What is the ‘combined pill’?
The combined pill, which may also be called ‘the pill’ or ‘combined oral contraceptives’ or ‘COC’ contains two hormones: estrogen and progestin. These are hormones that are similar to the natural hormones found in women’s bodies. The combined pill is also available as a ‘low-dose’ pill. The… Read more »
How does the combined pill work?
The combined pill works primarily by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (the release of eggs is called ovulation). Combined pills also change the cervical mucus and the endometrium. These changes make it difficult for sperm to move through and reach an egg. With ‘perfect use’ (taking… Read more »
When can I start taking the combined pill?
The combined pill can be initiated at any time. If a woman starts the combined pill within 5 days after the start of her monthly bleeding or within 5 days after an abortion, there is no need for a backup method; she will be immediately protected. If it is more than 5 days after the start of her… Read more »
How do I use the combined pill?
The most common COCs (combined oral contraceptives) are the monophasic 21day pills. Each pill has the same amount of hormone in it. One pill is taken each day for 21 days and then no pills are taken for the next seven days. Women should take the first pill from the packet marked with the correct… Read more »
What if I miss one or more combined pills?
In order for the pill to be most effective it is important to take it every day at around the same time, but can be taken several hours before or after this time without significantly effecting coverage. A woman has only truly ‘missed a pill’ if it is taken more than 24 hours later than her regular… Read more »
What if I vomit or have diarrhea after taking the combined pill?
If a woman vomits within 2 hours of taking the pill she should take another pill as soon as possible and if she feels well enough. As long as she is not sick again the efficacy of the pill will not be affected. She should continue to take the following pills at the usual hour. For situations like… Read more »
What medicines can affect the efficacy of the COC pill?
If the woman is given medicines by a doctor, nurse or at the hospital she should always say she is taking COC (or the name of the brand of the pill). Once she gets the medicine she should also check the instructions of the medicine to see if there is any reference to its effect on contraception. Read more »
What are the advantages of the combined pill?
The combined pill can be stopped at any time without a provider’s help. It does not interfere with sex, and it is controlled by the woman. The combined pill helps to protect women from pregnancy, cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer), cancer of the ovaries, and symptomatic … Read more »
What are the disadvantages of the combined pill?
The combined pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so women may need to use condoms as well. Women must remember to take the pill at the same time every day Women might get some temporary side effects when beginning taking the combined pill, but these should stop within a… Read more »
What are possible side-effects of the combined pill?
Some women may experience temporary side-effects when beginning combined pills, but these usually stop within a few months. Side effects may include nausea, dizziness, spotty skin, breast tenderness, weight changes or headaches. Some women report changes in bleeding patterns (lighter, irregular Read more »
What are health reasons (contra-indications) that indicate a woman should not take combined pills ?
Combined pills should NOT be used by women who : Are breastfeeding and have given birth within the previous 6 months. Are taking barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate, rifampicin, rifabutin. or ritonavir or ritonavir- boosted protease inhibitors. A backup… Read more »
When can I get pregnant after using combined pills?
Once the woman stops taking combined pill her fertility will return immediately and she can get pregnant immediately in the first menstrual cycle. Some doctors may suggest that women use condoms once they stop the combined pill and until they get their first menstruation not because it can affect… Read more »