How it Works

• Contains two hormones called oestrogen and progesterone (stops the body releasing an egg and making other changes needed for pregnancy)
• Taken every day for 21 days followed by a 7 day break

Advantages

• Easy to use
• If used correctly it can be over 99% effective i.e. less than 1 in 100 women using the contraceptive patch (Note: with typical use its about 91% effective i.e. 9 in 100 get pregnant in a year)
• Can make periods lighter and less painful
• Reduces the risk of ovarian, uterine and bowel cancer

Disadvantages

• Can temporarily cause skin irritation, headaches, breast tenderness and mood changes
• Not suitable for smokers over the age of 35 or people who are very overweight
• Not suitable for people who get migraines with aura (a symptom or feeling that precedes the migraine)
• A low risk of some more serious side effects such as blood clots, breast and cervical cancer
• Missed pills, vomiting or diarrhoea can make it less effective

The Combined Pill

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