Contraceptive pills are a form of hormonal contraception that is prescribed to females by doctors. If used correctly, that is taken at the same time every day, the pill is highly effective up to 99.7%, however if pills are missed its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy slips to 91%. The pill may produce side-effects and does not provide any protection against the spread of STI’s, so it’s a good idea to use a condom as well.
Some women find that contraceptive pills make their periods more regular and can reduce acne. The price of contraceptive pills varies from $1 to $20 per month depending on which type you use and whether you qualify for a concession discount. Remember, you need to visit your doctor or a family planning clinic to get a script before you can buy the pill.
There are two main types of Pills; The Combined Pill and The Mini Pill.
The combined pill is usually called ‘The Pill,’ it contains two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.
It works by stopping your body from producing an egg (ovum) each month, by thickening the mucus at the entrance of your womb to prevent sperm from entering and by preventing an egg from implanting in your womb.
Most packs contain 21 hormonal pills and 7 sugar pills (no hormone) or 24 hormone pills and 4 sugar pills.
The Pill takes 1- 12 days to begin working.
The Combined Pill might not be suitable for women who suffer from certain types of migraines, are very overweight, have high blood pressure or liver conditions or are smokers.
The Mini pill contains only one hormone; progestogen. Each pack contains 28 hormonal pills and no sugar pills.
It functions the same way as The Pill, by preventing an egg (ovum) from being released by the ovaries, thickening the mucus at the opening of the womb to prevent sperm entry and preventing any egg from sticking to the uterine wall.
The Mini Pill is used by women who experience side-effects from oestrogen, have certain types of migraines, have high blood pressure, suffer side effects from the combined pill or are breastfeeding.
The Mini Pill is not as effective at the Combined Pill.
The Mini Pill begins to work after 3 days of taking it. It often works better for older women.
This video from The USA is a good summary of the two types of contraceptive pills:
You can read about other types of contraception here. Your local doctor (GP) will be able to help you decide what type of contraception is best for you. Have a read of this page for tips on how to go about visiting a doctor on your own.
You can also go to one of the many family planning clinics located across the country listed below. These centers provide free or very low cost, confidential health care, counselling, information and referral. They are also able to organise translators for free or a very low cost. Check out YEAH’s website to find your closest sexual health clinic.
New South Wales: Sydney Area
Queensland: Brisbane Area
South Australia: Adelaide Area
Western Australia: Perth Area and here
Tasmania: All Over
Australian Capital Territory: All Over
Northern Territory: Darwin & Palmerston Area
If the above clinics aren’t near to you, this site lists all of the sexual health clinics Australia wide.
If you find that you are pregnant and don’t think you want to keep the baby there are many helpful and supportive places you can turn, click here for more information.