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HomeDifferences between hormonal and non-hormonal contraception

Differences between hormonal and non hormonal contraception

In Australia, unplanned pregnancy will face one in two women in their lifetime. In more than half of these cases, one form of contraception was being used at the time and failed to work as intended.

One way to reduce the chance of contraceptive failure is by switching to a reliable long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) method. MSI Australia offers a full range of LARC options which can be sorted into two categories: hormonal and non-hormonal.

Let’s explore the fundamental differences between these options to help you choose the best birth control method for your situation.

How does hormonal contraception work?

Hormonal contraception works by altering the body’s chemistry. With a process that varies based on the specific hormones used, hormonal contraception can perform the following actions:

  • Prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs
  • Thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg
  • Prevent implantation by thinning the lining of the uterus

Finding the type of hormonal contraception that is most suitable for you can sometimes require trial-and-error to understand which side effects may affect you. However, the effectiveness of each variant is equally matched, and the expert team at MSI Australia will be able to recommend a hormonal contraception option that is best for you.

What are some hormonal contraception options?

There are several hormonal contraception options available. The most common of which are birth control pills, a daily pill that is not always suitable for those with a busy or less predictable schedule.

Other hormonal options that require less regular administration include:

  • Stick-on patches applied weekly
  • Vaginal rings replaced monthly
  • Three-monthly injections
  • Implants placed below the skin or into the uterus which last for several years

MSI Australia clinics offer a full range of LARC options including contraceptive injections, implants or rods, copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal intrauterine systems (IUS).

Emergency contraception

The emergency contraception pill or ‘the morning after pill’ is another form of hormonal birth control which can be taken if your normal birth control method fails (applicable for both hormonal or non-hormonal methods).

How does non-hormonal contraception work?

Non-hormonal contraception works as a barrier method. This means a physical barrier is created between the sperm and egg to prevent pregnancy. Other methods of contraception, such as behavioural methods (like the rhythm method) and permanent contraception are also classified as non-hormonal options.

What are some non-hormonal contraception options?

Non-hormonal contraception barrier methods include both male and female condoms that are 80% effective and can be purchased without a prescription. These methods also prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Other barrier methods include:

  • The sponge, which is soaked in spermicide then placed high in the vagina A cervical cap, shield, or diaphragm (requires a prescription).
  • A copper IUD that is placed in the uterus to naturally kill sperm (99% effective and lasts for up to 10 years).

For those who are confident they do not want to conceive in the future, two primary permanent contraception options are available:

  • Tubal ligation (commonly referred to as “having your tubes tied”) involves blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent the passage of eggs to the uterus.
  • The no-scalpel, open-ended vasectomy, a permanent solution for men and those with male reproductive functions.

How to choose the best method of contraception for you?

Choosing between a hormonal and non-hormonal contraception option comes down to three primary factors:

  1. Personal preferences
  2. Health considerations
  3. Your lifestyle

Some clients opt for non-hormonal contraception to avoid the various side effects that may be associated with hormonal methods. Others are influenced by lifestyle factors that require the prevention of STIs.

Busy clients may prefer a lower-maintenance option. You can either confirm which kind of contraception you’d like when you book with us, or you can discuss these options during your contraception consult.

Discuss your options with MSI Australia today

MSI Australia is the only national, independently accredited contraception provider with clients that are fully supported by team of expert clinicians and doctors who specialise in non-judgemental sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Book an appointment with us today to discuss your contraception options or get your preferred method.