Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill

Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill


There are several contraceptive pills available in Ireland. Most contain a combination of two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. The progestogen-only pill or “Mini Pill” is described in a separate article.

What is it?

The combined oral contraceptive pill, often simply called “the Pill”, contains oestrogen and progestogen. There are different amounts of oestrogen and different types of progestogen depending on the particular pill.

How effective is it?

When used carefully, it can be more than 99% effective. All combined pills are equally effective – those with less oestrogen are just as good for contraception as those with higher doses of oestrogen.

How does it work?

It prevents ovulation (the release of an egg each month) and therefore fertilisation can not take place.

Who is it suitable for?

Side effects

How do I take it?

When is it safe to have sex?

What if I forget to take a pill?

What else reduces the effectiveness of the pill?

Do I need check-ups?

Contraceptive vaginal ring

Contraceptive patch

Rare oestrogen side effects