Let’s talk about contraception: What is long acting reversible contraception?

This blog was written by Robyn Holmes and Cathy Halmarick, Sexual & Reproductive Health Nurses at Peninsula Health.

Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy, also known as birth control.

Maybe you have never even heard of long acting reversible contraception.

You have probably heard of the ‘pill” a tablet you take at the same time every day to avoid a pregnancy.

The main aim of long acting reversible contraception is to prevent a pregnancy for a longer time; it has a more “set and forget” model. They are one of the most effective types of contraceptive.

There are now (2) main types of long acting reversible contraception

  1. Implant ‘rod” inserted into your upper arm and can last three (3) years.
  2. Intrauterine Device (IUD) sometimes known as the “coil”. There are hormonal or non-hormonal IUDs.

The IUD is inserted into your uterus (womb) and can last up to 10 years, depending on the type of device.

A new device was recently added to the PBS (government subsidised), it is the smallest IUD, called a Kyleena. It is most suitable for people who have never had a pregnancy before and can last for 5 years.

These methods of contraception are over 99% effective and are all reversible.


  • Implanon NXT (up to 3 years)

Intrauterine devices:

Hormonal IUD (up to 5 years)

  • Mirena IUD
  • Kyleena IUD

Non-hormonal IUD (up to 10 years) – can also be used for emergency contraception, within 5 days of last unprotected sex

  • Copper IUD

Long acting reversible contraception such as the Mirena and Kyleena can lessen the number of periods you get or completely stop them. For a lot of people suffering from painful and heavy periods, this can be life changing.

There are many misconceptions that not having a regular period is “unnatural”.   Hormonal contraception can inhibit ovulation and also thins the lining of the uterus, so there may be no need for anything to shed or bleed. This is why some women do not get a period each month when using these forms of contraception.

  • Once removed, they do not interfere with fertility and you should be able to fall pregnant when you are ready.

There are many types of contraception to choose from and it is up to you to state your preference. Your nurse or doctor can help guide you as to what may suit you best.

Remember:  Different methods of contraception do not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Condoms, when used correctly can help reduce the spread of STIs.

Useful links

FPV Victoria https://www.fpv.org.au/for-you/contraception 

Watch an animated movie about your IUD appointment journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn9BTOrABa4

How can I book an appointment? https://www.peninsulahealth.org.au/services/peninsula-health-community-health/womens-sexual-health/