Combo BCPs

We’re often told that the pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. But no pill contains either hormone - Zaria Gorvett

Combo BCPs
Combo BCPs

image by: Celeste Hanlon

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The strange truth about the pill

Every brand of combined pill on the market contains the same type of synthetic oestrogen, ethinyl estradiol, and one of eight synthetic progesterones, called progestins. Ethinyl estradiol prevents the body from releasing an egg every month, while progestins thicken the mucus at the entrance to the cervix and conspire to make the womb inhospitable. Even if an egg slips out and becomes fertilised, it won’t be able to settle down and start growing.

So far, so good. But though the hormones are effective at preventing pregnancy, they aren’t perfect matches for our natural hormones. The end result is that these synthetic versions also have effects that you would never get from raw progesterone.

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 The strange truth about the pill

There are nine different kinds of hormones in the contraceptive pill – some of which have subtle 'masculinising' effects. Why? And should we be concerned?


If combined hormonal contraceptives are started within the first 5 days since menstrual bleeding started, no additional contraceptive protection is needed.


LO/OVRAL-28 is a combination oral contraceptive containing the progestational compound norgestrel and the estrogenic compound ethinyl estradiol.

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