Hormonal Method

The pill is a small tablet containing hormones that needs to be swallowed at the same time every day.




Highly effective

Widely available

Easy to use



    The Pill is a tablet you take once a day – there are a few different types of pill. The combined pill contains estrogen and progestogen, which stop the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens the cervical mucus, which keeps the sperm from getting to the egg. The so-called mini pill contains only 1 hormone, a progestogen, which offers an alternative to those affected by the hormone estrogen.

    You should swallow the pill at the same time every day, whether or not you have sex. Ask your healthcare provider whether the combined pill is a suitable method of contraception for you based on your medical history and, if yes, which is the best type for you.

    The Pill

    HOW TO

    Taking the pill is the same as taking other tablets, you put one in your mouth and swallow it. You should swallow the pill at the same time every day, whether you have sex or not. Forgetting to take your pill means it won’t be as effective as it can be and you could find yourself getting pregnant. If you miss 1 or more pills, or start a pill pack too late, have a look into the Patient Information Booklet provided to you with the pill pack. In case of doubt, or if you experience any side effects, please talk to your healthcare provider.

    Different pills have different cycles, with some pill types you have to take hormone-free pills during the breaks to maintain continuous intake. Check if our pill reminder is available in your country so you can stay on top of your routine and stay protected.


    • Highly effective when used as directed
    • It’s easy to use
    • It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex
    • Some pills may reduce heavy and painful periods
    • Some pills may have a positive effect on acne
    • Can be taken over a long period of time
    • It may cause some women to experience headaches and mood swings
    • It requires keeping track of the number of days taken
    • It may cause breast tenderness, nausea, headache, weight gain
    • It may cause changes in your menstruation cycle
    • It is not common, but some women who take the pill develop high blood pressure
    • It is rare, but some women will have blood clots, heart attacks and strokes
    • Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)


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    Your HCP

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      No, there are many different types of contraceptive pills available, and each of them is slightly different. The important thing is to follow the instructions that come with your pill package exactly. It’s important to take the pills as directed because missing pills or taking them not on time make them less effective. If you have any questions about how to take the pill, ask your healthcare provider for further advice.

      Hormones used in the pill are mostly a synthetic form of the natural hormones progestogen and estrogen. Some contain only a progestogen, e.g. progestogen-only pill, others a combination of progestogen and estrogen, e.g. the so-called combined pill. some pills also contain folate (Vitamin B9)
      The combined pill mimics a pregnancy to your body, although you are not pregnant, what prevents you from ovulation. It also thickens the mucus in the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to get through.
      The progestogen only pill works by thickening the mucus at the entrance to the womb. In some women it may also prevent ovulation.

      Some contraceptive pills can improve the condition of your skin and hair; others help with symptoms such as acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), improve your folate status (Vit B9) and irregular menstrual bleeding.

      The pill is one of the most reliable forms of contraception, giving a very high degree of protection against pregnancy when taken as directed.

      No it is not necessary to take a 'pill break' unless you want to get pregnant. There is no effect on long-term fertility even if you take hormonal contraceptives for years.

      Hormonal contraception does not cause infertility. It may take a bit of time for your body to return to a state where you can become pregnant again but this is only temporary. Fertility returns to its previous level no matter how long you have taken a hormonal contraceptive method for. In a big surveillance study, about 20% of women who stopped taking the combined pill for getting pregnant, already got pregnant within four weeks after they stopped pill intake. More than 40% got pregnant within the first three months after stopping the pill.

      Lots of different pills are available, and they are all slightly different. If you find the pill you are on does not suit you, there are plenty of others to choose from! However, usually it takes some months until your body is accustomed to a certain pill and too frequent changes would prevent you from finding any appropriate type. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider who will assist you.

      If you have not used any contraceptive with hormones in the previous month, you should start taking the pill on the first day of your period. If you start taking the pill on the first day of your menstruation you are immediately protected against pregnancy. You should pick a time of day which will be easy to remember and make sure that you take every active pill in your pill pack at around that same time every day.

      It depends on the type of pill. Most pills work across a 28 day cycle including the pill-free or placebo interval, which means you have one pack for each cycle.
      With some you have to take a hormonal pill every day. With others you take a hormonal pill every day for 21 or 24 or even 26 days of the cycle, and then have a hormone free break of seven or four or only two days where either no pills are taken or a hormone free pill is taken.
      During this break, you will still be protected and you will have a menstruation-like bleed.


      A coalition of international partners with an interest in sexual and reproductive health