The Combined Pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. It must be taken consistently at the same time each day to be the most effective.
Usually it will be taken for 21 days followed by a 7 day rest, then during this 7 days the woman usually has a period-like bleed.
Like all contraceptive methods other than condoms, the Combined Pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
The pill works by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg, it also:
- Thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb which prevents sperm getting to the egg
- Makes the lining of the womb thinner, making it harder for a fertilised egg from implanting itself into the womb
The Combined Pill is not suitable for all women, you may not be able to take the Combined Pill if you are overweight, if you smoke, are over 35 or are on certain medication - your doctor should advise you on this.
The Combined Contraceptive Pill is over 99% effective when used correctly*, meaning less than 1 in every 100 women who use it become pregnant over a 1 year period.
You should visit your doctors surgery or sexual health clinic and ask about starting to take the Combined Contraceptive Pill. You can find your nearest sexual health clinic here.
- Does not interrupt sex
- Reduces risk of cancer of the womb, ovaries and colon
- Can reduce symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Can sometimes reduce acne
- May defend against Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- May reduce the risk of ovarian cysts, fibroids and non-cancerous breast disease
- Have to remember to take the pill every day
- Must take at the same time every day or there is a reduction in its effectiveness
- Some medicines may make the pill less effective
- Side effects of headaches, sickness, breast tenderness and mood swings which usually clear up within 3 months
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Can increase blood pressure
- Linked to an increased risk of serious health conditions such as breast cancer and blood clots.