Female condom vs Combined pill

Need help choosing? Speak to a doctor
Female condom

Want to switch contraception?

Combined pill

£From £0.16/day

Overview

Rated 3.5

4 reviews

During or before sex

Frequency

79% - 95%

Effectiveness

None

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Rated 2.8

2362 reviews

Daily

Frequency

91% - 99+%

Effectiveness

Increased

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Female condom ingredients

Female condoms (sometimes referred to as a Femidom) are soft thin pouches that are made of a thin
strong plastic called polyurethane
a substance called nitrile
or latex.

Combined pill ingredients

Main hormones in Combined pill

progestogen

oestrogen

What Lowdown reviewers say

Benefits: What this contraceptive can help with

Protects against STIs

Acne or bad skin

Heavy periods

PMS and PMDD

PCOS symptoms

Period pain

Try it now

Want to switch contraception?

Try it now

£From £0.16/day

Check out our latest reviews

Real life reviews from people like you

Female condom reviews

4 reviews

Used for 1 - 3 mo
27 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  8th Feb 24

  •  Still using

Same as the male condom, has no side effects and will protect from STIs and pregnancy! The only thing its a little fiddly to get on and if you don't react well to latex then not ideal!

Read more

Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  19th Jan 22

  •  Still using

These condoms prevent me from getting UTIs, I can't have sex without them! I think it's because the part of the condom that sticks out covers my urethra and prevents bacteria from spreading. They're a little hard to use at first, and some brands are better than others, but I highly recommend them to everyone.


Top side effects not reported

3 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
Lowdown user
🇬🇧 UK
  •  26th Apr 21

  •  Stopped using

Tried it a couple times with different partners. Mixed reactions. I practiced inserting prior to anything, so it was easy, especially after a couple of tries. Sex felt no different for me and one of the partners. One didn't like the appearance and the other the feel. One thing I love is that it doesn't have that nasty latex smell! You can also use any lube. Overall, I think it is a great option for many people, but (like everything) you should try it a few times for yourself. Also great if you run into situations where the guy is resisting wearing a condom himself.


Top side effects not reported

2 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
27 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  8th Feb 24

  •  Still using

Same as the male condom, has no side effects and will protect from STIs and pregnancy! The only thing its a little fiddly to get on and if you don't react well to latex then not ideal!


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  19th Jan 22

  •  Still using

These condoms prevent me from getting UTIs, I can't have sex without them! I think it's because the part of the condom that sticks out covers my urethra and prevents bacteria from spreading. They're a little hard to use at first, and some brands are better than others, but I highly recommend them to everyone.


Top side effects not reported

3 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
Lowdown user
🇬🇧 UK
  •  26th Apr 21

  •  Stopped using

Tried it a couple times with different partners. Mixed reactions. I practiced inserting prior to anything, so it was easy, especially after a couple of tries. Sex felt no different for me and one of the partners. One didn't like the appearance and the other the feel. One thing I love is that it doesn't have that nasty latex smell! You can also use any lube. Overall, I think it is a great option for many people, but (like everything) you should try it a few times for yourself. Also great if you run into situations where the guy is resisting wearing a condom himself.


Top side effects not reported

2 helpful

0 comments


Combined pill reviews

2362 reviews

Used for 12 - 18 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  today

  •  Stopped using

This pill had a severe negative effect on my mental health. Physically I felt better as it alleviated PCOS symptoms but worsened my depression.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
24 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  today

  •  Still using

I don't like being menopause at 20's


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 8+ yr
43 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

  •  Stopped using

Yasmin was the best pill for me. I have PCOS and it completely took care of my symptoms like acne. I also had very stable mood and positive mental state with this pill. My periods were light and I used to skip them 3 packets in a row and have only maybe 4 withdrawal bleeds per year. When I tried to extend it to 4 packs, I would often start to get light spotting so I think 3 packs non-stop was optimal for me.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  today

  •  Stopped using

This pill had a severe negative effect on my mental health. Physically I felt better as it alleviated PCOS symptoms but worsened my depression.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
24 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  today

  •  Still using

I don't like being menopause at 20's


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 8+ yr
43 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

  •  Stopped using

Yasmin was the best pill for me. I have PCOS and it completely took care of my symptoms like acne. I also had very stable mood and positive mental state with this pill. My periods were light and I used to skip them 3 packets in a row and have only maybe 4 withdrawal bleeds per year. When I tried to extend it to 4 packs, I would often start to get light spotting so I think 3 packs non-stop was optimal for me.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
43 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 day ago

