Michaela Deane explores the possible options available for those who are considering the contraceptive pill.
The pill is a prescription method of contraception, commonly used by young women as it’s not seen as one of the more “permanent” forms of birth control. There are two types of pill; the combined pill (which contains the hormones progesterone and oestrogen) as well as the progesterone only pill (which does not contain any oestrogen). Both work by preventing your body from releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle.
 
The progesterone only pill is said to be a little less effective than the combined pill. According to the Irish website thinkcontraception.ie, it is 96%-99% effective when used correctly, as opposed to the combined pill which is over 99% effective when used properly. However, it is important to ensure proper use to avoid unplanned pregnancy. To make sure this form of contraception is as effective as possible, it must be taken every day at around the same time. Every pill you forget to take increases your chance of pregnancy.
 
There are some important things that Think Contraception notes when using the pill as your sole method of contraception. Vomiting, diarrhoea and antibiotics and some other prescribed drugs can interfere with the effectiveness of the pill. As well as this, the combined pill is not suitable for women who smoke or have high blood pressure. If any of the above are an issue for you, make sure you speak to your doctor and use a backup contraception such as condoms in the case of vomiting, diarrhoea or being on medication.
 
Many women are put off the idea of the pill because they are afraid of the side effects. They worry that it will cause acne or make them gain weight, however a lot of women don’t experience any of these symptoms. If you find that it’s not agreeing with you, it’s as simple as going back to your doctor and being switched to another type. There are many different brands, and it’s all about finding the one that suits you the best.
 
But apart from the obvious advantage of preventing pregnancy, there are plenty of other good things about the pill. Think Contraception notes that some types are used to lighten heavy and painful periods. The pill comes in handy because it doesn’t interrupt sex, which is what puts many people off using condoms. It’s non-invasive, and there’s no needles or anesthetic involved, so if you can rely on yourself to take it on a daily basis, this may just be the contraception choice for you.
 
The pill does not prevent against STD’s, so it should always be teamed with a condom unless you know about your partner’s sexual history. No method of contraception is 100% effective and it’s important to remember this when you’re planning on having sex. If you have any worries or need clarification don’t be afraid to make an appointment in your local doctor’s office.
 
For additional information about the pill and other forms of contraception, visit thinkcontraception.ie.