How does the oral contraceptive pill work? Is it right for me?


I’m Dr Sumeena Qidwai, Women’s Health GP in Rhodes NSW.

Let’s talk about the pill.

Many of my day to day consultations are around contraception for women. So I thought we would have a chat about the combined oral contraceptive pill today! It’s a hot topic, and I get asked about it all the time, so I wanted to share some of my insights with you as an “expert” in this area.

The combined oral contraceptive pill consists of two hormones, low dose oestrogen and progesterone hormones. It is taken orally, although there has been an equivalent “Vaginal ring” available in Australia for some time now, which has had some good feedback. These hormones are similar to those naturally produced in the female body, so they are generally considered to be safe and effective at preventing pregnancy for the majority of women.

There are lots of reasons women might choose to go on “The Pill”, as it’s called. Women may need contraception, they may need to reduce their bleeding and regulate their cycle, or they may simply want to skip their periods for a certain amount of time. Some women with very painful periods use the pill to reduce their period pain. The Pill has been around for > 50 years and there are so many on the market….how do we choose?

As a GP, I can reassure you that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to The Pill. There are pills for people with certain medical conditions, pills for women who have excess hair growth called “hirsutism” or pills for people who suffer from acne. It is generally a myth that the pill causes significant weight gain, and most of the pills side effects are minor and settle within a few weeks. There are of course some people who shouldn’t take the pill because of their family history or risk of blood clots, but by far the majority of women can be reassured that taking the pill is a safe and effective birth control option.

If you would like to know more information about the benefits and side effects of The Pill, please consult with one of the doctors on Medinet to find a contraceptive pill for your particular needs, and to have discussion regarding your suitability for The Pill. One of the doctors will check your medical history and also discuss in depth how to use the pill, and give you all the information you need to make an informed choice.

Or if the contraceptive pill is not an option for you, feel free to discuss another method of contraception tailored to your specific needs! I am a strong advocate for a patient-centred approach to contraception, and a holistic approach to patients needs and goals when it comes to contraceptive options.

Wishing you all the best,

Dr Sumeena Qidwai - Clinical Expert at Medinet Australia
Rhodes MyHealth Medical Centre