How do oral contraceptives work?

Oral contraceptives are still as popular as ever with over 3.5 million women using them in the UK, but do you actually know how they work? Do they all do the same thing and is there any difference if you use a different brand like Microgynon or Cerelle?

You usually need to see your doctor or sexual health clinic initially but once you have a prescription you can buy Cerelle online, as well as many of the other oral contraceptives on offer.

There are two types of oral contraceptive; the combined pill, and the mini or progestogen only pill. They do slightly different things.

How does the combined pill work?

The combined pill contains an artificial equivalent of oestrogen and progesterone, which are female hormones that you  produce from your ovaries.

The combined pill works in a few ways:

  • It prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs each month
  • It thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb, which makes it harder for the sperm to penetrate the egg if it does find one
  • It thins the lining of the womb, so even if a sperm does get lucky and fertilise an egg, the egg won’t easily be able to implant in the womb.

It’s this three pronged approach that makes it 99% effective.

The most common types of combined pill are Microgynon, Rigevidon, Celeste and Yasmin

How does the progestogen only pill work?

The Progestogen only, or mini, pill is slightly different to the combined pill. It only contains progesterone which is more suitable for some women due to the side effects.

The progestogen only pill works to thicken the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching the egg.

You need to take the progestogen only pill at the same time every day for it to be 99% effective.

The most common types of progestogen only pill are Cerelle, Cerazette (both are similar –Cerelle is the generic name for Cerazette), Noriday and Micronor.

How do I know which is best for me?

Which is best for you will depend on whether you have any additional health conditions, whether you smoke, what your BMI is, how old you are, and whether you already have children.

Visiting your doctor or sexual health clinic will help find the right oral contraceptive for you. Once you have a prescription you can buy Cerelle online, as well as many of the other contraceptives mentioned.


NHS UK – Combined Pill

Lloyds Pharmacy: Online Doctor – What types of contraceptive pill are there?

NHS UK – Progestogen Only Pill

Lloyds Pharmacy: Online Doctor – Progestogen only pill?

By WebEditor

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