The Combined Contraceptive Pill

There are many ways to protect yourself against pregnancy, and it is EXTREMELY important that you do so! One of the most common methods is the contraceptive pill – there are two, combined and Progestogen only – in this post I will just be telling you about the combined pill. I will be talking about how the pill works, some things you need to know, some history behind it, and side effects.

Firstly, how does the pill work!? When you go to the GP or clinic to get the pill they will give you three months worth of pills. That’s three packets. Each packet of pills either contains 21 pills or 28 pills. If it contains 21 pills you take 1 everyday for 3 weeks then have a week where you don’t take anything and have a break. During this break you will have a “period”. If it has 28 pills, 21 of those pills will be contraceptive the other 7 will be sugar pills (placebos). You take the 21 pills – 1 everyday for 3 weeks – then during the placebo week you have a “period”.

Why do I keep putting period in inverted commas? Basically the main three hormones involved in female reproduction are FSH, LH, and Oestrogen.

FSH is released from the pituitary gland (in your brain). FSH stimulates your ovaries to mature one of your eggs,  and stimulates your ovaries to start producing Oestrogen.

Oestrogen then stops the production of FSH, and starts to build up the womb lining, this triggers LH to start  being produced.

LH is the hormone that causes the mature egg to be released.

So what hormones are in the combined pill?

The combined pill contains Oestrogen and Progestogen. The Oestrogen stops any FSH being produced so you don’t mature any eggs. This also builds up the womb lining. The Progestogen is a hormone present in pregnancy, this is the hormone that causes your boobs to get slightly bigger (and any other pregnancy-like symptoms) .

Because you don’t release an egg you don’t have a real period, although I assure you it still hurts like a bitch.

Some things you may want to know!

The pill is usually taken for contraception, but it is commonly used to treat painful periods, heavy periods, PMS (mood swings) and Endometriosis.  You can get the pill from your GP or local sexual health clinic for free, without parents permission (please bare in mind that if you are under 14 they may want to contact your parents if they give it to you, but you can talk it through with doctor you are seeing as they won’t do ANYTHING without telling you first).

The pill is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken correctly, this means fewer than 1/100 women get pregnant in one year.  You have to take the pill at the same time every day or it could be ineffective so it’s a good idea to have it when you first wake up.  Some other things could effect how effective the pill is. For example if you miss a pill, vomit, or have severe diarrhoea it could be ineffective. However each pill company will have printed instructions in the packet of what to do if you miss a pill. Also some medications like St John’s Wart will effect the effectiveness of the pill.

The pill is NOT suitable for women over 35 that smoke.

The pill has some minor side effects and some more severe ones. Some of the minor effects include: mood swings, breast tenderness, headaches, and increase in breast size.

However the more serious side effects include: blood clots, cervical cancer, depression and breast cancer.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the combined pill, if you have any questions please feel free to email me!

Have a great day! Xx





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