Taking an oral contraceptive pill is a convenient and reliable method of avoiding unintended pregnancies. It is a highly effective, well tolerated and safe method of contraception. The oral contraceptive pill is up to 99% effective when taken correctly.1-5 It is also a reversible form of contraception, where women who wish to become pregnant can get pregnant quickly after discontinuing use.
But the pill can also offer additional benefits.
When taking the combined oral contraceptive pill the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer is reduced.¹-² Studies have found that there is a slightly increased risk of breast cancer in women currently using either combined oral contraceptives or the progestogen only pill however the risk gradually disappears after cessation.1-5
The use of combined oral contraceptives can reduce the severity of painful periods. When you are on the pill you don’t ovulate, therefore the period you get during the pill free week is not a period but a withdrawal bleed, which can be lighter, shorter and less painful than regular periods.1-5
Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle are the biggest contributing factor to many of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While there is no cure for PMS, the combined oral contraceptive pill has been shown to be effective in treating and improving symptoms of PMS in some women.6
Endometriosis is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes painful periods or heavy periods. There is no known cure for endometriosis and it can be difficult to treat however combined oral contraception has been shown to ease the symptoms so that the condition does not interfere with your daily life.7
The combined oral contraceptive pill can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle for women with irregular or unpredictable periods. The combined oral contraceptive pill makes irregular or unpredictable periods occur on a monthly basis through the withdrawal bleed which takes place during the pill free interval, allowing patients to plan and expect their period every 4 weeks.