Several long- and shorter-acting contraceptive methods are available in Australia, including traditional hormonal and nonhormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) and combined hormonal oral contraceptives. The low-dose hormonal IUD and a progestogen-only pill that reliably inhibits ovulation are newer options. GPs should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each method to support patients’ informed contraceptive decision-making across their reproductive years.
Contraceptive choice is influenced by multiple factors, which can change over an individual’s reproductive life course, from adolescence through to the perimenopause. These include medical eligibility, method effectiveness, risks and side effects, a desire for noncontraceptive benefits for conditions including heavy menstrual bleeding and acne, ease of use, access and costs, as well as personal preference. The role of the practitioner is to support shared and informed decision-making, which includes providing information about currently available methods.