Relax, Johnny's Got You Covered

The Pill and Mini Pill

If you use the pill or are thinking about using it, check out Dr David Gibney’s interview where he talks about its effectiveness and the most important things you need to know.

Combined Oral Contraception - The Pill

Over 99% effective if properly used Higher failure rate with less careful use

Description

The pill is a tablet contains two female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone).

How it Works

Hormones stop a woman ovulating (releasing an egg each month). These are many different brands of pill with different combinations of hormones. Your GP will advise you on the correct hormone combination that suits you.

It is important that you talk to a doctor who will assess what contraceptive option is best for you.

Advantages

  • Does not interrupt sex
  • Useful for women who can reliably take pills on a daily basis
  • Often reduces bleeding, period pain and PMT (Pre-Menstrual Tension)
  • Can protect against cancer of the ovaries and womb

Drawbacks

  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and taking some medicines such as some antibiotics can interfere with how it works. In all instances another method of contraception would have to be used
  • Not suitable for women with conditions such as high blood pressure, migraine, smokers over 35. Your GP will advise you on the correct contraceptive for you
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
  • Not available without a prescription
  • There are many myths about the pill, to read about these myths visit the Myths about the Pill section of this site

Progesterone Only Pill - The Mini Pill

96-99% effective with very careful use

Description

The mini pill is a tablet containing the female hormone progesterone.

How it Works

Works mainly by preventing sperm getting through the cervix, may also thin the lining of the womb preventing an egg from implanting and may prevent an egg from being released.

It is important that you talk to a doctor who will assess what contraceptive option is best for you.

Advantages

  • Does not interrupt sex 
  • Useful for women who can reliably take pills on a daily basis
  • Useful for women who cannot or do not want to take oestrogen such as women over 35 who smoke
  • Can be used when breastfeeding

Drawbacks

  • Must be taken at the same time everyday. Other contraception may be required if pills are taken more than 3 hours late
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and taking some medicines such as some antibiotics can interfere with how it works. In all instances another method of contraception would have to be used
  • May cause irregular bleeding
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
  • Not available without prescription