea

· Breast tenderness

· Decrease of bone density (might not be completely reversible)

· May not be suitable for people with a history of depression or diabetes

· Does not protect against STIs

Intrauterine System (IUS)

P 99.8%

T 99.8

To be prescribed and inserted into the uterus by a trained health care provider

· Reversible

· Works for 3-5 years

· Light periods

· Many experience no periods after 1 year

· Depression

· Acne

· Headache

· Breast tenderness

· Need to be screened for vaginal infections prior to insertion as the risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is increased in the first 3 weeks.

· Slight chance of uterine perforation

· Costly

· Does not protect against STIs

Emergency Contraceptive Pill

P 95%

T 58-95%

Take a pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex

· Can be taken after unplanned or unprotected sex

· Nausea

· Vomiting

· Dizziness

· Fatigue

· Abdominal pain

· Works best the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex.

· Can work for up to 5 days but effectiveness decreases over time

· Consider a pregnancy test if no period 21 days after taking

· Does not protect against STIs

METHOD

EFFECTIVENESS

HOW TO USE

BENEFITS

SIDE EFFECTS

WARNINGS

NON-HORMONAL**

 

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

P 92.0%

T92.0%

To be prescribed and inserted into the uterus by a trained health care provider

· Private

· Long term

· No hormones

 

· Irregular bleeding

· Heavier periods

· Slight risk of uterine perforation

· Infection risk is increased during the 20 days after insertion

· Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

· Does not protect against STIs

Internal Condoms

P 98.0%

T 82.0%

Ensure the unattached ring lies within the closed end of the pouch

Insert the condom into the vagina just prior to or up to 8 hours before sex

· High level of pregnancy prevention

· Covers more genitals than the external condom, therefore added STI protection

· Made of polyurethane so no risk of latex allergy

· N/A

· Costly

· May be difficult to insert at first, may need practice

· May slip during sex

External condoms

P 95.0%

T 78.0%

Put the condom on the tip of an erect penis, pinch air from the tip and roll down the shaft.

· Reduces risk of STBBIs

· Reduces the risk of pregnancy

· Very accessible

· Possible allergy to latex

· Non latex are costly

· 2-8% of condoms will come off or break during sex

· If using condoms with a spermicide STI transmission risk is increased.

Tubal Ligation

99%

Surgery

· Safe

· Permanent

· Cost covered by OHIP

· Shoulder pain

· Lower abdominal or pelvic pain

· Bruising or bleeding from incisions

· Post-op nausea or light-headedness

 

· Risks associated with any surgery

· Does not protect against STIs

· Need to be sure

· If pregnancy occurs post tubal ligation 33% chance of ectopic pregnancy

· Reversal requires major surgery and is very expensive, not covered by OHIP

Vasectomy

99.9%

Surgery

· Safe

· Permanent

· Cost Covered by OHIP

· Localized pain

· Swelling

· Bruising

· Reversal can be done but not guaranteed, cost is not covered by OHIP

· Does not protect against STIs

· Complications are rare, but infection is possible

P= Perfect use

T= Typical use

** For more detailed information see link to Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Other Birth Control Methods:

The above methods may not be for you. If you would like to explore more options, please check out SexandU.

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