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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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.