The Combined Pill

The combined contraceptive pill or ‘the pill’, as it’s often referred to, contains two synthetic versions of the hormones progestogen and oestrogen, which are produced naturally by your body.

Most combined pills contain the same amount of hormones in each pill, delivering a consistent dose of progesterone and oestrogen every day. These are called monophasic pills.

Some combined pills are known as “phasic” pills. These pills have different amounts of hormones every week, which mimic natural changes in your hormone levels throughout your cycle. For some women, this can lead to fewer or more manageable side effects, but they are a little trickier to use than monophasic pills.

Advantages of the Combined Pill

  • It can make periods lighter, more regular and less painful
  • It may help PMS symptoms
  • Certain brands can help with acne
  • Studies have found that it reduces the risk of ovarian, uterine and colorectal cancer
  • Can help with problems associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome

Disadvantages of the Combined Pill

  • Side effects including headaches, nausea, mood changes, and breast tenderness are common in the first few months of taking it
  • It can increase your risk of breast and cervical cancer
  • Has been reported by users to cause depression, although no official link has been made
  • It can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other blood clots
  • Missing a pill, vomiting or severe diarrhoea after taking the pill can make it less effective
  • It may not be suitable if you’re a smoker (especially if you are over 35 years old), if have a family history of breast cancer, have cardiac problems or are overweight
  • Medications to treat HIV, epilepsy and TB, as well as St. John’s Wort can make the pill less effective

How To Take The Combined Pill