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The Contraceptive Pill – A Brief Guide 

The combined oral contraceptive pill (“the pill”) contains synthetic analogues of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones play critical roles in the female reproductive system. Therefore, by artificially reproducing them by taking a pill every day, it is possible to dramatically reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancies. Continue reading for a brief breakdown of the pill and its advantages and disadvantages.

The Pill at a Glance 

At a glance, the pill is one of the most effective means of contraception available today. When it is taken properly (i.e. at the same time each day), it is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy

The typical way to take the pill is to have one dose a day for 21 days and then take a break for the following week. After this, you resume taking the hormones daily. 

How to Get the Pill 

The combined pill needs to be prescribed by a doctor, so you will need to go for a consultation before you can begin taking it. You can also get the combined pill from contraception clinics or sexual health clinics. Additionally, contraception may also be provided by some young people’s services. Contraception is free of charge in the UK, even for those below the age of 16.

A common question is, “can I get contraception online”. There is a growing number of services like those offered by Virtually Health that allow you to complete the entire process of requesting the combined pill and receiving a prescription online. These are an excellent option, especially at present when it is not recommended to go to GP surgeries. 


There are various benefits associated with the pill other than its efficacy. One of the primary reasons people choose this form of contraception is that it doesn’t interrupt sex, and if you take it at the same time every day, you shouldn’t need to worry about unwanted pregnancy. 

Additionally, there is evidence that the combined pill reduces the chances of developing cancers of the ovaries, womb and colon. On top of this protection, it may also reduce the risk of fibroids, ovarian cysts and some forms of breast disease. 


The combined pill is associated with temporary side effects when people first start taking it. It is common to experience headaches, nausea and mood swings while you adapt to the hormones in the pill. 

Taking the medication can also increase your blood pressure, so this might not be suitable for you if you are already predisposed to hypertension. 

One of the most significant downsides of taking the combined pill is that it doesn’t confer protection against STIs. Therefore, it is best used in conjunction with condoms to achieve complete protection. 


Overall, the combined pill is one of the preferred methods of contraception for women in the UK. It is highly effective as long as it is appropriately taken, and there are various other advantages to this contraceptive method. However, it is not perfect for everyone, so you should consult with a doctor to find contraception that suits you best.