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Often just called “the pill”, the combined pill is a type of female contraception that prevents pregnancy. It gets its name because it contains a combination of two hormones; progestogen and oestrogen.

  • It protects against pregnancy but not sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To protect against STIs you will also need to use a barrier method of contraception such as condoms
  • It is over 97% effective if taken correctly
  • There are three different types and many different brands
  • With each type or brand you usually experience a monthly “withdrawal bleed”
  • It can help if your periods are heavy or painful
  • It can help premenstrual symptoms (PMS)
  • It can help with acne
  • There are things that can affect how effective it is (such as vomiting, diarrhoea and other medications)
  • It can cause side effects when you first start taking it

You can get the contraceptive pill from Umbrella clinics and pharmacies, and GPs can prescribe the pill for you.

Not sure which type of contraception is right for you? Worried because you’ve had sex without a condom? Let us help you choose the right option.

For detailed information on the combined pill, please see the NHS website.

See the FPA website for a range of downloadable leaflets on contraception.