Oral contraception

Oral contraception or 'the pill' is taken daily and is highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Almost half of all contraceptive users take oral contraception - there are two types; the progestogen only pill (also known as “the mini pill”) and the combined pill - both contain hormones.

During the order form, we will ask you some questions about your health. Before approving your order, one of our specialist clinicians will review your answers, they may need to contact you to ask for further information by text or phone to ensure we prescribe safely.

Your options

Progestogen only pill

The progestogen only pill (POP) is taken daily - read more about how POP works, its benefits, side effects and risks.

The most common reason why people cannot take POP is that they have undiagnosed irregular bleeding or that it interacts with medication that they are taking.

We can prescribe two types of POP, if both of these are available in your area, you will be given the choice when you order, otherwise we will prescribe the first option if safe to do so:

Desogestrel 75 micrograms

You may know this as: Cerelle, Crescent, Cerazette, Zelleta or Feanolla.

Levonorgestrel 30 micrograms

You may know this as: Norgeston.

Combined pill

The combined pill (COC) is taken daily - read more about how the combined pill works, its benefits, side effects and risks.

The three most common reasons why people are unable to take COC are:

  • suffering from migraines with aura (changes to your vision and/or pins and needles or numbness, before, during or after the headache begins)
  • having high blood pressure
  • a family history of blood clots.

We can prescribe many different types of COC, if all of these are available in your area, you will be given the choice when you order, otherwise we will prescribe the first option if safe to do so:

Ethinyloestradiol 30 micrograms + levonorgestrel 150 micrograms

You may know this as: Microgynon, Rigevidon, Levest, Maxaeni or Ovranette.

Ethinyloestradiol 35 micrograms + norgestimate 250 micrograms

You may know this as: Cilest, Lizinna or Cillique.

Ethinyloestradiol 30 micrograms + desogestrel 150 micrograms

You may know this as: Marvelon or Gedarel 30.

Ethinyloestradiol 20 micrograms + desogestrel 150 micrograms

You may know this as: Mercilon or Gedarel 20.

Ethinyloestradiol 30 micrograms + gestodene 0.075 milligrams

You may know this as: Femodene, Millinette, Sofiperla or Katya.

Other types of contraception

There are many types of contraception, so you can choose the right method for your lifestyle. Don't be put off if the first type you use isn't quite right - you can try another.

Ordering from SH:24

We will ask you a number of health questions to assess your suitability for oral contraception - these are exactly the same questions that you would be asked by your Dr of healthcare professional. If you have any queries or need help when ordering, a clinician will be available to advise you.

Discreet, tamper proof, unmarked envelope - contraception package

Once the SH:24 clinician has approved your prescription, we will post your contraception out the same day (if you order before 2pm Mon-Fri), or the next working day (if you order after 2pm or on the weekend). We will text you with a tracking number once your order has been dispatched by 1st class Royal Mail. You will not have to be in or sign it, your order will arrive in discreet packaging.

Questions?

There are two types of oral contraception, read more about both types in our contraception section. If you are already taking oral contraception and want to know what type it is, click on these links to see if you can recognise the name or box of your combined pill or progestogen only pill. If you would like some advice on what pill might be most suitable for you, you can talk to us by text (07860 041 233).

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Temporary side effects such as headaches, spotty skin, nausea, breast tenderness, spotting and mood swings can occur but these often improve over time.

  • when taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, in the longer term there could be a small increased risk of some serious health conditions, such as thrombosis (blood clots) and breast cancer or cervical cancer. These risks reduce with time after stopping the pill.
  • when taking the progestogen only pill, periods may be irregular, lighter, heavier or more frequent or may stop altogether.

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  • Progestogen only pill: If you start your pill in the first five days of your cycle then it will be effective immediately. If you start your pill at any other time on your cycle then you should use additional protection for 48 hours.
  • Combined oral contraceptive pill: This depends on when in your cycle you start taking it. If you start within the first five days of your menstrual cycle then it will be effective immediately. If you start after the first five days of your cycle then the combined pill will not be effective for 7 days. If you are switching from one method of contraception to another then you should talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233) about using additional contraception.

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Yes, in our contraception section you are able to filter contraceptive options which may help you find out more about options to suit your lifestyle. There is a page for each of the 14 types of contraception, that tells you the benefits, how it works, why it works, side effects and Questions. You can also talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233).

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  • common names for the combined pill include: Microgynon, Rigevidon, Yasmin, Cerazette and Loestrin 30.
  • common names for the progestogen only pill include: Aizea, Cerazette, Cerelle and Nacrez.

If you don’t know the name of the pill you have taken, but think you might be able to recognise the packet, follow these links to find it and see whether it is a combined pill or progestogen only pill (POP).

Alternatively, you can talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233) who will be able to help.

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This is up to you. There are benefits and considerations for both oral contraception and longer lasting options. In our contraception section you can filter contraceptive options to help you find out more about the options that best suit you and your lifestyle.

If you are concerned about taking oral contraception over a long period of time, you may want to know that the benefits of long term use of the pill usually outweigh the risks. There are some reports that suggest there may be a very small increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer, but the pill does help protect against other types of cancers such as ovarian, colon and uterine cancers. There is no evidence to suggest the pill causes infertility. Most women who have had regular periods will find that their normal cycle will return within six months. Some women find that their usual cycles begin again very quickly after stopping, but for others it can take longer.

You can talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233) to find out more.

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To order the combined oral contraceptive pill, you will need to provide your blood pressure.

To get your blood pressure checked you can:

  • if you take the combined pill regularly, you may want to buy your own blood pressure monitor, they cost about £20. Find out how to take your own blood pressure reading here
  • your local pharmacy may have a BP machine you can use yourself, if not they should be able to take your BP for you
  • contact your GP (this is likely to be difficult at the moment because of Covid-19, so should probably be the last thing you try). GPs often have blood pressure monitoring machines in their waiting rooms that you can use, if not, ask for an appointment.
  • if you can’t get a blood pressure measurement and want to order your contraception, then you could order the progestogen only pill instead as you do not need to provide a blood pressure reading.

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When you first order from SH:24 we will prescribe a three month supply. This gives you time to see how oral contraception suits you. If you choose to repeat order, we can prescribe up to 12 months.

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Yes, once you have ordered oral contraception from SH:24, you can text (07860 041 233).

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We will send your contraception in discreet packaging by Royal Mail’s 24hr Tracked service. You will not have to be in or sign for the package.

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Yes. When your order is dispatched, we will text you with a link so that you can track your delivery.

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You can text (07860 041 233).

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SH:24’s clinician will review your answers and sign your prescription.

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If one or more of the following applies to you, we would strongly recommend that you visit a local clinic or speak to a clinician as soon as you can:

  • if you have been sexually assaulted
  • if you have any symptoms of infection
  • if you have had unprotected sex in the last five days and think you are at risk of being pregnant
  • if you have had unprotected sex in the last three days and think you may have been exposed to HIV (you can receive post exposure medication at clinics)
  • if you are under the age of 16.

Otherwise you can order a free STI test from us to complete at home.

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Always ensure you tell your doctor that you are taking oral contraceptive pills. Taking the combined pill it not advised if the surgery means you will be immobile for an extended period of time, this is because the combined pill can cause an increased risk of blood clots.

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