Contraceptive pills – combined and progesterone only.
Samedaydoctor doctors and nurse practitioners at all clinics can prescribe contraceptive pills, both those referred to as ‘combined’ pills, which contain oestrogen and progestogen, and those referred to as ‘Progestogen-only’ pills, which just contain progestogen.
The combined contraceptive pill is the most well-known contraceptive pill and commonly the first thing people try after condoms. It has the advantages of regular and predictable periods once settled down and good reliability, but you do have to remember to take it every day for 3 weeks followed by a 7 day break. It has some small health risks which are much smaller than the risk of an unwanted pregnancy, but is not suitable for some women who have certain medical problems, are significantly overweight or are over 35 and smoke. Side effects are rare and mostly slight but very occasionally people need to try different brands to find one they’re happy with.
The higher dose progesterone-only pill is suitable for most women who would like to use the pill but cannot use the more well-known combined pill due to health problems or side effects. It has the advantages of minimal known health risk and fewer side effects than the combined pill. It has the advantage over the ‘mini’ pill of being very reliable. The disadvantage is that irregular bleeding is common to begin with, on average for about 3 months, but after that the majority of women have no periods at all or very occasional light bleeding only. You do have to remember to take it every day continually with no breaks but have a 12 hour lee-way. Rarely hormonal side effects such as breast tenderness or mood swings can occur.
The progesterone-only ‘mini’-pill is suitable for most women who would like to use the pill but cannot use the more well-known combined pill due to health problems or side effects. It has the advantages of no known health risk and fewer side effects than the combined pill. Most women have regular and predictable periods but there is a small risk of irregular bleeding. It is not as reliable as some other methods but still a good option and you can use condoms as well. You do have to remember to take it every day continually with no breaks and within 3 hours of the same time each day.