Virtually Healthcare is an innovative GP practice providing comprehensive contraceptive care. The service is easily accessible online, on the phone, or in person, with all appointments free of charge on the NHS.
The combined oral contraceptive or COC is an effective hormonal method of contraception often known as ‘the pill’. The pill contains synthetic versions of the natural female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
There’s a wide range of combined oral contraceptive pills available. The experienced family-planning GPs at Virtually Healthcare can help you find the best formulation for your needs.
The combined oral contraceptive prevents pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg. It also thickens the mucous in the cervix so that it’s more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg and thins the womb lining, so a fertilised egg is less likely to implant in your womb.
When taken reliably according to instructions, the pill prevents more than 99% of pregnancies. Your doctor will advise you on how and when to take the pill, how soon it is effective and when you may need additional contraception.
The best contraceptive pill for you will depend on your health, your lifestyle and your preferences. Your family-planning doctor will take you through the options and help you find the right pill for your needs. Considerations include:
The specialist family planning GPs at Virtually Healthcare provide full and free contraceptive services. They will discuss your health, preferences, and pregnancy plans before suggesting contraceptive options to suit your lifestyle. These could include the contraceptive pill and other hormonal methods, including the mini-pill, contraceptive implants, injections or patches. They can also recommend barrier methods such as condoms and caps or insert coils or intrauterine systems like the Mirena device.
Virtually Healthcare is a cutting-edge GP practice, providing expert healthcare in the comfort and privacy of your home. The Virtually Healthcare service is designed to fit in with modern lives. You can access consultations easily with virtual appointments available seven days a week.
The team includes more than 40 clinicians working together to investigate and treat disease and help you optimise your health and wellbeing. As well as highly-skilled GPs, the team includes experienced family planning and sexual health specialists, physiotherapists and practice nurses to offer a comprehensive primary care service.
During the pandemic, many patients are finding it more difficult to access healthcare. Virtually Healthcare provides rapid access video or telephone appointments, with consultations available the same day if you contact us before 3 pm. Our clinicians can provide professional assessment and advice, arrange investigations, prescribe treatment or arrange for a face-to-face review.
At Virtually Healthcare, we focus on you. Our clinicians take a holistic approach to care. Whether you want an easy, convenient way to get contraception or a discreet testing service for STIs, our dedicated team can provide expert advice and treatment.
Every contraceptive method has advantages and disadvantages. Your doctor will take you through the risks and benefits so that you can make an informed choice. For the combined oral contraceptive, these include:
It’s perfectly safe to take two packets of pills consecutively with no break. The bleed you have when you’re on the pill is known as a ‘ withdrawal’ bleed. It happens because you stop taking the hormones in the pill. There is no disadvantage to missing a withdrawal bleed, and you will be protected from pregnancy throughout.
You can start the pill at any time during your menstrual cycle, but the time you start will affect the time before you are protected against pregnancy.
If you take the first pill on one of the first five days following the start of your period, the COC will prevent pregnancy immediately. If you start the pill later in your cycle, you should use additional protection for seven days.
If you’re healthy, a non-smoker, and have no medical reasons to prevent COC use, you can use the contraceptive pill until you reach 50 years. It may not be safe or healthy to use the contraceptive pill if:
You have active liver or gallbladder disease.
You have breast cancer or have the BRCA gene.
You have a history of thrombosis or blood clots.
You have diabetes with complications.
You are a wheelchair user or have long periods of immobility.
Yes, the pill protects you throughout your cycle, even during the pill-free break ( or the dummy pill week). However, you may not be protected if you forget a pill, start the next pack late, or suffer from sickness or diarrhoea.
We offer written, telephone and video consultations with a range of male and female clinicians from GPs, nurse practitioners, and primary care specialists such as physiotherapy.