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Part 3 of our continued contraceptive review examines non-oral options

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Contraceptives Part 3

Non oral contraceptives


Last week I discussed oral contraceptives, this week i discuss non oral options.


Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring (also known as a contraceptive ring) is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases hormones progressively for three weeks. It is over 99% effective when used correctly. It is an option for women who have difficulty remembering to take an oral contraceptive daily. E.g., Nuvaring® (contains etonogestrel and ethinylestradiol.)


Inserting a vaginal ring is a straightforward process that can be done at home. First, wash hands thoroughly to maintain hygiene. Find a comfortable position, such as squatting or lying down, to make insertion easier. Pinch the ring between the thumb and index finger, then gently push it into the vagina. Aim for the upper third, like the insertion of a tampon. Once inside, the ring works by releasing hormones that prevent pregnancy. It needs to be left in place for 3 weeks, and then removed for 1 week to allow for menstruation.



Contraceptive patches are small adhesive patches that are stuck onto the skin, where they release hormones over a week. Parts of the body they can stick to include abdomen, buttocks, upper outer arm, or upper torso. A new patch is placed onto the skin every week for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week for menstruation. They are over 99% effective when used correctly. The side effects of patches and oral contraceptives are similar. Evra® patch (norelgestromin/ethinyl oestradiol) is a contraceptive patch available in Ireland.



Injectable contraceptives including the only brand available in Ireland which is medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera®) are given every three months and contain progestogen to prevent ovulation. This type of contraceptive is over 99% effective when used correctly. It can reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and has long-lasting pregnancy protection. One of the more severe side effects is loss of bone density if taken for an extended period.



Contraceptive implants contain progestogen and are implanted into the upper arm to provide long-lasting pregnancy protection. Once inserted, the implant can last for up to three years. It is over 99% effective when correctly inserted. The implant can cause hormonal side effects such as headaches, acne, and weight gain.


In Ireland, there are three contraceptive implants available:

  • Implanon NXT® (etonogestrel implant): Active Ingredient: Etonogestrel, a synthetic progestin hormone.
  • Kyleena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system): Active Ingredient: Levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin hormone.
  • Jaydess® levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine delivery system 13.5mg.


To be continued… next week I discuss emergency contraceptives (morning after pill) and other uses of contraceptives.


For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).


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