Combined Pill

What is it?

The combined pill is a tablet which contains two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.Combined Pill

How does the combined pill work?

It works mainly by stopping the release of an egg (ovulation) to prevent fertilisation. It also thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation of a fertilised egg.

How to take the Combined Pill

The tablet is taken for 3 weeks out of every 4. One tablet is taken daily for 21 days until the packet is completed, followed by a break of 7 days. Restart next packet of pills for another 21 days starting on the same day of the week as with previous packet:- 21 days on, 7 days off and continue this way.

How effective is the combined pill?

It is over 99% effective if taken according to instructions. In ‘real life’ the combined pill is about 94-98% effective because people do not take the pill as instructed.

What are the advantages of the combined pill?

Prevents pregnancy if taken as advised. Usually it makes periods lighter and less painful; reduces risk of cancer of the ovary, uterus and colon. Fertility returns to normal when you stop taking it.

What are the disadvantages of the combined pill?

It is not suitable for very overweight women (BMI of 35 or above) or those over 35yrs who smoke, and women with some types of migraine. It can cause temporary side effects such as headaches, nausea, mood changes and breast tenderness. There is a small risk of a serious complication such as a blood clot (thrombosis) or a stroke. Pregnancy has these risks as well!

Does the combined pill protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections?

No, condoms are the only form of contraception which gives protection against some infections.