With so many options available, navigating through the minefield of contraceptive pills can be overwhelming, especially if you have never used this method of birth control before. The good news is, with such variety on offer, there is a high chance that you will find a pill that suits your individual needs. The type of contraception you choose will depend upon a number of factors, and to help you make an informed decision, here is a simple guide:
The combined pill
Perhaps the most popular choice is the combined pill, commonly known as ‘the pill’. The pill contains two female hormones, oestrogen and progestogen, and is 99 per cent effective as a method of contraception. Generally, the combined pill will make your period lighter, less painful and may also reduce the risk of a number of health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, fibroids and certain types of cancer. The combined pill is monophasic, meaning each pill contains the same amount of hormones and it is taken every day for three weeks, with a seven day break. Examples of the combined pill include Microgynon 30, Brevenoir and Cilest.
However, it is worth noting that this pill may not be suitable for women who are overweight, taking certain antibiotics, aged 35 and smoke or have certain health conditions, such as aura migraines.
The mini pill
The mini pill contains just one hormone, progesterone, and is 99 per cent effective as a method of contraception if taken correctly. This pill is taken continuously with no breaks. Examples of progestogen-only pills include Micronor, Femulen, Norgeston, Noriday and Cerazette.
This pill is can be used as an alternative for women who cannot take contraception that contains oestrogen. The mini pill is also commonly recommended for women who are breastfeeding or taking medication.
The contraceptive pill can also be used to reduce a number of unwanted health symptoms. For example, dianette is said to help with acne and facial hair by lowering the production of testosterone. If you suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome, a low dose oestrogen pill, such as Mercilon, or a more progesterone-dominant pill, such as Eugynon, can help.
Choosing the right pill
Remember that different pills affect all women differently, and it might take a few attempts to find one that is compatible with your body. It is also worth bearing in mind that certain pills can cause side-effects, and if these don’t subside after a few months of use, you will need to switch to another brand. Please consult a qualified healthcare professional for information when it comes to choosing contraception, as they will be able to assess your medical history and determine whether any medications you are taking limit your options.