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Description: The contraceptive pill or oral contraception is a common form of contraception for women. There are two main types:

  • Combined Oral Pill (COP)
  • Progesterone only pill (POP or mini pill)

Combined Oral Pill: – It contains two hormones – oestrogen and progestogen – which prevent ovulation (maturation of an egg), thinning of uterine wall and thickening of cervical (entrance of uterus) secretions.

Considerations: – A full medical history is essential before prescription as this pill is not suitable for women who have certain conditions such as high blood pressure, circulatory disease or diabetes. Mothers feeding child below six months. Women over 35 who smoke are advised to choose another method of contraception (there are several types of pills to choose from for suitability).

The combined pill is not reliable if taken after a 12 hour delay or in symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Some drugs such as antibiotics can also affect the pills effectiveness. Some women may experience side effects such as nausea, headaches and weight gain (only 1-2 kg weight is gained after one year use) that is temporary and settle without any treatment.

The pill offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and diseases such as HIV/AIDS etc.

Non contraceptive health benefits of Pills:

Reduction in following

  • Endometrial and ovarian cancers
  • Painful and heavy periods, menstrual cycle disorders
  • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Benign breast disorders
  • Acne
  • Endometriosis, genital and vaginal infections

In case you forget to take a pill: – If taking of a pill is missed then one pill may be taken immediately or two taken at the usual time. If two or more pills have been missed consecutively from the first 21 pills then one needs to be taken immediately and rest at the usual time. If the woman is having intercourse then condoms need to be used for seven days. In case of not having taken any of the colored pills, the pack needs to be discarded and dosage started with a new pack at usual time.

Availability: – All MSS centres and pharmacies

Effectiveness: – 99% if taken correctly.


Myth: – Taking oral pills can cause cancer.

Fact: – On the contrary, Oral pills help to protect against the cancer of the uterine wall and ovaries.

Myth: – Taking contraceptive pills can cause obesity

Fact: – The weight increases only by about one to one and half kilogram, in the first year of use and not in subsequent years. This can be controlled by exercise.

Myth: – Pills cause giddiness.

Fact: – Giddiness may be experienced only during the first few days of use. This can be avoided if pill is taken after dinner or at bed time.

Myth: – The pill causes irregular periods.

Fact: – The pill makes the periods regular rather than irregular.