What is the oral contraceptive pill?
The contraceptive pill is one of the most commonly used types of contraception in the UK. Often simply referred to as “the pill”, this form of contraception uses hormones to prevent pregnancy with up to 99% effectiveness.
It is important to remember that birth control pills are an effective form of contraception but they don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like a condom does.
What types of contraceptive pills are there?
There are roughly 30 different kinds of contraceptive pills currently available. The main two types of contraceptive pills are the combined pill and the progesterone-only pill (POP or mini pill).
What is the combined pill?
The combined pill contains a small amount of artificial oestrogen and progesterone, which works to disrupt the body’s natural cycle and therefore help to prevent pregnancy. Combined pills often prevent any eggs being released from the ovaries. They can also alter the mucus at the cervix and the lining of the womb so the conditions aren’t right for pregnancy.
Combined pills tend to come in packs of 21 or 28 days. If the pack has 21 pills, all the pills are active and they are followed by a break of seven days. With a pack of 28 pills, there are 21 active pills and 7 inactive ones.
There are three different types of combined pill:
- Monophasic: All 21 active pills contain the same amount of the hormones.
- Biphasic: The 21 active pills contain two different amounts of the hormones.
- Triphasic: The 21 active pills contain three different amounts of the hormones, which changes every 7 days.
What is the progesterone-only pill?
The progesterone-only pill is also known as the POP or mini pill. It doesn’t include any oestrogen, and can be better for women who experience nausea when taking the combined pill. It’s also best for breastfeeding women. The mini pill works to change the lining of the uterus and also to thicken the mucus at the cervix.
Progesterone-only pills come in a pack of 28 pills at the same time every day (or within 3 hours of this time). If you are taking Cerazette, you can take your pill within 12 hours of the same time each day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some contraceptive pills names?
Logynon, Microgynon, Marvelon, Yasmin and Cilest are all names of combined pills. Cerazette, Femulen, Micronor, Norgeston and Noriday are all examples of the mini pill.
Where can I buy the contraceptive pill online?
You can buy the contraceptive pill online with Instant eCare. Select the one you wish to buy and complete a short online questionnaire to ensure it is right for you. Providing the medication is suitable for you, you’ll be given a free prescription and your contraceptive pills will be delivered to the address of your choice.
Please visit our birth control support page to explore the different options for birth control, with definitions and relevant support links.