Combined pill vs Fertility awareness methods (FAM)

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Combined pill

£From £0.16/day

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)

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Overview

Rated 2.8

2438 reviews

Daily

Frequency

91% - 99+%

Effectiveness

Increased

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Rated 4.3

154 reviews

Daily

Frequency

92% - 98%

Effectiveness

None

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Combined pill ingredients

Main hormones in Combined pill

progestogen

oestrogen

Fertility awareness methods (FAM) ingredients

Fertility awareness methods is an umbrella term for a method of contraception that works by being able to identify when in the menstrual cycle you are fertile through a range of factors.

What Lowdown reviewers say

32% somewhat negative

40% lighter periods

47% lost sex drive

48% no impact

44% improved skin

Cycle return

36% don’t know impact

51% very positive

54% no change

49% increased sex drive

83% no impact

61% no impact on skin

Cycle return

64% in 1 month

Benefits: What this contraceptive can help with

Acne or bad skin

Heavy periods

PMS and PMDD

PCOS symptoms

Period pain

There are no benefits that are recognised in scientific research or guidelines for this contraceptive

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£From £0.16/day

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Want to switch contraception?

Check out our latest reviews

Real life reviews from people like you

Combined pill reviews

2438 reviews

Combined pill  
Used for 8+ yr
35 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  today

Rigevidon  

I was moved onto Rigevidon from Yasmin about 14 years ago as my GP said the risk of blood clots was lower (now evidence looks like they are both pretty high risk). I started the pill as a teenager for PCOS symptoms (rarely having periods, excess body hair and acne). I have been very happy on this pill - my mood has been stable and good, my libido is very good, my skin is free of spots although it is oily and my periods are very predictable and light. I do still have a lot of body hair but I think this may just be normal for my genetics unfortunately, and not related to contraception.

Read more

Somewhat positive mood

1 more effect

0 helpful

0 comments

Combined pill  
Used for 1 - 3 mo
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

Yacella pill  

I have had a good experience with the Yacella/Yasmin pill - I think this is partially informed by better mental health and external factors because when I have been on the pill previously during a poor mental health period in my life I found it made me feel even more depressed. The only time I have experienced violent mood swings is when I took it without any breaks for 5 months, and then when I did take the break I was very emotional and irrational, so I now prefer to not go more than 2 months without taking a break.


Somewhat negative mood

1 more effect

0 helpful

0 comments

Combined pill  
Used for 6 - 12 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

Cilique pill  

I gained weight and felt more irritable when taking this contraception


Somewhat negative mood

3 more effects

0 helpful

0 comments

Combined pill  
Used for 8+ yr
35 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  today

Rigevidon  

I was moved onto Rigevidon from Yasmin about 14 years ago as my GP said the risk of blood clots was lower (now evidence looks like they are both pretty high risk). I started the pill as a teenager for PCOS symptoms (rarely having periods, excess body hair and acne). I have been very happy on this pill - my mood has been stable and good, my libido is very good, my skin is free of spots although it is oily and my periods are very predictable and light. I do still have a lot of body hair but I think this may just be normal for my genetics unfortunately, and not related to contraception.


Somewhat positive mood

1 more effect

0 helpful

0 comments

Combined pill  
Used for 1 - 3 mo
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

Yacella pill  

I have had a good experience with the Yacella/Yasmin pill - I think this is partially informed by better mental health and external factors because when I have been on the pill previously during a poor mental health period in my life I found it made me feel even more depressed. The only time I have experienced violent mood swings is when I took it without any breaks for 5 months, and then when I did take the break I was very emotional and irrational, so I now prefer to not go more than 2 months without taking a break.


Somewhat negative mood

1 more effect

0 helpful

0 comments

Combined pill  
Used for 6 - 12 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

Cilique pill  

I gained weight and felt more irritable when taking this contraception


Somewhat negative mood

3 more effects

0 helpful

0 comments


Fertility awareness methods (FAM) reviews

154 reviews

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
24 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 week ago

