here is a video on the oral contraceptive pill:

Robina 7 Day Doctors and Acupuncture recommends this video

The oral contraceptive pill (often referred to as ‘the pill’) contains synthetic versions of oestrogen and progesterone, which are hormones that women make naturally. It works by stopping ovulation – the process where the ovaries release an ovum (egg) each month. It also makes the fluid at the opening to the uterus thicker, stopping sperm from getting through.

If used the right way, the combined pill is more than 99 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy.

There are different types of the combined pill, including:

  • pills with fixed dose combinations
  • pills that vary in dose throughout the cycle
  • pills that contain different types of synthetic oestrogen and progesterone.

The combined pill is packaged in either 21-day or 28-day ED (everyday) packs. All packs have at least 21 hormone (active) pills. With the 21-day packs, pills are taken for 21 days with a seven-day break. The 28-day packs also have up to seven inactive pills made of sugar, which are included to keep up the habit of taking a pill every day.

Advantages of the combined pill

Advantages of taking the combined pill include:

  • It usually makes periods shorter, lighter and more regular.
  • It can improve symptoms that can come with periods such as pain, mood swings and headaches.
  • It lessens the risk of cancer of the ovaries and uterus.
  • It can be used to safely skip periods.
  • It usually improves acne.

Disadvantages of the combined pill

Disadvantages of taking the combined pill include:

  • You will need to remember to take a pill every day.
  • Cost can be an issue.
  • You will need to be able to visit your doctor regularly to renew your prescription.
  • It can cause side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness, headaches and increased appetite.
  • It can lead to serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), heart attacks and strokes, but these are not common.
  • The combined pill does not suit women who have medical conditions such as certain types of migraines, high blood pressure, severe heart conditions or liver disease.
  • It is not recommended for women who are very overweight, or who smoke and are aged over 35.
  • Vomiting and severe diarrhoea can stop the combined pill from being absorbed by the body.
  • Some medication, such as the type used to treat epilepsy, and the herbal remedy St John’s wort, may stop the combined pill from working.
  • It does not give protection from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).


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