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Contraception & Contraceptive Pill

Information about the different female contraceptive options

Hormonal contraception is considered to be the most effective way of protecting against pregnancy. Clinically proven to be almost 100% effective, it continues to rise in popularity; now the preferred contraception for over 3.5 million women throughout the UK. The wide range of different types means that you can find the contraception solution perfect to your requirements. In most cases, women opt for oral contraception like the combined pill or mini pill because they are the most convenient option. However, recent studies have revealed that a large number of women are electing alternative forms of hormonal contraception such as the patch or vaginal ring.

Despite this, the most popular contraceptives come in pill form. There are over 30 contraceptive pills to choose from in the UK alone, many of which are also capable of treating painful periods, heavy periods, premenstrual syndrome and endometriosis. Dianette, a combination pill, is even known to treat bad cases of acne.

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The combined pill

The combined pill, or simply 'the pill,' is the most used form of birth control in the UK. Like most other contraceptive methods, it has been proven to be over 99% effective and can also help to regulate your menstrual cycle and make periods lighter. This form of contraception contains synthetic versions of both female hormones, progestogen and oestrogen, which women produce naturally in their body and prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation. They also make it more difficult for sperm to make it to the egg and for an egg to take hold on the lining of the womb should it become fertilized. These should be taken once a day for 21 days followed by a seven-day rest period. They are available to buy in three different forms: monophasic, phasic and everyday with popular brand names such as Microgynon, Cilest, Yasmin and Dianette.

The mini pill

The mini pill, or the progestogen-only pill (POP), differs from the standard version in the way it only contains one hormone, progestogen. Because of this, it carries fewer side effects and so is beneficial for many women, especially those who are over 35 years of age, smoke, or who are breastfeeding. Unlike the combined contraceptive pill, it should be taken once daily for 28 days with no break between packs. It does not control your period in the same way as the combined one, but they both work in similar ways to prevent pregnancy – ultimately by inhibiting the process of ovulation.

Contraceptive patch

Contraceptive patches have been proven to be an effective alternative for those women who struggle to keep up with the time keeping required of oral contraception. It contains both hormones, oestrogen and progestogen, but they are released into the body through the skin rather than through oral digestion. The patch contraceptive has also been found to reduce the risk of cancers of the womb, colon and ovaries as well as ovarian cysts, fibroids and non-cancerous breast diseases. For this reason, the patch has increased in popularity recently and is now the preferred choice for many women in the UK. Evra is currently the only contraceptive patch available in the UK, and can be ordered safely here at 121doc by using our secure ordering service.

Contraceptive ring

The vaginal ring is a small and discreet device that is to be inserted into the vagina where it must remain for 21 days. At this point you can forget about the ring, but after the 21-day period, you must remove the ring for a seven day break, where you may experience a withdrawal bleed. The ring has been proven by various clinical studies to be up to 99% effective and works by delivering a steady dose of both synthetic versions of hormones, progestogen and oestrogen. Nuvaring is the only vaginal ring available in the UK market and can be ordered safely by using the online consultation service at 121doc.

Contraceptive comparison

Combined pill Mini-pill Contraceptive ring Contraceptive patch
Examples Yasmin, Dianette & Microgynon Micronor, Noriday & Cerazette NuvaRing Evra
Effectiveness > 99% < 99% > 99% >99%
Use Once a day for 21 days with seven day break Used everyday for 28 days with no break Once a month, followed by a seven day break Once a week followed by a seven-day break
How it's administered Orally (Tablets swallowed with water) Orally (Tablets swallowed with water) Vaginally (Inserted into vagina) Transdermally (Applied to skin)
Ingredients Oestrogen and progestogen Progestogen Oestrogen & progestogen Oestrogen & progestogen
Main Benefits - Contraception
- Can help regulate periods and help minimise the severity of PMS symptoms
- Contraception
- Can minimise the severity of PMS symptoms - Can be taken by most women who can't take the combined pill
- Contraception
- Can help regulate periods
- Can help minimise the severity of PMS symptoms
- Contraception
- Can help regulate periods
- Can help minimise the severity of PMS symptoms
Main side effects Headache,
breast tenderness,
changes in menstrual bleeding,
migraines,
unwanted hair growth
Spotting,
irregular periods,
changes in menstrual bleeding,
unwanted hair growth
Headache,
breast tenderness,
changes in menstrual bleeding,
migraines, unwanted hair growth
Headache,
breast tenderness,
changes in menstrual bleeding,
migraines
Who shouldn't take it Pregnant women,
breastfeeding women,
migraine sufferers,
women who weigh over 14 stone,
women with high blood pressure,
women using other contraceptives
Pregnant,
women who weigh over 14 stone,
women using other contraceptives
Pregnant women,
breastfeeding women,
migraine sufferers,
women who weigh over 14 stone,
women with high blood pressure,
women using other contraceptives
Pregnant women,
breastfeeding women,
migraine sufferers,
women using other contraceptives

Ordering hormonal contraceptives at 121 doc

All forms of contraception are available here at 121doc. You do not need to make an appointment to visit your doctor for a prescription or collect the medication from your local pharmacy; we incorporate such time-consuming aspects into our fast, convenient and reliable service. Simply fill out a medical questionnaire online and once approved by our doctor, your choice of contraception will be delivered to you the very next working day. If you live in London you may get your order in as little as two hours for free

There are several ways of getting in touch should you have a query about ordering online. Contact our friendly Patient Services team by phone, email, or Live Chat.

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