Natural Cycles App  

I started using Natural Cycles a few years back. I was never on any birth control as a teenager as my mum didn't want my young body being put on hormones. However, once I settled down with my current long-term partner, I wanted to have the peace of mind that I wasn't going to fall pregnant. The first few years of using Natural Cycles were great and empowering, understanding the changes in my body and knowing when I had ovulated was great. What I had failed to understand was it predicted with its algorithm your date of next month's ovulation based on your previous month. Well. I managed to fall pregnant not once, but twice in the space of 8 months. The first time around, I thought it was my fault and I had not taken my temps properly (even though I never had an issue in the past). I had a surgical abortion as I was 3 months pregnant before I actually found out. I was willing to try again and really get to grips with it even though the clinic was very strongly advising me to go on some form of HBC. In the past 6 months, my body has recovered from the abortion and got back into its usual swing of periods and I saw I was ovulating again. This time around I invested in an Oura ring to pair with my NC app to be certain of my temps being taken. All was well, I stuck to my green and red days religiously. I use the pull-out method on red days (if we do have sex). And I trust our pull-out method completely because we definitely know he does not ejaculate inside of me or we tend to stick to oral sex rather than penetrative. I noticed my temperatures lately had been higher than usual and my ovulation was confirmed a bit earlier than usual. I didn't think much of it as I had stuck to our red days and green days as shown. When I went on calendar view, I saw that my fertile window just gone was a lot shorter than 6 days and I had unprotected sex (on a green day) that was 2 days before I ovulated. I did a test and indeed am pregnant yet again. I contacted NC straight away and got them to go through my data, which they did and have taken full responsibility for the muck up with their algorithm. I advise you to check your fertile windows and note any other observations (cervical mucus), because the algorithm cannot be trusted. And from what I now know, ovulation may change throughout different cycles (stress, sleep etc). I will no longer be using them ever again which is sad as I did so enjoy using it.


Somewhat positive mood

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
33 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

Natural Cycles App  

Amazing


Very positive mood

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

Natural Cycles App  

First few months lots of ‘red’ days (no unprotected sex days). Coming off the pill was a personal choice and brought back lots of issues i.e needing prescription pain medication. However, my sex drive and mental health have significantly improved and impacted on my relationship. I’ve used natural cycles for 2 years religiously and no problems or pregnancy.


Very positive mood

3 more effects

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
24 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 week ago

Natural Cycles App  

I started using Natural Cycles a few years back. I was never on any birth control as a teenager as my mum didn't want my young body being put on hormones. However, once I settled down with my current long-term partner, I wanted to have the peace of mind that I wasn't going to fall pregnant. The first few years of using Natural Cycles were great and empowering, understanding the changes in my body and knowing when I had ovulated was great. What I had failed to understand was it predicted with its algorithm your date of next month's ovulation based on your previous month. Well. I managed to fall pregnant not once, but twice in the space of 8 months. The first time around, I thought it was my fault and I had not taken my temps properly (even though I never had an issue in the past). I had a surgical abortion as I was 3 months pregnant before I actually found out. I was willing to try again and really get to grips with it even though the clinic was very strongly advising me to go on some form of HBC. In the past 6 months, my body has recovered from the abortion and got back into its usual swing of periods and I saw I was ovulating again. This time around I invested in an Oura ring to pair with my NC app to be certain of my temps being taken. All was well, I stuck to my green and red days religiously. I use the pull-out method on red days (if we do have sex). And I trust our pull-out method completely because we definitely know he does not ejaculate inside of me or we tend to stick to oral sex rather than penetrative. I noticed my temperatures lately had been higher than usual and my ovulation was confirmed a bit earlier than usual. I didn't think much of it as I had stuck to our red days and green days as shown. When I went on calendar view, I saw that my fertile window just gone was a lot shorter than 6 days and I had unprotected sex (on a green day) that was 2 days before I ovulated. I did a test and indeed am pregnant yet again. I contacted NC straight away and got them to go through my data, which they did and have taken full responsibility for the muck up with their algorithm. I advise you to check your fertile windows and note any other observations (cervical mucus), because the algorithm cannot be trusted. And from what I now know, ovulation may change throughout different cycles (stress, sleep etc). I will no longer be using them ever again which is sad as I did so enjoy using it.


Somewhat positive mood

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
33 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

Natural Cycles App  

Amazing


Very positive mood

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

Natural Cycles App  

First few months lots of ‘red’ days (no unprotected sex days). Coming off the pill was a personal choice and brought back lots of issues i.e needing prescription pain medication. However, my sex drive and mental health have significantly improved and impacted on my relationship. I’ve used natural cycles for 2 years religiously and no problems or pregnancy.


