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Combined Pill (COC)

A pill that contains 2 hormones – oestrogen and progestogen.

It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and thins the lining of the uterus.

COC is 99% effective if used according to the instructions



  • Usually makes bleeding regular, lighter, and less painful
  • Reduces risk of cancer of ovary, uterus, and colon
  • No link to weight gain
  • Fertility returns immediately once it’s stopped, with no long-term effects
  • Suitable until age 50 for non-smokers with no health concerns
  • Can improve acne in some people


  • Not suitable if you are a smoker aged over 35, overweight or have certain medical conditions
  • Can increase your blood pressure
  • Small risk of serious side effects including blood clots or breast or cervical cancer
  • May experience temporary side effects including headaches, nausea, breast tenderness or mood changes
  • You can choose not to have monthly bleeds/shorter bleed; with some flexibility of how to take it.
  • No protection against STI’s


  • May not work if have vomiting or severe, long-lasting diarrhoea
  • Need to be aware of missed pill guidance and how to access emergency contraception if necessary
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the pill
  • Break through bleeding and spotting is common in the first few months

Further Information: