When you think of the pill, what is the first thing you think about? Sex or pregnancy? Actually the pill is not just about sex. Many girls are prescribed the pill for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with ‘doing it’ at all.
The benefits of the pill also go far beyond the prevention of pregnancy. It can make periods more regular and controllable; protect against ovarian and womb lining cancers, and prevent pelvic inflammatory disease – a major cause of infertility in women.
The pill is now used in the UK by over 3.5 million women between the ages of 16 to 49, that’s a quarter of women in this age group. Estimates worldwide suggest it is the contraception of choice for over 100 million women. With that many women on the pill, you needn’t be worried about going to your doctor and asking to start it. There is no age limit for being prescribed the pill, as a contraceptive, as long as the doctor deems you mature enough. But there are many girls who are prescribed the pill for other reasons, such as heavy periods.
The pill does not protect again STIs, therefore relying solely on the pill when you jump into bed (or, errrmm, some random place) with someone is not a good idea. It is still very important to use a condom (see our condom page) until you are in an STI-free long-term relationship. Remember pregnancy and abortions are seriously life changing and risky events – statistically being on the pill is a lot less dangerous than childbirth. Anyway you never know when you may end up having sex with someone after a few drinks so it’s worth being doubly prepared, in case that condom breaks.
If you are not on the pill and you are in the situation where a condom has broken, or if the guy was so hot, or you’d had one too many vodkas it was always going to happen, the Morning-After-Pill is your answer. The Morning-After-Pill is a form of emergency contraception which can only be used effectively once every month, so it’s not something to plan around. If you do need it head down to your GP, local health centre or family planning clinic where you can get it for free, if you’re under 25. You will also be offered a free STI screening, which would be wise to take, just to check you have not caught anything. You can also get the Morning-After-Pill from your local pharmacy, if you’re over 16, but this will set you back around £30!
These days we take the pill for granted – in fact we mostly take contraception for granted as it is freely given. But never forget that back in the day women fought long and hard to get you this as a right.
If you are interested in starting the pill you will need to go to your doctor so they can take a full medical and family history to make sure that the pill is right for you. There are loads of different types of pills available today, so if you are not getting on with one, another may suit you better, just ask to try another type. You will be given all the information that you need to know, about when to take it, how often, what to do if you miss a dose and your chances of getting pregnant whilst on it. Contraception is free to everyone under the age of 25 years courtesy of the NHS.
The combined pill has been described as the most significant medical advance of the 20th century. Introduced in 1960, initially for married women only, the pill allowed women greater sexual freedom as it increasing became available to the masses.
This tiny pill played a major role in the women’s liberation movement, and is strongly associated with the swinging sixties. It allowed women to pursue careers, marry later and choose exactly how many children they wanted, and when, more easily. But it was not only women who felt empowered by the pill, men did too.
Basically ‘the pill’ works by fooling your body. The combined pill contains the synthetic hormones oestrogen and progesterone, whereas the minipill contains the synthetic hormone progesterone. Actually these hormones occur naturally in your body, so when you take the pill you are simply increasing the levels of these hormones in your body, not adding anything new. There have been hundreds and hundreds of studies on the pill, more than any other drug on the market, and it has been shown to be safe in young healthy girls.
The combined pill works to prevent your ovaries releasing an egg each month, it also thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching the egg, and prevents the uterus lining thickening. The minipill does not prevent the release on an egg, but works by thickening the cervical mucus and preventing the uterus lining thickening. This makes implantation of the egg into the uterus lining difficult. If the egg does not implant into the lining of the womb then pregnancy will not occur.
Super smart stuff eh? And it all takes advantage of what happens naturally.
Accidents happen in life. You might have had your handbag stolen. You may forget to take your pills with you whilst travelling. You may be stuck up a mountain doing research into peat bogs. You might need the Morning-After-Pill after a night in a strange town when the condom broke. Whatever the situation, if you’re over 18, you can always get a private prescription from our friends at The Online Clinic and get next day delivery.
The Online Clinic is fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission and we are happy to recommend them as a highly professional alternative if you can't get to your local national Health provision or choose not to. As an indication the cost of an online consultation and to have the Morning-after-Pill delivered the next day starts from £29.95 and the cost for a consultation and prescription for 3 months supply of oral contraceptive pills starts from the same price.
They mail overseas too just in case you’re doing the girls on tour bit. Click here and check out how it works.