  •  Stopped using

I'm 43 and was suggested Qlaira because it has a supposedly more safe estrogen component. I've always had slightly elevated sensitive CRP and during the use of Qlaira it did drop to nothing so that was a positive finding. I had no bloating or weight gain. I would get breakthru bleeding on the active pills usually a week before my actual withdrawal bleed, which would last approx. 5 days. So all in all I was bleeding approx 12 days per month. And because you can*t skip the placebo pills on Qlaira, I found it was too much bleeding days compared to non-bleeding days. Another major side effect and the reason I wanted to stop using Qlaira was complete loss of libido. I felt almost repulsed by the idea of sex and I had trouble getting aroused. Altho my natural libido is quite low to begin with, Qlaira took it to completely new levels of zero. Hence why I stopped it after 6 months.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
17 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 days ago

  •  Still using

I have been taking the Eloine pill for 10 months now and it has been pretty good. Not much has really changed for me which is great. My periods are the same (if not lighter) , my skin has stayed clear and I haven’t lost or gained any weight. The only thing I have noticed a change in since taking Eloine is a slight increase in anxiety and being more emotional than I used to be. However, these aren’t too extreme and are manageable. Overall i’m very happy with the Eloine pill 😊


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Stopped using

I was put on Rigevidon October 2023. I thought everything was fine until my boyfriend started to ask why I was constantly making arguments and being moody. I am never usually moody, so in my experience, I would say that my mood swings definitely came from this pill. I had a complete loss of sex drive also, didn’t want to do anything literally ever. However, a main reason for going on this pill was because I have always suffered from excruciating period pains. I have no faults when it comes to using this pill for period pain as my cramps became pretty much nonexistent. As someone who also suffers with extreme irregular periods, this pill made mine completely regular and light, which was so much more manageable. My advice is, if you’re looking for a pill to prevent pregnancy whilst you’re having sex, this one probably is not the greatest choice, just due to a decline in libido. However, I would absolutely recommend it for anyone who struggles with bad cramps/pains, it has been the only thing that has helped me.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 8+ yr
28 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

I had terrible experiences (bouts of acne) around age 17/18 with higher dose pills like Yasmin. Eventually settled on Marvelon and was put onto Gedarel (higher dosage) when there were stock issues. After 2 years I moved to the lower dose of Gedarel, and had a relatively positive experience with it for around 5 years but things have worsened recently. Side effects have been; spots around chin around end of pill pack, some spotting when taking back-to-back, lower sex-drive. More significant side-effects have been water-retention/weight gain and boob size increase. I am now thinking about coming off Gedarel as I have noticed the side effects have become more dramatic and all other things are equal - my boobs change massively in size throughout the course of a pack of pills, they are tender, and my weight is also massively fluctuating (I assume from water retention - between 55 - 60kg within the month). I am very active and generally healthy, if anything I am less stressed and have a healthier lifestyle now than I did a few years ago, yet the frequent changes to my body are making me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 5 yr
20 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Stopped using

started this pill when i was 16 for heavy irregular periods. really helped regulate them + shortened them from 7 days to 5! tbh i think it made them a little more painful though came off it after 3 years because my skin randomly got a lot worse after being clear for the duration of using it - got really painful hormonal spots on my chin but all in all a great starter pill for me! i’m pretty sure it sorted out my mood swings too lol but not sure cos it was aaaaaages ago


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
20 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Still using

switched from levest because of my skin, i think it’s cleared up my skin a bit (i have a better skincare routine now tho so could be that too), but ive been spotting quite a bit in the last few months. periods have gotten less painful which is good! boobs also got bigger ;) sex drive went down a bit, moods have always been all over the place tbh LOL


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 8+ yr
35 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Still using

I've been happy with this pill for 17 years. It regulates my periods, and gives me much less period pain. I have adenomyosis (similar to Endo) and it has kept symptoms at bay. I have never got pregnant on it. The only negative side effect I feel, is that I'd say the top 3% of my happiness is shaved off, but I don't notice it day to day.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Contraceptive alternatives and comparisons

Compare the Female condom with other contraceptives

Order online

Order online now

Use our online prescription in under 5 mins

  • No GP appointment needed

  • Free standard delivery

  • Set up a subscription and never run out

Speak to a doctor

Not sure yet? Speak to a doctor

Schedule an appointment now

87% of women are happier with their contraceptive choice after speaking with one of The Lowdown's doctors

The Lowdown

Women's health, reviewed.

Get the best women’s health info in your inbox

You are signing up to receive The Lowdown's latest findings and news in women's health. Your data will be used in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie policy

Built by doctors and experts

Our tools are made by medical professionals for your peace of mind

Pharmacy services provided by Phlo Technologies Ltd. GPhC reg number: 9011171

When you click on some links on this site, we may get a small affiliate commission