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The Pill

There are two types of pill – Combined and Progestogen-only

pillCombined Pill (COC)

What is the combined pill?

A pill containing the hormones oestrogen and progestogen that you take daily.

How effective is it?

If used according to the instructions in the pack it is over 99% effective.

Advantages

  • Can often reduce bleeding, period pain and pre-menstrual symptoms.
  • Don’t have to think about contraception at time of intercourse.
  • Fertility returns to normal once you stop using it.

Disadvantages

  • Missing the pill, vomiting or severe diarrhoea can make it less effective.
  • Have to remember to take it.
  • It doesn’t protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Progestogen-only Pill (POP)

What is it?

A pill containing the hormone progestogen that you take daily.

How effective is it?

If used according to the instructions in the pack it is over 99% effective.

Advantages

  • Some women cannot go on the combined pill for health reasons but they may be able to use the POP pill.

Disadvantages

  • This pill has to be taken every day and in strict time limits, which mean if you are late taking your pill, you can make it less effective.
  • Vomiting or severe diarrhoea can make it less effective.
  • It doesn’t protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections.