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Information about the different contraceptive options

Hormonal contraceptives are available in various different forms, all of which are clinically proven and highly effective at preventing pregnancy. 3.5 million women use these types of contraceptives across the UK because they are reliable as well as convenient to use. Today we have more than 30 different hormonal contraceptives to choose from, allowing you to find the right one to suit your body and lifestyle with a minimal risk of developing side effects.

OnlineClinic offers a comprehensive range of contraceptives to successfully prevent pregnancy. Contraceptive options including combined contraceptive pills, mini pills, contraceptive patches, contraceptive rings and morning after pills can be ordered quickly and confidentially online here at OnlineClinic.

Dr Hilary Jones Dr Hilary Jones
OnlineClinic Medical Advisor

"Used by millions of women, hormonal contraception helps to effectively prevent pregnancy. OnlineClinic allows you to discreetly order your contraception online and have it conveniently delivered to your door."

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What is contraception?

Contraception (also referred to as birth control) refers to the methods used by men and women to protect themselves against pregnancy. There are multiple methods of contraception available to use, so that you can find the one that's perfect for you and your particular set of needs. Often it's best to try different methods until you find the one you like the most.

Hormonal contraception is one of the most reliable and convenient ways to prevent pregnancy, with the majority of variants being more than 99% effective if used correctly. By simply taking a daily pill, patch or using a contraceptive ring you are provided with the protection, without it inhibiting sexual spontaneity. The most widely used hormonal contraceptives are taken for 21 days followed by a seven-day break, which is helpful in regulating your hormonal cycle.

In addition to their ability to provide protection against conception, hormonal contraceptives may also be able to treat acne, endometriosis, painful or heavy periods and premenstrual syndrome.

How does hormonal contraception work?

Although hormonal contraceptives are taken / used in different ways, they essentially work in the same way to prevent pregnancy. They work by:

  1. Stopping sperm from reaching an egg
  2. Sterilising the reproductive function
  3. Preventing ovulation (the release of eggs)
  4. Blocking eggs from reaching the uterus

To be more specific, the majority of hormonal contraceptives have both progestogen and oestrogen. These are synthetic versions of hormones that normally regulate the female cycle, but when they are used in an artificial form, which is the case with some contraceptives, they can stop ovulation.

Ovulation is the process during which an egg is released from the ovaries and passed down the fallopian tubes to the womb. However, apart from influencing ovulation, hormonal contraception also changes cervical mucous to make it difficult for sperm to pass to the womb to fertilise an egg, while also altering the womb lining to make it difficult for an egg to grow.

How to use contraception

Each type of contraceptive is taken / used in a different. The below table gives a brief overview of usage instructions for the various types of contraceptive methods.

Contraceptive Usage
Mini pill

Contains 28 pills. Each pill should be taken in the correct order over the course of three months.

Combined pill

Contains 21 pills, lasting three months. This is followed by a seven-day break. The next pack can then be started. Pills should be taken at the same time each day.


The NuvaRing is inserted once a month. After 21 days of insertion, a seven-day break should be taken.


Apply the contraceptive patch (Evra) once a week for three weeks. This is followed by a patch free week. The patch should only be used three times a month.

Barrier protection

This refers to condoms and dental dams. Condoms are used for penetrative sex and shouldn't be used as the only method of contraception, but do offer protection from STIs. Dental dams are used for oral sex.


Implants are fitted by medical professionals at a clinic. They are small and release hormones into the bloodstream. Implants remain inserted for three years and are removed by a doctor, before the next implant is inserted.


Medical professionals administer injections. It is usually injected into the bottom and releases hormones into the bloodstream. Injections remain effective for up to 13 weeks and should be used on the first day of your period for maximum effectiveness.


This takes a lot of effort to insert and remove, but is 92-96% effective and is kept inserted for 30 hours, before removal.

Cervical cap

This is inserted prior to sex and is 92-96% effective.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

The IUD (coil) requires an examination to determine the correct size. Insertion can be uncomfortable, but is effective for five to ten years.


Spermicide is used in the form of gels, creams, foams and suppositories. It is used alongside condoms, a diaphragm or cervical cap. Whilst Spermicide can be used on its own, it's most effective when used with other contraceptives.

Cervical cap

Insert this by yourself prior to sex. The cervical cap is 92-96% effective.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception (the morning after pill) is available in the form of Levonelle and ellaOne. For maximum effectiveness these are taken very soon after unprotected sex.

Contraceptive sponge

Squeeze the sponge once before insertion. This is used for 30 hours and is 91% effective. This isn't recommended to women who have had children previously.

Side effects and precautions

Side effects can be a concern when it comes to choosing a hormonal contraceptive. Many women tend to experience mild side effects to start off with, but they pass very quickly once your body has adjusted to the hormones. The most common side effects can potentially include nausea, mood changes, breast tenderness, headaches, spotting and minor weight gain. The more suitable a contraceptive is for you, the fewer side effects you will experience. This is why you may have to try more than one contraceptive before you find the perfect one.

Before you commit to ordering a contraceptive online, there are a number of precautions that you should consider. Certain health problems can restrict which hormonal contraceptives you can use. Such health concerns can include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Immobility
  • A smoking addiction
  • High cholesterol
  • Phlebitis
  • Being overweight
  • Having a family history of thrombosis

Contraceptive options

The main types of hormonal contraception available are

Monophasic pills

This is the most common type of oral hormonal contraception available. They are taken daily for 21 days followed by seven pill-free days. Cilest and Microgynon both fall under this category.

Phasic pills

Phasic pills have two or three sections of different coloured pills in a strip. Each different coloured pill contains a different concentration of hormones and should be taken in the correct order for 21 or 28 days. Binovum and Logynon are phasic oral contraceptives.

Every Day (ED) pills

These contain 28 pills: 21 active and seven inactive. The seven inactive pills are designed to assist you in creating a routine for taking your contraceptive. You will take one pill per day continuously without a break. It's important to remember to take these pills in the correct order. Examples are Logynon ED and Microgynon ED.

Progestogen-only pills (mini-pills)

The mini-pill is a low dose variation of the traditional pill, which contains only one hormone. It should cause fewer side effects but may be slightly less effective. It is often recommended for older women, smokers, diabetics and women who are breastfeeding.

Patches and rings

Contraceptive patches and rings are a newer form of hormonal contraception than the pill or mini-pill, but are just as effective in providing you with protection against pregnancy. Containing both synthetic progestogen and oestrogen, the patch and ring only need to be used once a month, for three weeks at a time and with a one-week break, to provide you with effective protection.

Buying treatment

Contraception is used by women looking to successfully prevent pregnancy. We have multiple contraceptive options for you to buy here at OnlineClinic to suit your particular requirements. These contraception options include emergency contraceptives, patches and rings, mini-pills, monophasic pills, phasic pills and every day pills. These highly effective contraceptives are available to buy in a variety of dosages in the form of tablets, patches and rings. You can order the contraceptive you require at OnlineClinic after completing a simple and confidential online consultation. This can be done for free with no obligation. To learn more about these treatments, visit their respective product pages.

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