In this section
Fit & Forget Contraception
also known as LARC (Long-acting reversible contraception).
Contraception doesn't have to be about remembering to take the pill every day.
Here are a few options worthy of a closer look, including the what, how, benefits and pre-conceptions.
- A small copper or plastic T shaped device which sits in the uterus (your womb)
- A copper coil works straight away and lasts for 5-10 years, whilst a hormonal coil works for up to 6 years.
- A small procedure is needed to fit this device which usually takes about 15 minutes. You may experience a little discomfort when it is fitted, similar to period pain, but it will only last for a short time.
- Please see our coils page for more information
- A small flexible rod (about the size of a hairgrip) that is placed under your skin in your arm
- Lasts for up to 3 years
- A small needle is used to give you a local anaesthetic which will numb the skin. The implant is then inserted into the numbed part of your arm so you shouldn't feel any pain, just a bit of movement under your skin. This whole process takes just a few minutes.
- A single injection usually given in your buttock which takes just a few seconds
- Lasts for 13 weeks, so you will need to get the injection repeated every 13 weeks.
Benefits of fit and forget contraception
Will I gain weight?
There is no evidence to suggest that you will gain weight with a coil or implant. Some people may experience weight gain with the injection. This is associated more with young people who are already overweight.
It is quite normal for young people to gain weight and see changes to the shape of their body from puberty up into their late teens. People can often think that contraception has caused this when the weight gain is normal for them.
Are there side effects? (Mood changes, change to periods, spots / acne changes)
Some people don't experience any side effects. So if your friend does, it doesn't mean you will also,
Some people experience some side effects such as mood changes, irregular bleeding and changes to your skin. These are most common in the first three months as your body is getting used to the new hormone.
This usually settles on its own, so its worth sticking with it!
Will it hurt?
Everyone is different.
A small needle prick for giving the injection or a local anaestheic can sting, but it's only for a few seconds.
You may experience a little discomfort when a coil is fitted, similar to period pain - but it will only last for a short time.
What if I am under 16 years old?
You can still talk to us confidentially about getting contraception. This means what you tell us is private, but it can be helpful for you to talk about things with your parents or another trusted adult.
Where can I get contraception?
Contraception is free and is available from:
- Sexual Health Clinics, including young people's clinics*
- Your GP Surgery
- You can also talk to a pharmacist for advice.
*The Sexual health service is not commissioned to offer appointments to people who require a coil fit for non-contraceptive reasons. For example if you need a coil fitting for heavy periods or HRT and you or your partner has had a sterilization/ vasectomy procedure in the past, we will be unable to provide this. Please contact your GP to arrange the fitting elsewhere.
Don't forget to use a condom as well, as this is the most effective way of protecting you and your partner from STIs. Condoms are free from clinics, Get it On sites and via our condoms by post service.
If you've had unprotected sex, you can request a free STI test kit online.