The pill is a fairly magical and glorious invention which proves that science is just cool af, but before signing up to any medical contraception it's important to do your dayumn research. Obviously.
There's LOADS of resources to teach you all the risks, side-effects and general ins and outs (ooh-err) of the way the pill works, but if you've ever wanted to know a bit more about it than the leaflets tell you, you've come to the right place.
Here's 12 things about the pill that you probably didn't already know.
1. You can use it to sneakily skip your period.
If you want to bypass your period this month by jumping straight onto the next pack or skipping over the week of placebo pills, it won't cause any harm. Skipping your period doesn't decrease the pill's efficacy, and because oral contraceptives thin the lining of your uterus, there's less for your body to shed every month anyway. WOO for lighter periods.
2. But you should only skip it twice in a row - no more than that.
If you're taking the combined pill, it's safe to run up to three packs together to avoid two periods. But you should avoid taking more than three packs in a row as it can give you some unpleasant side effects like unexpected bleeding, major bloating and hideous stomach cramps. Not ideal, really.
3. It can help sort out some acne problems.
Recent studies have shown that 1 in 3 teenage girls will take the pill for reasons other than contraception, and one of the main alternatives is to help combat acne. A pill that may help a friend with acne may not necessarily help you in the same way though.
A pill with an anti-androgenic type of progesterone, like Yasmin, Marvelon or the mini-pill Cerazette counteracts the effects of the small levels of male hormones we all have in our systems – and are the main trigger for adult acne.
4. Taking the pill could actually change the type of guy you fancy.
University researchers have found that women on the pill tend to choose more macho, masculine men with distinct physical characteristics rather than sensitive, more feminine men with softer features.
Lead researcher Tony Little said: "Where a woman chooses her partner while she is on the pill, and then comes off it to have a child, she may find she is married to the wrong man." How crazy is that? Maybe watch out for pill goggles if you're heading out on the pull.
5. If you've been vomming, it could be unreliable.
Soz to be gross, but vomiting and diarrhea can also keep the pill from working, so if you're ill then you need to remember that your contraceptive levels could be low. LUCKILY, your magical vagina can help. If you can't keep anything down, two pills inserted each day into the vagina works - they'll be absorbed into your bloodstream. It's important to use two though, as it's not quite as effective as digestion.
This is for short-term use only though, plus you should obviously check with your GP to let them know what you're doing. Oh, and use a condom 'til you're back to normal, just in case.
6. It probably won't make your boobs bigger.
You've probably heard stories about the pill helping to transform your boobs into giant, billowing bazoomas in a matter of weeks. That's probably a bit dramatic, but some girls do find that they put on a bit of weight on their boobs, and everywhere else for that matter.
But as is the case with any medication, it just depends on you and your body, and how you react to the hormone. Some women notice an increase in their bust size, some women notice no difference at all and some notice their breasts get smaller. That's life, innit.
7. The riskiest time to miss your pill is the very start of a pack.
The 7-day pill-free time at the end of a pack gives your ovaries enough time to think about starting to work again, and in a small number of women the ovaries are awake enough for ovulation to occur.
A week's worth of pills means that the ovary is shut down enough that missing one pill would not allow ovulation. So there you go. DON'T FORGET (and if you do forget, consider other forms of contraception that stick around for longer).
8. Don't panic if you forgot to take one (but do panic if you forgot to take more).
It's safe to miss one pill as the hormones that are already in your body from the previous pills will keep your contraceptive covered. If you do miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember (even if that means taking two in one day) and continue on with the pack as usual.
Make sure you use a condom though, 'cause it's better to take extra precautions than end up with an unexpected baby just because you're forgetful.
9. There is actually a male pill on the way.
Just this week, scientists reported that they had made small but significant changes to a previous, not very popular version of the male pill to make it effective over a longer period, as well as making it easier to take.
So that's pretty great and we're all about men taking some responsibility, but seeing as the potential baby would be exiting OUR vagina, we're not sure we'd be willing to leave all the remembering to the guys. No thank ya.
10. Pre-pill options in the olden days were truly terrifying.
Before the pill came along with its 99 percent effectiveness, reliable birth control options for women in the super olden days were few and far between. Women through most of history were forced to rely on folklore-inspired, potentially dangerous methods such as inserting lemon rinds and crocodile dung in their vaginas. NICE.
11. It's great for you, but not great for the environment.
Women on the pill excrete its synthetic hormones, and these are difficult for water treatment plants to break down. According to one study conducted in Paris, a hormone found in birth control pills accounted for 35 to 50 percent of the estrogen found in rivers there, and this is affecting the fertility of wildlife according to studies.
12. It's really, really popular.
In the UK, there are about 3.5 million women who take the pill, whether it's for contraceptive purposes, to sort out their period pain, or any other type of hormone-related issues.
This is roughly one in three of all women of reproductive age, which is a WHOLE lot of pill popping and proof that you should never be worried or embarrassed to ask the gals in your life for advice or their own experiences with taking it.
NOW READ THIS LOT TOO