Skip to main content
Western Kentucky University

WKU Health Services : Contraceptive Services

Contraceptive Choices

We offer various contraceptive options, however most of our methods require a prescription or office visit with one of our  healthcare providers. Click here to find the right contraceptive for you.

  • Abstinence
  • Condoms (male/female)
  • Lube
  • Contraceptive Pill (estrogen & progestin or progestin-only)
  • Implant - Nexplanon
  • The Patch - Ortho Evra
  • The Ring - Nuva Ring
  • The Shot - Depo-Provera

When you don't wish to have intercourse or aren't prepared to use a reliable contraceptive, abstaining from intercourse is a positive choice.

Male condom

A male condom is a thin sheath that fits over an erect penis. WKUHS has male condoms available in latex and non-latex (polyurethane). Most latex condoms are made with the milk protein casein, but vegan versions are available.  The male condom prevents sperm from entering the vagina during ejaculation.  Latex condoms are highly effective in preventing STI transmission; polyurethane condoms are thought to provide similar protection, while animal skin condoms aren't effective. Male condoms are available free of charge in the Health Education & Promotion Department.

Female condom

The female condom is a soft, loose-fitting polyurethane sheath that lines the inside of the vagina. The female condom has two flexible rings. One lies at the closed end of the sheath; this ring is squeezed and inserted into the vagina, where it anchors the condom in place. The second ring lies outside the vagina; the penis enters the sheath through the outside ring.The female condom is highly effective in preventing sexually transmitted infections (STI). Because the outer ring partially covers the labia, it also protects against sexually transmitted infections (STI) transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Female condoms are available free of charge in the Health Education & Promotion Department.

Contraceptive pill

Oral contraceptives are a synthetic combination of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. The pill inhibits the release of an egg from the ovaries, thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus, and makes the conditions of the uterus unfavorable for implantation of a fertilized egg. Pills containing hormones are taken daily for 21 days; for the next seven days, a woman takes no pill or a placebo pill. Her period should begin during this time. The pill offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STI); studies have shown it may increase susceptibility.


Nexplanon is a soft and flexible implantable hormonal contraceptive that is inserted in a discreet location in the inner, upper arm. It is small, thin and effective for up to three years. Nexplanon is a progestin-only method contraceptive. It consists of a thin rod, 40 mm in length and 2 mm in diameter -- about the size of a cardboard matchstick. Nexplanon is available at WKUHS.

Contraceptive patch

The patch (brand name Ortho Evra) is a synthetic combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are absorbed through the skin. The hormones prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus and make the uterus unfavorable to implantation. The patch is available by prescription only. The 2" x 2" square patch is applied to the buttocks, upper outer arm, lower abdomen or upper torso (excluding breasts). Patches are changed on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks, and are worn 24/7. A patch is not worn during the fourth week; which is her menstrual cycle. The patch offers no sexually transmitted infection (STI) protection.

Contraceptive ring

The NuvaRing is a 2" flexible, transparent vaginal ring which releases a continuous low dose of estrogen and progestin over 21 days. The hormones prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus and make the uterus unfavorable to implantation. This method is available by prescription. Insert the ring high into the vagina by pressing the sides together and pushing it gently into the vagina. It's left there for 21 days and then removed; a woman will have her period during the week the ring is removed. Most women don't feel the ring once it's in place. The ring does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Contraceptive shot

Depo-Provera is an injected, progestin-only contraceptive which prevents ovulation, thickens the cervical mucus and makes the uterus unfavorable to implantation of a fertilized egg. This prescription method is injected by your provider every 11 - 13 weeks. This method is available at WKUHS by prescription only. Depo-Provera offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Emergency Contraception

If you have unprotected intercourse and are concerned about the possibility of an unintended pregnancy, visit Health Services for Plan B emergency contraception (EC).  Although Plan B has been shown to have effectiveness for up to three days or 72 hours after unprotected sex, the earlier it is taken, the more effective it is. Patients 17 and older may purchase Plan B. This contraceptive may be purchased without a prescription or office visit.

**FDA Approves ella Tablets for Prescription Emergency Contraception**

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved ellaTM (ulipristal acetate) tablets for emergency contraception. The prescription-only product prevents pregnancy when taken orally within 120 hours (five days) after a contraceptive failure or unprotected intercourse. It is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.

ella is a progesterone agonist/antagonist whose likely main effect is to inhibit or delay ovulation. Since May 2009, the prescription product has been available in Europe under the brand name ellaOne.

An FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs discussed ella in June, 2010. The committee unanimously voted that the application for ella provided compelling data on efficacy and sufficient information on safety for the proposed indication of emergency contraception.

For more information, please visit:

ella tablets are not currently sold at WKU Health Services

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 Last Modified 9/25/14