Our clinical lead answers your questions about contraception and your cycle

Oh hey, I’m Zoe. I’m Unfabled’s Clinical Lead. I’m a Sexologist, Clinical Advisor and Sexual and Reproductive Rights Advocate. 

Since training as a Clinical Nurse,  I completed a Master of Sexual and Reproductive Health and became a Member of the Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd. Currently, I’m conducting research on interventions for sexual difficulties, and am pursuing a PhD in Women’s and Reproductive Health. 

You’ve been sending through your anonymous questions for Unfabled’s Ask Zoe series on Instagram, and sometimes I need to go into a little bit more detail, so here are my answers to some of your questions on contraception and your cycle. 

Let’s get into it. 

What is your recommendation for contraceptive for someone who doesn't want to ruin their cycle?

When it comes to contraception, there are many options available, and it can certainly be difficult to know which one is right for you. However, if you're looking for a contraceptive option that won't disrupt your menstrual cycle, I would recommend considering barrier methods like condoms or diaphragms, which do not affect hormone levels in the body. Other options like the Copper IUD or Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) can also be effective without interfering with the natural menstrual cycle.

It's important to note that all methods have their own set of benefits and risks, and it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss which method is best for you. They can help you assess your overall health, lifestyle, and preferences to find a contraceptive method that is safe, effective and that fits your needs.

Remember that no matter which contraceptive method you choose, it's always important to use it correctly and consistently to maximize its effectiveness. And don't forget communication with your partner is key!

If you're on the coil & don't get a period, what can you do to stay in sync with your cycle?

So, this generally depends on the type of coil that you have. When we talk about coils, we are talking about the intrauterine device or IUD. The copper IUD, for example, does not release any hormones, it simply works by creating a hostile environment for the sperm. Meaning that you still ovulate and get a period.  

The hormonal IUD, on the other hand, releases a small amount of progestin hormone. It works to prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus, which can prevent ovulation, and make periods lighter or even absent.

 If you don't experience a menstrual period or ovulation due to the hormonal IUD, it can be challenging to stay in sync with your menstrual cycle. We totally get it.

Because the hormonal IUD can suppress ovulation and therefore interfere with the menstrual cycle, the number of phases in your menstrual cycle changes.

 This is a tricky one to answer because not experiencing a period or ovulation means that it is difficult to identify what might be happening with your body and when. If you are wanting to stay more in tune with your body, I would suggest tracking any symptoms and cervical mucus changes. See if that helps you feel more connected, and if you can pick up any consistencies in the pattern of changes month on month. 

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