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Understanding your contraception options

There are many different types of contraception available, and we want to make sure that you’re choosing the right one for you.

Available Contraceptive Methods

We can prescribe the mini pill, the combined pill, and the contraceptive patch. All are easy to use and very effective when used correctly.

The Mini Pill

The mini pill (or progesterone-only pill) contains the hormone progesterone. Most women can use this pill safely. Examples include Cerazette, Cerelle, and Noriday.

The mini pill can help with heavy periods, but it can also cause irregular bleeding. Other possible side effects include sore breasts, mood changes, and headaches.

The Combined Pill, Patch, and Vaginal Ring

The combined pill, patch, and vaginal ring contain both oestrogen and progesterone. Examples include Microgynon, Yasmin, and the Evra Patch.

Using these can make your periods lighter, less painful, and more regular. They can help with acne and reduce the risk of womb and ovarian cancers. Other possible side effects include spotting, feeling sick, and breast pain.

Risks and Considerations

There’s a small possible increase in the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer with the combined contraceptive, but these risks reduce in time after you stop taking it. There is also an increase in the risk of getting blood clots in the legs or lungs. This risk may be even higher if you have other health conditions or you smoke, for example. If this is the case, a mini pill may be recommended as the safer option for you.

Some combined contraceptives have a lower risk of blood clots than others. Pills containing levonorgestrel or norethisterone, such as Microgynon, Rigevidon, or Levest have the lowest risk (5 to 7 in 10,000 women), compared to pills containing desogestrel, drospirenone, and gestodene such as Femodene, Gedarel, and Yasmin which have a higher risk (9 to 12 in 10,000 women). This risk is still low for both, and it’s worth weighing up these risks against any side effects you may get from a particular contraceptive. We’d recommend using a lower risk pill if you’ve not had any problems with pills before.

Choosing the Right Protection

It’s worth finding out more about contraceptive choices to make sure you’re choosing the right protection for you. If you’d like more advice on taking contraception, you can send us a message through your account at any time.

Authored & Reviewed By

Yasmin Ahmed

BPharm - Clinical Lead
Musarat Yasmin Ahmed currently serves as the clinical lead at Prescription Doctor, bringing with her a wealth of experience.

Published on: 02/02/2024 Reviewed on: 02/02/2024
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