How it works
The Lowdown is a platform that collects and analyses reviews and experiences for every method of contraception
Complete a short review telling us about a type or brand of contraception you’ve tried or are using
We will ask you some questions about you and your experience – including how satisfied you were, and whether you had any side effects
Your review will be published anonymously for others to read and compare
Everyone can filter reviews by age, life stage and satisfaction level to help find the most relevant reviews for them
We crunch the data to display trends and shared experiences for each type
We find out the most reported side effects for each type, and how it has impacted women’s periods, weight, moods and sex drive
Analysing 15 methods and 48 brands of contraception
From the combined pill to the hormonal coil, we’re collecting data on every major brand of contraception available in the UK
Most frequent questions and answers
Of course, which is why contraception is so complicated. What works for one person doesn’t work for another.
That’s why we want to try to collect a range of experiences, and see if some of them correlate to people’s age, life stage, and physical make up. Only by collecting this data at scale will we understand it further, and make finding and using contraception less complicated.
We also want to provide support to those who aren’t sure if the side effect they’re experiencing is due to the contraception they’re on.
A bad restaurant gets mostly consistently bad reviews on TripAdvisor. Why should contraception be any different? We have a theory that some types are generally better or worse than others, and our early results show this.
And finally, we’re very clear that you should never base your decision solely on someone else’s experience. Any decision should be discussed with a doctor or medical professional first.
We are confident that the majority of people are capable of assessing whether using something has a secondary effect on their mind and body.
One good way of verifying this is to look at the data collected by reviewers of different brands of pill that have the same active hormonal ingredients. The side effects women report are very similar.
Clinical trials on the adverse effects of contraceptives do of course regularly take place and create the extensive list of side effects you find in a patient information leaflet. However, it’s basically impossible to do a randomised placebo study on the pill because it would be ethically wrong to give a woman something that didn’t prevent pregnancy.
It’s also worth considering what ‘truth’ we are trying to get to. If someone feels that a contraception has impacted them a certain way, no amount of clinical trial will change their own truth. We feel we need to respect that.
The very point of The Lowdown is to structure people’s feedback in a way that helps manage this.
Our reviews are searchable via all range of satisfaction levels, to help you filter and get a range of viewpoints. The good, the average and the bad. So instead of flicking through chat room forums and comments that have ranked highly for SEO, you can read something that starts from the same starting point.
Over representation of extreme views is a problem every review site in the world has. We believe it’s only solved through scale and incentivising people to do social good. Our hope is that by sharing this site widely, and people of all age, experiences and interests completing it, we can create a moderate viewpoint.
We also remove and moderate extreme or offensive reviews, and allow others to report reviews to help our community self regulate.
All reviews on the site are anonymous, meaning we will never display your name, email address or personally identifiable information against them.
On the public review we display your age, whether you’ve had children, and your height and weight (if you’ve given it to us). But this is not displayed against a username or email address.
Initially we’re only collecting data on the main brands of contraception available in the United Kingdom. As The Lowdown grows, we hope to expand our list.
There are 16 main types of contraception, and for 6 of those types we collect data against specific brands – they are the Combined pill, Progestogen only pill, Hormonal coil, the Patch, the Injection and the Implant.
For a full list of each of the types, head to the ‘search contraceptives’ section on our homepage.
If you complete a review and can’t see the brand listed, please select the ‘Brand not listed’ option. Your review data will still go into the results for the type of contraceptive you are reviewing. For example, the Combined pill results for all brands and non listed brands here.
Please let us know if you want a new brand added by emailing us the full name of contraceptive to firstname.lastname@example.org