A to Z of Contraception

From overdue periods to patches - we've got it covered!

When it comes to contraception, the list is endless. If you’re new to this whole malarkey (or even if you’re a regular user) it can be difficult to know who to speak to, which one to use and how to actually get it. To help you feel slightly more in-the-know about contraception, we’ve put together an A to Z breakdown of contraception, which touches on methods, emotions and just about everything else that comes along with it!

Anxiety – When choosing the right contraception for you, there can often be a whirlwind of anxiety and emotions that come along with it and feeling like you don’t know where to start can be scary.

But what if I’m not having sex – Not all contraception is prescribed as a form of birth control. Many women often go onto the pill to manage their periods, hormones, and acne as well as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PMS and Endometriosis.

Condoms – If all fails, we always know condoms have our back. Some people use these as their only form of contraception, and others prefer to double up with things like the pill or the implant, to protect against STI’s. An important note to make is to NEVER double up with a female condom, as using both can cause either to split or break, making them ineffective.

Diaphragm – This is a small, silicone dome that women can place into the vagina before having sex and remove after. The diaphragm works as a form of barrier contraception, which stops the sperm from reaching the egg.

Estrogen – Ethinylestradiol is an estrogen medication that is used in many forms of birth control. It is often used alongside other medications, like Cilest and Rigevidon, but can also be used on its own. Estrogen is a collection of female hormones, and an imbalance can cause weight gain, acne and fatigue.

Female condoms – These little things not only work as a form of birth control that is 95% effective, but also protect against STI’s, including herpes and HIV – bring back the female condom!

Getting the implant – The implant is a popular form of contraception amongst women and is a small, plastic rod that is placed under the skin. It can last for up to 3 years and works by slowly realising progesterone and is more than 99% effective!

Hormones – These little buggers often leave us feeling rather rubbish. They play with our weight, skin and emotions and can often be difficult to control when first starting puberty. After a few years they tend to calm down and can also be controlled through forms of contraception, such as the pill.

IUB Ballerine – This shiny new IUB has recently burst into the spotlight. The Ballerine IUB is a hormone-free IUB that is inserted into the uterus, it has a unique design consisting of 17 copper pearls, and is half the size of the traditional intrauterine devices!

Judgment- When it comes to contraception there can often be a lot of judgment. It is common for younger girls to often favour the pill, because it’s one of the most talked about. Not as many young girls are using alternative options, such as female condoms and contraceptive coils etc.

Kissing – Contrary to popular belief (or what the popular girls in the playground told you) you can’t get pregnant from kissing. This however doesn’t come without any risks. You’ve got to be wary of those pesky cold sores, which are caused by the Herpes virus and are really contagious – but are often very easily treatable with over the counter medicine.

Lowdown – The world’s first reviewing platform for contraception. The website explores reviews, side effects and experiences, and is on an empowering mission to change the way women choose their contraception.

Mini pill – The progestogen only pill (the mini pill) must be taken at the same time every day, without any breaks. It is 99% effective and does not contain oestrogen, instead it contains a hormone that is very similar to one of a women’s own.

Natural – Withdrawal is a method of contraception that works when you pull the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. It prevents pregnancy by trying to avoid semen getting into the vagina, another natural method can be abstaining from sex altogether.

Overdue period – Your period can be late for a number of reasons, it can be affected by different time zones, weight, sleep, stress and a variety of other things. It’s important to remember that a late period doesn’t always mean pregnancy.

Patch – The patch is not very commonly recognised, and can often confuse people when they see it – in fact, a lot of people often mistake it for a nicotine patch. It sticks onto your skin and releases the hormones oestrogen and progestogen into your bloodstream.

Quick fix – When contraception fails, the Morning After Pill is an effective form of emergency contraception and gives you 72 hours to get to the pharmacist.

Ring – The vaginal ring is a small soft plastic ring that you place inside your vagina for several weeks at a time, it works by steadily releasing hormones oestrogen and progesterone into the bloodstream.

STI – It’s important to get regular STI check-ups, and it is encouraged that you do so after every different sexual partner. Most STI’s are treatable and do go away. However there are some STI’s, such as herpes and HIV, that can be controlled but never cured, which is why it’s important to be safe when having sex!

Tracking apps – Technology has come so far, we are now able to control our fertility from our phones – mental. This is a popular choice for many women but must be used correctly for it to be completely effective.

UTI- These are the WORST thing in the world- am we right? UTI’s can be caused by sexual intercourse, and unfortunately, some girls are very prone to them. They’re often easily treatable with a course of antibiotics, however if left can develop into more serious illnesses like kidney infections, which in some cases can even mean hospitalisation! Common signs of UTI’s are strong smelling urine, needing to wee more often than normal and pain or burning whilst urination.

Virginity – Losing your virginity can be a scary time, and it’s important to only do it when you are ready. But being prepared with your contraception is one of the best things you can do and puts you in control of your own body.

Where can I get contraception – Most forms of contraception are available from GP surgeries, sexual health clinics, contraception clinics and many more. In the UK most contraception is free of charge and often easily accessible. Some forms that are not as popular are slightly harder to get hold of.

X and Y chromosomes – These sex chromosomes are what got us all talking in the first place!

Zzzz sleep – Contraception can definitely be a really tricky decision to make, but it’s really not worth losing any sleep over – you will find the perfect one for you!

This guide was brought to you by The Lowdown. We are the world’s first contraception review platform, providing real-life experiences from thousands of reviews collected from our community of men and women.

Why not leave us a review of your contraceptive experience? Whether you’ve got good things to say about the Mirena coil or had trouble with implant removal, we want to hear about it! Tell us about your experience and help people around the world find the right method for them.