Most people know that there are two different types of contraceptive pill
- containing 2 hormones (oestragen and progestagen) and typically provided in packs of 21 tablets.
- containing 1 and typically provided in packs of 28 tablets.
What many people don’t usually know is that there are a lot of different types and brands of combined pill.
Each contain similar, but slightly different types of hormones - it is usually the progestagen that is different.
It is important to say that many people get no side effects on the pill or they get positive effects like a reduction in period pain or an improvement in acne. But if you are experiencing problems the information below may help you to decide what to try next.
Here’s a quick guide that might help you find the right type for you
WHERE TO START?
Most people start with a pill that has ‘30 micrograms of ethinyloestradial and 150 micrograms of leveonorgestrel’ hormone.
Example brands include Microgynon, Ovranette, Levest, Rigevidon.
We usually recommend starting with one of these as they have the lowest risk of thrombosis and they are good at controlling your cycle.
But if you get symptoms such as low mood, loss of libido, oily skin/hair then you may wish to try a different type of progestagen:
WHAT TO TRY NEXT?
In this case, you might consider a pill with ‘ethinyl oestradiol’ and a progestagen called ‘norgestimate or desogestrel’.
Example brands include Cilest, Lizinna, Marvalon, Gedarel 30.
These pills can be associated with slightly different side effects (nausea, breast tenderness).
They also tend to be good for your skin and can help if you have acne.
ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS?
If you are still experiencing troublesome side effects then there are other options.
It might be worth going to a specialist contraception clinic to discuss your options. Keeping a diary of the side effects that you experience can be helpful when choosing a pill otherwise its quite hard to remember how you felt on a particular pill a couple of months ago.
This information can be difficult to communicate - please reply to this thread if I can help explain anything further.
I’d like to be able to recommend a good way of keeping track of side effects - does anyone know a good contraceptive side effect tracker app?