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Contraception

Dr Hilary Jones discusses the different contraceptive methods.
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Hormonal contraceptives are considered to be the most effective form of contraception for preventing pregnancy. They are available in a variety of forms including the combined contraceptive pill, mini pill, patch and vaginal ring. Proven to be almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, they are the preferred form of contraception for more than 3.5 million women across the UK.

Our fast and convenient service is tailored to suit your lifestyle, meaning you can get your contraceptive delivered to your door the very next working day. Just complete our free and quick no obligation consultation to order your contraceptive today.

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Available treatments

See list of contraceptives > Yasmin   Bayer
  • Almost 100% effective in preventing pregnancy
  • Contains both artificial progestogen and oestrogen hormones
  • Reduced risk of side effects – such as weight gain
  • Free same day and next day delivery service
Order Yasmin Now More about Yasmin >>

What are the benefits of hormonal contraception?

Hormonal contraception is regarded as one of the most reliable and successful ways of preventing pregnancy. If used correctly, many treatments have proven to be more than 99% effective. Whether it's taking a pill daily for 21 days or wearing a patch and changing it once a week, these contraceptives provide a convenient solution so that you can enjoy sex without worrying about pregnancy.

Another benefit is the vast amount of hormonal contraceptives, with over 30 different types of combined pill and a wide range of mini pills available in the UK. This means you will have a better chance of finding the perfect contraceptive solution for you, with the lowest risk of side effects. Many contraceptive pills carry additional benefits and can be used to treat other problems, such as: acne, painful periods, heavy periods, premenstrual syndrome and endometriosis.

Are there any side effects?

Many women have concerns regarding oral contraception because of the potential side effects. It's true that women starting the contraceptive pill for the first time can experience side effects. However, these are relatively minor and pass fairly quickly. Initial side effects you can experience include:

Considered common Considered uncommon Considered rare
Headache Skin rash Vagina discharge
Nausea Severe migraines Breast discharge
Slight weight Loss of sex drive Increased sex drive             
Slight spotting between periods Slight breast enlargement Melasma (Chloasma)
Mood changes Severe nausea Difficult wearing contact lenses

Am I at risk of experiencing side effects?

Picking the right contraceptive is paramount in reducing any potential side effects. You may need to try more than one before you find a pill that works well for you. Anyone with any of the following health problems may be restricted as to which type of contraception they can use:

  • Smoking addiction
  • Being overweight
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of thrombosis
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Vein inflammation, such as phlebitis
  • Immobility

Will I gain weight while on the pill?

There are many myths surrounding the pill and weight gain. In some cases this myth may even influence whether or not a women chooses to use a pill or not. However, there is no evidence to suggest that using hormonal contraception like the pill can influence a women’s weight. All medications carry a risk of side effects, however this does not mean everybody experiences them. Most studies show that only a small percentage of women will experience weight gain If you do experience slight weight gain, it is more likely water retention, which is often temporary and will usually go away within three months after you’ve started your contraceptive pill.

What do I do if I miss a pill?

If you forget to take your pill at the normal time it is advised you take it as soon as you remember. You should continue to take the remaining pack as usual and have your seven day pill free break as normal. If you miss a pill however you should follow these guidelines:

If one pill is missed or you start your new pill pack one day late:

If you forget to take one pill you should take it as soon as possible, even if this means taking two pills at the same day. You resume your pill pack as normal. During this time you will still be protected against pregnancy and will not require additional contraception for protection.

If two or more pills are missed or you start you new pill pack more than one day late:

If you forget to take more than one pill you should take the last missed pill as soon as possible, even if this means taking two pills at the same time. You should leave out the other missed pills and continue to take one pill daily as normal. During this time you won’t be protected against pregnancy. This means if you choose to have sexual intercourse you must use a barrier contraceptive for the next seven days to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

If there are seven or more pills left over in your pack after the last missed pill, you should finish the pack and have your seven-day ‘pill break’ as normal, before starting the next pill strip. If however there are less than seven pills left in your pill pack after your last missed pill, you should finish the pack and begin a new pack immediately. During this time you will not have a seven-day ‘pill free’ break.

You may require emergency contraception such as the morning after pill if you have had unprotected sex in the last seven days and have missed more than one pill. If you are unsure about any of the information above you should speak to a registered doctor for further advice.

What if I vomit or experience diarrhoea?

If you vomit within 3 hours of taking your pill, it may mean that it hasn’t been fully absorbed into your bloodstream. In this case you should wait till the vomiting subsides and take another pill as soon as possible, at the usual time. During this time you should still be protected against pregnancy. If you continue to vomit your pill may be less effective. You should therefore follow the guidelines on ‘what do I do if I miss a pill?’ mentioned above. If you experience severe diarrhoea, your pill will be less effective. You should consider the same advice for missing a pill.

How does the pill differ to other contraceptive methods?

There are a number of different hormonal contraceptives available that provide daily contraceptive cover. Some of these contraceptive methods might be more suited to you than others. While oral contraceptives such as the pill or mini pill are regarded as the most popular forms of contraceptives available today, recent studies have shown that more and more women are choosing alternative forms of hormonal contraception like the ring or the patch. If you are having trouble knowing which contraceptive method to choose from the 'My Contraception Tool' will help you deicide which contraceptive method is right for you.


Dr Hilary Jones, HealthExpress Medical Advisor

How do I know which contraceptive pill is right for me?

With over 20 different contraceptive pills available, it is essential that you find the one that is best for you and your body. This will usually depend on your overall health, lifestyle, and age. As oral contraceptive pills range from the combined pill which contains both oestrogen and progestogen, to the mini pill which contains progestogen only, knowing the difference between each pill will go a long way in helping you make an informed choice. If you seek advice on the contraceptive pill you should talk to a medical professional such as your G.P. Alternatively you can complete an online consultation here at HealthExpresss, where a doctor can prescribe the most suitable contraceptive for you.

Click here to find your contraceptive
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You will be asked a few brief questions about your condition, which will help our doctor recommend the correct treatment for you. 1
Within minutes our team of doctors will review your details. They will let you know via email or SMS what treatment is suitable for you. 2
After receiving reply from our doctors you can purchase your treatment. If you live in London, you may qualify for free same day delivery. 3
Fast Delivery
We offer free next day delivery on all orders as standard. If you live in London, you may qualify for free same day delivery, meaning we can get your medication to you in as little as 2 hours
Convenient Service
Booking an appointment for many women can be difficult. At HealthExpress our service is tailored to suit your schedule, which means you can get your contraceptive delivered to your door.