How reliable is the contraceptive pill?

Posted on Mar 10 2015 - 10:09pm by Staff

There’s certainly no shortage of contraceptives out there for women to choose from these days, but exactly how effective are they? One of the most popular methods is the contraceptive pill. This method is easy to use and can be accessed through your family doctor or online medical services such as LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

If you’re already on this form of birth control or you’re considering starting it, it’s important to ensure you’re up to speed when it comes to contraceptive pill effectiveness. This brief guide should give you the information you need.

The basic facts

These pills work by preventing ovulation. They also they make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg and for eggs to implant in the womb lining. As long as you take them correctly, they are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Read the instructions

Of course, they only work this well if you use them properly. The contraceptives you get will come with detailed instructions. Don’t simply skip over this information. By taking a little time to read it thoroughly, you can avoid making a whole range of mistakes.

Here are some general tips to bear in mind if you’re taking a combined pill:

  • If you start the pill within the first five days of your period, you will be protected straight away (unless you have a short menstrual cycle of 23 or fewer days).
  • If you start on any other day of your cycle, you will need to use additional contraception (such as a condom) until you’ve taken the pill for seven days.
  • You have missed a pill if you take it more than 24 hours after you should have done. Missing one pill isn’t a problem. Simply take the last pill you missed, even if this means taking two in one day. However, if you miss two or more, your contraceptive cover will be affected. You’ll need to take the last pill you missed and you should use an extra method of contraception for seven days.
  • If you throw up within two hours of taking your pill, it might not have absorbed into your bloodstream fully. You’ll need to take another one straight away and then continue to take the rest of your pack as normal. If you keep being sick, use another form of contraception while you’re ill and for two days after you recover.
  • Severe diarrhoea can also stop your pill from working properly. Keep taking your pills as normal, but use extra contraception while you’re ill and for two days after.

Consider other options

There’s no doubt that the pill can be a highly effective birth control option. However, if you want even greater peace of mind, you can use an additional contraceptive (such as a condom) at all times as well.

Also, if you find it hard to take the pill properly, it’s worth considering alternatives. For example, perhaps the contraceptive implant, injection, patch or intrauterine device would suit you better. You can get the full lowdown on your options from your doctor, local sexual health clinic or trusted sources online.

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