COMBINED ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS (COC)
The main method of action of these pills is to prevent you releasing an egg. If taken correctly the combined pill has a very low failure rate. Prior to being given a combined pill you would be assessed by a nurse or doctor, have your blood pressure checked, and a medical history taken, to check that you have no risk factors for complications with the pill. You would usually be seen 12 weeks later to check everything was alright and you can then continue on this method if it is suitable. There are certain conditions which make you unsuitable to have a combined pill and again these would be discussed with you in the clinic. The pill is a very effective method of contraception but you do need to remember to take it. Most pills are taken for 3 weeks and then there is a pill free week of 7 days and then you would start the pill again. This means that you have to be motivated and remember to take the pill as instructed. However, if you do miss a pill there is clear guidance on what you should do to prevent you becoming pregnant.
PROGESTOGEN ONLY ORAL PILL (POP)
This is a pill containing the hormone progestogen only. It is available in different preparations. This method of contraception is suitable for many women and it acts mainly by altering the cervical mucus (the mucus at the neck of the womb) making it more resistant to sperm. There is also an effect on ovulation (releasing an egg) in some cycles. There is a new progesterone only pill called Cerazette, which unlike other progesterone only pills does prevent release of an egg. This pill must be taken at the same time every day, however, it can be taken up to 12 hours late and still provide contraceptive cover. With all progesterone pills there is no pill free week. This method would be discussed fully with you at the sexual health clinic. If you had no problems in the first 3 months, the POP could be prescribed for 6 – 12 months depending on your health.
THE CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH – EVRA
There is now a contraceptive patch containing hormones similar to the combined pill i.e. Oestrogen/Progesterone. This is only used in exceptional circumstances.
The following website provides information to help you make an informed choice about contraception and how you choose to use it www.talkchoice.co.uk