COMBINED PILL   The combined pill is a single pill which should be taken every day. It contains the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. These hormones work to prevent the release of an egg, so pregnancy cannot occur. It also thickens cervical mucus so sperm is less likely to get through and thins the womb lining so if, by chance, an egg is somehow fertilised then it is unlikely to be able to be able to attach itself.  

A 7 day break is generally taken between packets of 21 pills unless the packet caters for this (some contain 7 placebos to help maintain the routine of taking them and so contain 28 pills) during this time the woman will menstruate. Packets can be taken back to back for up to a 3 month period, but it is best not to do this unless you need to delay your period for a special holiday or event. Pills should be taken around the same time every day. They are around 99-100% effective when used properly but you need to be aware that some medicines and supplements will prevent it from working, so it is always best to consult your doctor before taking anything new.  

The pill needs to be prescribed from your doctor. You will normally start off with a 3 month supply and then move on to 6 month ones if you have no problems. There are possible side effects such as weight gain and acne but since there are a large variety of pills to try, you can change again and again until you find one that suits you. The pill is sometimes prescribed as in most women it lightens periods and so lessens menstrual pain. When going to ask about the pill make sure you are aware of your family medical history as you will be questioned about this to ensure the pill will not put you at risk of any disease. Some women cannot take the combined pill so they can be prescribed the POP (progesterone only pill) instead.  

The pill does not protect against STIs/STD's.

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