The Pill is an important healthcare tool for a number of people. Not only does it act as a very reliable form of contraception (if taken correctly) it can help make periods more regular, balance hormones and help with period pains.
But there are some really important things that you still need to know about the contraceptive Pill if you’re currently taking it or considering it….
You Need To Take It At The Same Time Every Single Day
One of the most important things to keep in mind when on the Pill is that you need to take it in or around the same time every single day. Missing a day or two can severely impact how effective the Pill is. Even taking the Pill at different times of the day can impact it.
Taking a small Pill every day doesn’t seem like the biggest ask but everyone on the Pill has forgotten to take it at one point or another. It happens, days blur, you get distracted and one day you look at your pack and released you missed a Pill. BUT its not okay to let this happen often. Make a habit of taking the Pill first thing in the morning or before you go to bed. Set a reminder on your phone if you need a reminder.
If you miss a day or are late taking it read the instructions that comes with your Pill very carefully or call your GP or pharmacist. With some Pills you may be instructed to take the Pill that you missed and that days one too (if you only missed one day that is).
If you miss a day or more of your Pill please do use a barrier method if you are going to be engaged in sexual activity to insure pregnancy does not occur. Sometimes it can take from 7 days or until your next period for you to be fully protected from pregnancy again.
Antibiotics Can Interfere With The Pills Effectiveness
Some doctors can be really good at reminding you about this, but with COVID and the lack of face to face contact with doctors this can go unchecked, but antibiotics can and do interfere with the Pill.
Even if your doctor doesn’t flag this with you just take it as a given that if you’re on an antibiotic it has interfered with your Pill. Continue taking it as normal (unless your doctor tells you otherwise) but also use a condom if you have sex. Again, it can take up to a full cycle for your Pill to fully protect you again from pregnancy after finishing your antibiotic so continue to use a barrier method in that time.
Throwing Up Can Also Interfere With Its Effectiveness
Another thing that can interfere with the Pill is if you throw up within a certain amount of time after taking that day’s Pill. If you get sick read the instructions about your Pill for advice. Having diarrhoea can also impact how effective the Pill is.
Everyone Reacts Different To The Pill
A little bit like the COVID vaccine, everyone reacts differently to each Pill. Sometimes it can take a bit of experimenting with you and your doctor to find the right one for you. And for some people the Pill just doesn’t agree with them at all.
Just because your friend doesn’t get on well with a certain Pill doesn’t mean that you will have the same experience.
It’s important to look for signs that you Pill isn’t agreeing with you. Unexplained pains in your legs are something to reach out to your doctor about ASAP. But it’s also important to note how you feel mentally on the Pill, some just don’t work well with some people and can trigger anxiety and depression. Most people sort this out by switching to a different brand, but’s it important to know your own mind and body.
It’s also important to have regular checks with your doctor to monitor your health and specifically your blood pressure no matter your age when on the Pill. It can be quite expensive to get a Pill prescription, we talk more about that below, but you can also get free blood pressure checks in pharmacies nationwide.
From 2021 The Pill And Other Contraceptives Will Be Free For Women Under 25
One of the good things to come out of Budget 2022 was the commitment from the Irish government to provide free contraption to women aged 17-25 years old from 2022. Which, look, its great. Better late than never but we would like to see that rolled out to all people. This means you’ll be entitled to free contraceptive Pills, or other long-term contraceptives such as IUDs, plus 2 free GP visits a year in relation to the contraceptives.
This is not due to begin until August 2022, while we do hope that the government amends this and rolls it out ASAP, what do you do if you need a prescription for the Pill in the meantime?
You can get a prescription from your GP, remember this is free if you have a medical card. If you don’t have a medical card there is usually a fee of €50 for a consolation with your doctor.
Laya Healthcare also offer contraception if you have a policy with them. It usually costs €25 for a prescription, but some plans have waived this fee during COVID, you just pay for the prescription in the pharmacy (about €7 a month).
Another option is Lloyd’s Pharmacy, who also offer prescription for The Pill online for €25. FYI you’ll need to have your blood pressure checked beforehand for this but most pharmacies offer this for free and it only takes a minute.
Just one last thing to keep in mind about the Pill, it doesn’t protect you from STIs, so it is important to think about using a barrier method as well if you and/or your partner haven’t been tested for STIs.
Did you know all these things about the contraceptive pill?