Long Acting and Reversible Contraception (LARC)
LARCs (also known as lasting and reliable contraception) can be an alternative to the pill and may suit some people better
- What is a LARC?
LARC methods of contraception are:
- Intrauterine Device (IUD, also known as the Coil)
- Intrauterine System (IUS, similar to a Coil)
- Are they effective?
LARCs are the most effective methods of contraception and are also reversible, meaning that once you stop using that method your fertility returns.
The contraceptive implant is over 99% effective meaning less than 1 woman in 1000 will get pregnant in one year. LARC methods are more effective than barrier methods (e.g. condoms and femidoms) and oral contraceptives (the pill).
- How do they work?
The implant will be fitted by a doctor or nurse into the inside of your upper arm with the use of local anaesthetic and will only take a few minutes to do. The contraceptive effects will last for three years, although you can choose to take it out before and your fertility will return to normal once the implant is removed.
The injection will last between 8 and 13 weeks depending on the type of injection you choose and will be administered by either a doctor or a nurse. Your fertility may take longer to return as the effects of the injection wear off once you stop using it.
The IUD (coil) will be fitted by either a doctor or a nurse and the procedure takes between 10-15 minutes. Once fitted it can stay in between 5-10 years depending on the type, and once taken out by a doctor or a nurse your fertility will return to normal.
The IUS (hormonal coil) is fitted in the same way as the IUD by either a doctor or a nurse. Once fitted it can be left in for up to 5 years, and can be taken out earlier if you want and your fertility will return to normal as soon as it is removed.
- Are they easy to use?
LARCs are very convenient. Once fitted, there is nothing to remember each day - it just works for you and you get on with life.
Every method of contraception has its advantages and drawbacks so it is important to speak with a doctor or nurse to choose the method that is right for you.
Whilst LARCs are a great form of contraception they don't prevent STIs so always double up with a condom alongside your contraception. Also make sure you have regular STI tests if you change partner or have more than one partner.
If you live in Hampshire you can order free condoms or a free chlamydia test kit:
- Where can I find out more about LARCs?
For more information on contraception choices speak to a GP (family doctor) or visit a local sexual health service.
Alternatively have a look at these sites for more information on LARC methods of contraception: