Long-acting Reversible Contraception

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) options are the most effective, long-term forms of birth control available. There are two options: the implant and the IUD. Both are small devices inserted by a doctor, and can last anywhere from three to twelve years, depending on which option you pick. If you decide your birth control needs have changed, you can easily have your device removed by a physician.  Because of how they are inserted, LARCs pretty much eliminate the possibility of user error, making them super effective at preventing pregnancy.

Bottom line: LARCs are the best way to ensure that you won’t get pregnant unless you want to. They don’t protect against STIs, though, so make sure you’re getting screened regularly and using condoms when necessary.

LARC consultations are available at Student Health Services.

what's great about hormonal_barrier-resized_thumb.jpgWhat’s great about LARCs

what might not work hormonal and barrier-resized_thumb.jpgWhat might not work for you

consider when choosing hormonal and barrier_thumb.jpgConsider when choosing

LARC_featured_thumb.jpgTypes of LARCS

Types of LARCS

The hormonal IUD: 99.5% effective;* a small device inserted into your uterus by a doctor that releases hormones and protects you for 3-6 years. Often leads to much lighter periods, but can cause irregular bleeding, especially in the first few months.

The copper IUD: 99.5%, a small device that is inserted into your uterus by a doctor and protects from pregnancy without releasing hormones. Effective for up to 12 years, and doesn’t affect your cycle, although you might have some irregular bleeding in the first few months.

The Implant: 98% effective; a small rod inserted by a doctor just under the skin of your arm that releases hormones and protects you for 3 years.


*  all efficacy rates refer to pregnancy prevention and are based on typical use

What’s great about LARCs:

  • Close to 100% effective at preventing pregnancy

  • Protection whenever you need it, for years at a time

  • Always reversible if your needs change

  • Include both hormonal and non-hormonal options

What might not work for you:

  • Cost can vary depending on insurance coverage

  • Insertion can be temporarily uncomfortable

  • Can cause irregular periods and spotting

Consider when choosing:

  • How long do I want to be protected?

  • What am I going to do about STIs?

  • Am I okay with irregular bleeding?

  • Am I sensitive to hormones?