What is The Pill?

The Pill is a common type of contraceptive. There are two main types of Pills.

  • The Combined Pill contains two hormones and stops the ovaries releasing an egg each month.
  • The Progestogen-only Pill, sometimes called the Minipill, has only one hormone and works by mainly changing the mucus at the entrance to the uterus so that sperm cannot pass through to fertilise the egg.

There are many different brands of the Pill and it sometimes takes a while to find the one that is right for you. The Pill has to be prescribed by a doctor and it is a good idea to talk with your doctor about which Pill suits you best.

The Combined Pill

When taken properly, the Combined Pill is about 98% effective. The Pill does not work as well if:

  • You don’t take it regularly
  • You have diarrhoea or are vomiting
  • You are taking it with anti-biotics or other drugs

Advantages V’s Disadvantages

The Pill affects everyone differently. There can be advantages for some people while for others there may be some drawbacks. It is a good idea to talk with your doctor about how the Pill may affect you.

Some of the benefits may be:

  • A regular lighter period
  • Improvement of acne
  • Improvement or absence of PMS (Premenstrual syndrome), which can cause uncomfortable symptoms and mood changes in the days before the period starts.

While some of the disadvantages may be:

  • Sore breasts, nausea (feeling sick), and breakthrough bleeding particularly in the first few months of taking the Pill.
  • The Pill may cause some weight gain, mood changes or loss of sex drive in some women.
  • The Pill doesn’t protect you against STI’s

Health Concerns

  • If you are asking your doctor for a prescription for the Pill it is recommended that you let the doctor know your full medical history. Taking the Pill does not usually cause any health problems, however, it can be harmful to take the Pill if you have certain health conditions.

Examples may be:

  • Migraine
  • History of blood clotting
  • Liver problems
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked out by a health worker

It is also important to know that smoking increases the risk of harmful effects of the Pill.

The Progestogen Only Pill or Minipill (POP)

The POP is taken daily without a break. When first starting the POP it is advisable to use back-up contraception like condoms for 7 days. The POP should be taken at the same time each day. It is important not to be more than 3 hours late when taking the POP.

The POP is one contraceptive you can use if you are breast feeding and when a baby is being weaned.