Choosing the best contraceptive pill for you

Reviewed: May 7, 2021
A step by step guide to the best contraceptive pill for you

Whether you’re a first-time contraception user, you’re fed up of spotty skin, or you just can’t handle the cramps every month – it’s always good to know what contraception is best for you. Some contraceptives contain hormones, which cause side effects such as mood swings, spots and weight gain. If you want to weigh up your options and find the best one for you, then look no further – we’ve got the guide to mini pill vs combination pill.

What is the best contraceptive pill for preventing pregnancy?

The two types of contraceptive pill are the Combined Pill and the Mini Pill:

The main difference between the two are that the combined pill contains two hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, whereas the mini pill only contains progesterone.

Both pills can be up to 99% effective but are dependent on how reliable you are at taking it. If you forget a pill or have diarrhoea or vomit – then this can make the pill only 91% reliable, so it’s really important that it’s taken properly to effectively prevent pregnancy.

Best contraceptive pill for acne?

Acne is a common problem in many teenagers. During puberty your hormones are often upset which can result in side effects like acne. However acne doesn’t always occur during puberty, and can also be caused by excess oil on the skin combined with surface bacteria which blocks the pores.

Some contraceptives are also known to provoke acne, however others are very good for preventing it. The combined pill can improve acne. Dianette is the only combined pill that has been scientifically proven to work for acne. It can often take up to three months to see improvement and some pills can be more effective than others.

Best contraceptive for mood swings?

If you suffer from emotional symptoms like mood swings that are hallmarks of PMS, then the combination pill is thought to ease this slightly. Similarly, if you suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which causes extreme moodiness, depression, anxiety, then taking active birth control pills back-to-back to skip your period (only if approved by a Doctor) gives you a steady supply of hormones that can reduce PMS and PMDD symptoms. Read more about this on the Mayo Clinic.

What pill is best if I am overweight?

If you’re overweight, its advised that the mini pill is safer for you. Having a BMI of 35 or over can cause increased risk of stokes, blood clots and heart attacks and therefore means the combined pill is not suitable and you should opt for the mini pill instead.

The Mini Pill options are: Aizea, Cerazette, Cerelle, Desogestrel, Desomono, Desorex, Micronor, Nacrez, Norgeston, Noriday and Zeelleta.

Best contraceptive pill for weight loss?

The pill and weight gain is always a hugely asked question. Due to the fact that the contraceptive pill can cause a hormonal imbalance, many pills warn that a side effect may be weight gain, however there is no scientific data that proves the pill is directly linked in weight gain.

32% of Lowdown users stated they gained weight on the Combined pill, whereas 41% of users stated they gained weight on the Mini Pill.

What pill is the best for period pain?

Of course, all of these side effects differ from person to person, and unfortunately some females are more prone to period pain than others. However more females find an improvement in their period pain whilst on the combined pill.

If you’re a first time pill user, the best combined pill options are Microgynon, Rigevidon and Levest as they have a lower risk of blood clots, and are usually what the Doctor will prescribe first time.

What pill is best for heavy periods?

Both the Mini Pill and Combined Pill can help with heavy, painful periods. With the Mini Pill, this can take up to three months to occur and may cause irregular bleeding or spotting during this time – most users then go onto have no periods at all when using the mini pill for longer than three months.

47% of Lowdown users said the Mini Pill stopped their periods and only 7% of Combined Pill users said it stopped their periods, but 49% found it made them lighter. So dependent on whether you want your periods to stop altogether or just made lighter you can choose which suits you best.

Which contraceptive pill is best for migraines?

If you suffer from migraines, you should avoid the combined pill. Instead it would be best to take the Mini Pill. Taking the combined pill increases your risk of having a stroke if you suffer from migraines with aura.

What pill can I take at my age?

If you’re under 40, do not have any health conditions, and do not have other risk factors such as smoking and a high BMI, you can safely take both contraceptive pills. However if you are over 40 the combined pill is not a safe option, instead you should opt for the Mini Pill.

What pill can I take if I’ve just given birth?

If you’ve just given birth – you are able to take the mini pill straight away.

If the combined pill is your contraception of choice, you must wait 3 weeks until it is safe to use. However if you want to breastfeed, you will not be able to start until six weeks after giving birth.

After giving birth, the risk of developing blood clots increases. As the combined contraceptive pill can also increase the risk of blood clots, it is not safe to prescribe until at least 21 days after.

If you want to take the pill straight after you give birth, the Mini Pill like Cerazette and Cerelle are safe to use. 

What pill can I take if I’m breastfeeding? 

If you’re breastfeeding, you can take the mini pill straight away. The combined pill can only be taken weeks after giving birth if you are breastfeeding.

What contraceptive pills will affect my sex drive?

Some pills might lower your sex drive while others can improve it, this can vary from person to person and does not depend on the pill.

If your pill seems to be influencing your sex drive and you’re worried, you should contact a doctor to see if there are other options for you. 

47% of Lowdown users said the Combined Pill caused a loss of sex drive, compared to 50% of Mini Pill users.

Contraceptive pill side effects

Every single contraceptive pill has side effects that will vary from person to person. Some side effects take a couple of weeks to subside, and most resolve by 3 months as your body adapts to the pill. If you’ve been on the same pill for more than 3 months and the side effects are still an issue, it would be advised to speak to a doctor about trying a lower dosage pill – which may help with:

  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Headaches
  • Sore Breasts

It is clear that there is no perfect pill and it very much differs from person to person. It is worth speaking with your doctor to see what they recommend for you, as well as checking out our pill recommender!

This guide was brought to you by The Lowdown. We are the world’s first contraception review platform, providing real-life experiences from thousands of reviews collected from our community of men and women.

Why not leave us a review of your contraceptive experience? Whether you’ve got good things to say about the Mirena coil or had trouble with implant removal, we want to hear about it! Tell us about your experience and help people around the world find the right method for them.