Contraception in Malta: Your Options
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Contraception is legal in Malta and various forms of contraception are available in pharmacies around Malta and Gozo. The age of sexual consent in Malta is sixteen years. People above the age of sixteen years are also considered able to make decisions about their health without needing consent from their parents. This means doctors and pharmacists in Malta should provide contraception to anyone over the age of sixteen years.
Some contraceptives, especially the ones that have hormones, can produce side effects and may not be suitable for every woman. You should have a discussion with your GP or gynaecologist about the different types of contraceptives before deciding which contraceptive is right for you.
Condoms are the only contraceptive that not only protect against pregnancy, but also help prevent sexually transmitted infections because they create a physical barrier between partners.
Condoms prevent pregnancy in around 85% of people. If a condom bursts or slips off during sex, consider using a morning after pill. There are other contraceptives that offer better protection against pregnancy than condoms.
How to get condoms in Malta: The male condoms that cover the penis are available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and restrooms around Malta and cost around 1 Euro each. No prescription is needed. Make sure you check the expiry date before you buy. Female condoms that are inserted by the woman into her vagina are less commonly available in Malta, but can be bought from online sellers like Pleasure Malta.
Contraceptive pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation and therefore prevent pregnancy. There are two types of contraceptive pills:
Combined oral contraceptive pills contain two hormones that prevent pregnancy - an oestrogen and a progestogen. They are around 91% effective with typical use, although with perfect use they are over 99% effective. The ones available in Malta include Adele, Yaz, Yasmine, Yasminelle, Mercilon, Nelya, Vreya, and Qlaria. Almost every pharmacy will have contraceptive pills.
Mini pills, also known as progestogen-only pills, contain one hormone that prevents pregnancy - a progestogen. Lamya is a mini pill available in Malta. Mini pills may be slightly less effective than combined pills, but may also have less side effects.
It is important to take contraceptive pills at the same time every day. Set up a reminder on your phone if you need help remembering. If you miss a pill, follow the instructions on the leaflet that comes with the pills. If you have missed pills and are at risk of pregnancy, the morning after pill will reduce your risk of becoming pregnant. If you often forget to take pills on time, consider a long acting reversible contraceptive like an intrauterine device or an implant.
How to get contraceptive pills in Malta: See a GP (family doctor) or a gynaecologist for a prescription, then buy the contraceptive pills from any pharmacy in Malta and Gozo. The pills themselves usually cost between 8 and 12 Euro a month. You will have to see your doctor every six or twelve months to renew the prescription.
The vaginal ring is a soft and flexible plastic ring that contains two hormones that prevent pregnancy. It is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy if used properly. A ring is inserted into the vagina by the woman every 4 weeks. The ring stays in for 21 days and is then removed for 7 days, following which a new ring is inserted.
How to get the vaginal ring in Malta: NuvaRing and Teyla are vaginal rings available in Malta and cost around 20 to 30 Euro a month. They can be bought from pharmacies. The vaginal rings require a prescription that can be issued by any doctor in Malta.
Unfortunately, the contraceptive patch is not currently available in Malta.
Intrauterine devices are inserted into the uterus and last for a number of years. There are two types of intrauterine devices: those that release hormones, and those that contain copper. Intrauterine devices are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Hormone intrauterine devices (also known as IUS) are inserted into the uterus by a gynaecologist and prevent pregnancy for 3-5 years. Hormone intrauterine devices reduce the flow of your periods and may even stop your periods completely. The Mirena lasts five years and costs around 180 Euro. The Jaydess is used in women who have not given birth before, and it costs around 145 Euro and lasts three years.
Copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) do not contain hormones. The ones available in Malta include FlexiT and Eurogine which last around five years, and the Monalisa which lasts around ten years. They tend to be considerably cheaper than hormone IUDs, but unlike hormone IUDs they do not reduce the flow and discomfort of periods.
How to get an intrauterine device in Malta: Most gynaecologists in Malta and Gozo insert IUDs in their private clinics. Contact us if you want information on gynaecologists who provide this service. The total cost to have a hormone IUD fitted, including clinic fees and doctors' fees, is usually in the region of 300 Euro. Copper IUDs are less expensive. Women who suffer from heavy periods may obtain a hormone IUD free of charge on the national health service. If you think you are eligible, contact a GP (family doctor) and ask for a referral to Mater Dei Hospital.
Hormone implants, also known as contraceptive subdermal implants, are small rods inserted under the skin in the arm and slowly release a hormone that prevents pregnancy. They are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Like hormone IUDs, implants also reduce the flow of periods.
How to get the hormone implants in Malta: The hormone implants are only inserted (and removed) in private gynaecology clinics. The Implanon NXT is available in Malta, it lasts around three years, and costs around 185 Euro, excluding clinic and doctor fees. Contact us if you want information on gynaecologists who provide this service.
Remember, only condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections. Even if you are using another contraceptive to prevent pregnancy, you should use a condom as well whenever there is a risk of catching an infection.
For more information on contraception in Malta, please see the website of Doctors for Choice (Malta) by clicking here.