What is it?
Commonly known as ‘The Pill’. These are small tablets containing oestrogen and progestogen which are similar to the natural hormones women produce in their bodies.
How it works.
- The combined pill stops the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
- It also thickens the mucus around the cervix making it difficult for sperm to get into the uterus.
- It makes the lining of your uterus (womb) thinner so it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg.
- usually makes your bleeds regular, lighter and less painful
- may help with premenstrual symptoms
- reduces the risk of cancer of the ovary, uterus and colon
- improves acne in some women
- may reduce the risk of fibroids, ovarian cysts and non-cancerous breast disease.
Possible temporary side effects are:
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Mood changes
- Breast tenderness
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so use of condoms also is recommended
- May increase your blood pressure
- Can cause weight gain and/or skin problems
- Unexpected bleeding can occur on pill taking days & spotting is common in the first few months of pill use
If these symptoms persist you may want to consider a different brand of pill that will suit you better.
Is there any risk to taking the pill?
Research suggests that there may be a small increase in the risk of breast cancer in comparison to non users. This risk reduces over time once the pill has been stopped. For most women the benefits of the pill outweigh the risks.
How effective is it?
If taken correctly, this pill is 99% effective.
What makes it less effective?
- Not taking it correctly
- Vomiting less than 3 hours after taking it
- Severe diarrhoea
- Some prescription and complementary medicines