Very positive mood

3 more effects

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 6 - 12 mo
28 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

Natural Cycles App  

I’ve been using the Natural Cycles app with the Oura Ring for about 6 months now, and it has been the best thing I’ve ever done! No side effects and I’ve never felt so informed about my body. I love that the app also informs my partner of when green/red days begin, so the contraceptive burden is on him too (in that he doesn’t have to ask me what type of day it is - we both know, which is nice). For peace of mind, I used the Oura ring for an initial period of three months to let the Natural Cycles app gather data on my basal temperature, whilst using condoms as a contraceptive. Then, when I felt confident that the app had a few months of data (and I was familiar with my own patterns/regular cycles), my partner and I reduced condom use to red days only. We have had zero pregnancy scares in 6 months, and using this as contraception has vastly improved our sex life. I’d honestly recommend it to anyone who is looking to escape hormonal contraceptives. The Oura Ring is expensive, but there’s no way I could remember to take my temperature every morning otherwise (and no way am I setting my alarm every morning… Sundays are for sleeping in!), so I’d recommend buying one if you do plan to use this as a long-term contraceptive and don’t want to be chained to the digital thermometer/same wake-up time every day.


Very positive mood

1 more effect

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 5 - 8 yr
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

Natural Cycles App  

I have used Natural Cycles for years now (alongside condoms when ovulating) and love using a non-hormonal method. I used to get side effects from the combined pill and mini pill so I have seen an improvement since coming off those. The data aspect of recording your temperature and seeing the patterns of my cycle is something I find really interesting. Plus the reminders of ovulation/upcoming period/breast checks are always helpful. I know myself and my body better since tracking my cycles.


Very positive mood

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 3 - 6 mo
34 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

Symptothermal method  

The Natural Cycles algorithm does not work to accurately track ovulation and therefore prevent pregnancy. Evidence based FAM/symptothermal methods use a '2 check method' including temperature and cervical fluid patterns. Natural Cycles only tracks your body temperature. After using for a few months I noticed my safe/green days changed after the date. So I had (what I thought was) safe unprotected sex in the non-fertile window, but then by the end of that cycle those days had changed to red/not safe. Surprise surprise, I got pregnant and had to arrange a termination. Since stopping this I have started using fertility awareness methods successfully for 4+yrs. Natural Cycles is just too risky without a 2 check method, and basing it on an algorithm.


Very positive mood

1 more effect

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 3 - 5 yr
34 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

Breastfeeding (Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM))  

I loved using Natural Cycles as it let my body just be itself. It was very effective for four and a half years…until I unexpectedly got pregnant! I will fully admit though we would occasionally take risks on early red days, and we know where we went wrong the month I became pregnant (travelling with time and environment changes led to confusing temperature readings coupled with not using enough caution). The only downsides of NC for me were needing to be on a predictable routine for morning thermometer readings (may be challenging for those travelling a lot or on shift work) and we had to use condoms or abstain during ovulation - which is of course the peak time for when you want some action! Overall though I would recommend it and will probably resume using it once our sleep schedule normalises with our beloved new baby. Having been on the pill and using a copper iud for years, it’s just hard to beat having zero side effects and letting your body do its own thing.


Very positive mood

0 helpful

1 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 3 - 5 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  9th May 24

Natural Cycles App  

Absolutely brilliant - after being on hormonal contraception this has been like a breath of fresh air. Natural cycles works so brilliant for me and I’ve never felt so in touch with my body and emotions. Genuinely lifechanging - if the you meet the criteria for this (regular periods, fairly routine lifestyle) then I could not recommend it more.


Very positive mood

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 3 - 6 mo
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  22nd Feb 24

Natural Cycles App  

I didn't really do this properly and only used it here and there! So I am definitely not an expert on this, but if you have regular periods and are organised I can see why this may be beneficial! Especially as no hormones


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Fertility awareness methods (FAM)  
Used for 3 - 6 mo
30 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  7th Feb 24

Natural Cycles App  

Started using Natural Cycles after having my first baby. I exclusively breastfeed and my first few periods after giving birth were all over the place. Tracking using the app just gave me a bit more info on my body and how long I was going between cycles etc. I’m just over a year post partum now and periods have returned to normal and I put knowing that down to the app. Baby still wakes a bit in the night so it can be a bit difficult to know exactly when to measure my temperature but the app has some helpful articles on this. Overall, love that it’s hormone free and that I can see helpful information on my cycle in an eat to use app! If considering, try finding a friend or someone with a referral code to get a discount on app subscription x


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Contraceptive alternatives and comparisons

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