Hormonal methods of contraception

Oral contraceptives

Human fertility is controlled by hormones, so fertility can be controlled using hormonal forms of contraception.

The oral contraceptive, which is known as the pill, contains oestrogen or progesterone. These hormones:

  • inhibit the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) so that eggs cannot mature
  • inhibit the production of luteinising hormone (LH) so that eggs are not released
Birth control pills in pharmaceutical packaging.
Contraceptive pills

Benefits and risks

Oral contraceptives, injections, implants or skin patches are more than 99% effective if taken correctly and can reduce the risk of certain cancers.

However, there are possible side effects, such as changes in: