Fertility awareness methods (FAM) vs Combined pill

Need help choosing? Speak to a doctor
Fertility awareness methods (FAM)

Want to switch contraception?

Combined pill

£From £0.16/day

Overview

Rated 4.3

152 reviews

Daily

Frequency

92% - 98%

Effectiveness

None

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Rated 2.8

2420 reviews

Daily

Frequency

91% - 99+%

Effectiveness

Increased

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

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.

Combined pill ingredients

Main hormones in Combined pill

progestogen

oestrogen

What Lowdown reviewers say

Benefits: What this contraceptive can help with

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

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

Fertility awareness methods (FAM) reviews

152 reviews

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

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.

Read more

Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

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

  •  Still using

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.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

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.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

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.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

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

  •  Still using

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.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

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.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments


Combined pill reviews

2420 reviews

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  5 days ago

  •  Stopped using

When starting the pill, i got intense cramps that lasted a good few months and then went away. Ruined my mental health & my sex drive. Improved my skin massively Since coming off: my cycle STILL hasn’t regulated and its been about 1.5 years.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

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

  •  Stopped using

If I could give it 0 stars I would. AVOID!! 6 months in this pill gave me extremely painful chronic cystic acne all over my chin and cheeks. It destroyed my self esteem and I almost had to go on accutane to stop it. It also made me very depressed. If you struggle with mild acne already, sweating, mood swings, irregular periods and excessive body hair growth do NOT let your doctor put you this pill! It is very androgenic and worsens these symptoms, but it’s often used as a “starter pill” when you first decide to take contraception. I switched to Yasmin after this and it changed my life and completely reversed all these side effects. This pill is a nightmare!


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
20 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Stopped using

Not a great pill for PCOS. Within a couple of days my skin broke out like crazy, I started sweating so much and after a while noticed my body hair was growing faster again after being on Yasmin for a few years (ended up going back to it). I also was seriously depressed and very emotional on this pill all the time, sometimes unable to even get out of bed.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  5 days ago

  •  Stopped using

When starting the pill, i got intense cramps that lasted a good few months and then went away. Ruined my mental health & my sex drive. Improved my skin massively Since coming off: my cycle STILL hasn’t regulated and its been about 1.5 years.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

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

  •  Stopped using

If I could give it 0 stars I would. AVOID!! 6 months in this pill gave me extremely painful chronic cystic acne all over my chin and cheeks. It destroyed my self esteem and I almost had to go on accutane to stop it. It also made me very depressed. If you struggle with mild acne already, sweating, mood swings, irregular periods and excessive body hair growth do NOT let your doctor put you this pill! It is very androgenic and worsens these symptoms, but it’s often used as a “starter pill” when you first decide to take contraception. I switched to Yasmin after this and it changed my life and completely reversed all these side effects. This pill is a nightmare!


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
20 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Stopped using

Not a great pill for PCOS. Within a couple of days my skin broke out like crazy, I started sweating so much and after a while noticed my body hair was growing faster again after being on Yasmin for a few years (ended up going back to it). I also was seriously depressed and very emotional on this pill all the time, sometimes unable to even get out of bed.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

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

  •  Still using

So torn about Lucette/Yasmin. They cleared up my PCOS symptoms so well- my skin cleared almost immediately after years of terrible acne; stopped extreme sweating and prevented excessive hair growth. My mood is brilliant compared to other pills which made me very depressed/strong mood swings. However, I have chronic IBS and extreme urinary urgency on these pills. I took a 3 month break and my symptoms cleared within 2 weeks so I know this is the cause. These symptoms aren’t talked about much so I wanted to raise awareness. It’s a tough balancing act between horrible PCOS symptoms and horrible IBS/bladder symptoms.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 8+ yr
27 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Stopped using

Used the Yasmin combined pill to treat acne. Was extremely effective. However, I've suffered with gastroparesis for 10 years and didn't realise it was caused by this contraceptive. I was really quite poorly for several of those years, unable to eat enough so was malnourished and my career suffered. I felt so nauseous every single morning. When I first started taking it as a teenager I would vomit every morning. I was prescribed domperidone and had numerous doctors appointments and hospital appointments over the years and no one ever mentioned my symptoms could be caused by the contraceptive pill I was taking. I recently missed a few pills and noticed an improvement in my symptoms, so stopped taking it. For the first time in over 10 years I experience normal hunger, don't feel sick all the time, and am able to eat a normal sized meal. I can't overstate how much of a transformation it's been for me.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Stopped using

When I started everything was fine however in the last 6 months of taking the pill I started passing clots so big a pad and tampon would not help. I was bleeding through clothes daily and could not work. Before this was on the same pill for 1 and a half years.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

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

  •  Stopped using

Breast pain was too much I could not even lie down.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 5 yr
28 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

Qlaira started off pretty great after the 6 month window for symptoms to subside when starting new hormonal contraception. Being on it long term though, I've noticed symptoms such as low sex drive and fatigue. These symptoms are quite severe. It's been almost 5 years and I'm currently considering quitting hormonal birth control.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
30 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

I have had a great experience with Millinette 20. I got a bit of headaches and dizziness at the start but they disappeared quite quickly. Originally I took the pill back to back and then with a 4 day break but neither of these gave my body enough time to bleed, so I adjusted to having a 7 day break and that has been great. I’ve had very few side effects overall, and it’s been great.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

It works so well for me, an absolute game changer as my periods were debilitating and excruciating. After two months on Norimin, I had my life back, with absolutely zero side effects.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

1 comments

Contraceptive alternatives and comparisons

Compare the Fertility awareness methods (FAM) with other contraceptives

Order online

Order online now

Use our online prescription in under 5 mins

  • No GP appointment needed

  • Free standard delivery

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