SIDE EFFECTS & SAFETY INFO.
The pill, the patch, the ring.
Combined hormonal contraception is used by millions of women in the UK. When used correctly it’s super-reliable at protecting against pregnancy. For some women it has other benefits too, like helping with acne, or making periods lighter or more regular.
This type of birth control is generally very safe. But there is some info you should be aware of before using it.
Some side effects are quite common when using hormonal contraception.
A lot of the time, milder side effects don’t stick around for too long. It can take a few weeks or a month or two for your body to adjust to the pill, patch or ring you’re using. After that, a lot of the time, side effects will pass.
But if you do get side effects that linger or cause a nuisance, sign in to your account and tell our prescriber, or let your doctor know. They can probably switch you to something else that works better.
Finding the right birth control can be a little bit trial and error. Because there are so many options, it might take a while to find and settle on the best one.
Our bodies change over time too and react differently to hormones. So what was perfect for you five years ago might not be today.
It’s really important to be aware of the risk of serious side effects. If you notice any signs of these, which we’ll go into more detail about below, don’t hang around – go to hospital and get medical attention right away.
Not all hormonal contraceptives are the same. This is a generalised guide to side effects and combined hormonal birth control. But the best guide to your specific pill, patch or ring will be in the paper insert you get in the pack.
You should go to hospital or see a doctor about these immediately.
The side effects below are either common (happen in up to one in 10 users) or very common (happen in more than one in 10 users) in women using combined hormonal contraception:
The below side effects are normally classed as common (seen by up to one in 10) in women using combined contraception:
Uncommon (less than one in 100 users) side effects in women using combined contraception may include:
The following side effects may be considered rare (affecting less than one in 1,000 users) in women using combined contraception:
Additional side effects (the frequency of these might not be stated or known) may include:
The risk of a blood clot inside a year is a little higher in women who are using the pill (around 5-7 out of 10,000 women) than it is in women who aren’t taking hormonal birth control (around 2 in 10,000 women).
If you’re concerned about side effects, speak to a doctor or pharmacist. If you’re having milder side effects and want to talk to someone about switching treatment, you can easily do this by signing in to your EveAdam account and leaving the prescriber a message.
Because they contain very similar active ingredients, the reported side effects of the combined pill (listed above) and the contraceptive patch are also likely to be similar too, although the frequency might be different.
There are also additional side effects that relate to the application of the patch, such as:
Women who use the contraceptive patch are at a slightly increased risk of having a blood clot in a year (about 6-12 in 10,000) compared to women using the combined pill (around 5-7 in 10,000) or not using hormonal contraception at all (around 2 in 10,000).
Check the leaflet for further details of side effects.
The hormones in the vaginal ring for birth control are very similar to the combined pill. There may be some variations in frequency, but many of the reported side effects of the pill listed above will also apply to the contraceptive ring.
Some side effects that are specific to the contraceptive ring are more to do with how it is applied, and may include:
The ring falling out (common)
Genital itching (common)
Discomfort in the vagina (common)
Pain or discomfort during sex (umcommon)
Pain when passing urine (uncommon)
Or vaginal injury (frequency unknown)
The risk of having a blood clot within a year is slightly higher (approximately 6-12 out of 10,000 users) with the ring than it is with some types of pill (approximately 5-7 out of 10,000 users).
More details can be found in the leaflet that comes with your ring.
The combined contraceptive pill isn’t suitable for everyone.
You shouldn’t use it if:
It’s important to tell your prescriber about your medical history during consultation. There are some conditions that may mean you can’t take the combined pill, and some others that mean you can take the pill but only under close supervision.
It’s very important for the doctor, pharmacist or clinician you’re consulting with to know if you have any of the following, or if you find that any of the following get worse while you’re taking the pill:
Make sure you tell the prescriber if you smoke or are overweight, because your risk of blood clots is likely to be higher.
The contraceptive skin patch has very similar hormonal properties to the combined pill. This means that if you have any of the conditions listed above, that make the combined pill unsuitable for you, the contraceptive patch is likely to be unsuitable as well.
In addition to this, it’s important for your prescriber to know if you have any skin problems, as this may affect your use of the patch.
If you weigh over 90kg, the patch may not be as effective, so it’s important to let your prescriber know about this too.
The same contraindications and warnings apply to both the contraceptive ring and the combined pill.
In addition to the above, it’s important for your prescriber to know if you have:
Some medicines may interact with combined hormonal contraceptives, and make them less effective. Some other medications may increase the risk of side effects of hormonal contraception. So it’s really important to let your prescriber know about any medication you’re taking, have recently taken, or are advised to start.
Similarly, if you receive treatment from a care provider other than the person prescribing hormonal contraception, it’s important to tell them about the birth control you’re using just in case this affects your treatment.
It’s particularly important for your prescriber to know if you’re taking:
Combined hormonal birth control may interfere with the function of:
Before taking your consultation with EveAdam, you’ll be asked to provide details of any medications you’re currently using in your medical profile. It’s important to list any and all of these before starting your plan, and to keep this updated once your plan has begun, to help our prescribers make sure the birth control you’re using is safe.