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Combined Pill


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Image of Combined Pill Packaging

What is it? 

The combined pill is a tablet that contains the hormones oestrogen and progestogen (synthetic versions of the hormones that are naturally released from the ovaries). You take the pill every day, at the same time, for 21 days, and then stop for seven days. During that week, you have a bleed. After seven days, you start taking the pill again. It is still safe to have sex during the seven break as long as all the other pills have been taken properly and at the right time, and that the next packet of pills is started on time.

How does it work? 

The hormones prevent you from ovulating (releasing an egg). They also make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg, or for an egg to implant itself in the lining of the womb.

How effective is it?

If used correctly, it can be more than 99% effective. This means that less than one woman in 100 who takes the pill will get pregnant in one year. The chance of getting pregnant rises if:


Purple petal    The pill isn't taken according to the instructions,    


Purple petal   It doesn't stay in the body long enough to work, for example, when you vomit, or have diarrhoea.


Purple petal   Other medications make it less effective.      


Purple petal   Missing pills or starting a new packet late may make your Combined Pill less effective. You have a “missed pill” if it is taken 24 hours later than you usually take it. – Click here for advice on what to do if you “miss a pill”      

Added benefits?


Purple petal    You don’t ovulate when you take the combined pill, so you don’t have a real period every month. Instead, you get a withdrawal bleed, which can be much lighter and shorter than a period. If you have problems with heavy, painful periods, taking the combined pill can help.    


Purple petal   It can protect against cancers of the ovary, womb and colon, and some pelvic infections.

What else should I know?


Purple petal    To be effective, it must be taken at the same time every day, and on the correct days.    


Purple petal   You could get pregnant if you don’t take it at the same time every day, you miss one, you vomit or have severe diarrhoea, or you take other types of medication.


Purple petal   It isn’t suitable for women over 35 who smoke, or women with certain medical conditions. Your doctor or nurse can tell you whether you can take this kind of pill.      


Purple petal   There's a very low risk of serious side effects, including blood clots and cervical cancer.  


Purple petal   Minor side effects include mood swings, breast tenderness and headaches.  


Purple petal   There's no evidence that the combined pill causes women to gain weight.  

By using condoms as well as the combined pill, you'll help to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Combined Pills are freely available from Contraception Clinics. Use the Service Finder to find a clinic that’s most convenient for you. Or call our Central Booking line 01772 401140 for more information on this method or to book an appointment.







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