Hormones to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy

Hormones occur naturally in the body, and they affect us all in different ways. Some methods of contraception contain hormones, which can affect your menstrual cycle and stop your from becoming pregnant when you don't want to be. Whether they act in the short term or the long term, their desired effect is similar.

Contraception that Uses Hormones

There are several methods of contraception that use hormones to prevent unintended pregnancy. Here's a short overview of how they work.
Hormone Concern
Hormone Concern

The hormonal coil also known as the IUS or Intrauterine system

This is placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse. The IUS releases a progestogen hormone locally. This hormone thickens the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg, and it reduces the growth of the womb lining, which makes it harder for a fertilized egg to implant and develop.

The Contraceptive Implant

This small rod is placed beneath the skin of your upper arm by a doctor or nurse, where it releases a progestogen hormone into the blood stream. The hormone prevents your ovaries from releasing an egg, and it thickens the cervical mucus making it harder for sperm to move around.

The Contraceptive Injection

An injection containing a progestogen hormone can be given by a doctor or nurse every 8-13 weeks, depending on the type, releases the hormone(s) into the blood stream where they stop the ovaries from releasing an egg and thicken the cervical mucus.

The Pill

There are two different types of contraceptive pill. The combined pill contains a progestogen and oestrogen, whereas the progestogen-only pill contains only a progestogen. The different types of pill have different ways of working. The progestogen-only pill acts mainly to thin the womb lining and thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from getting through. The combined pill additionally stops eggs from being released. 

The Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring contains the hormones oestrogen and a progestogen. It sits inside your vagina and releases hormones that prevent pregnancy by preventing the release of an egg each month.

The Patch

The patch contains the hormones oestrogen and a progestogen. The patch can be placed on your skin, for example your arm, and it releases a daily dose of hormones through your skin into the blood stream to prevent pregnancy.


Speak to a healthcare professional for advice and support on your contraceptive needs.

doctor CTA
doctor CTA


Report possible side effects

If you want to report a side effect of medication, please contact your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects not listed in your contraception package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme at https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/ or search MHRA Yellow Card in Google Play or Apple App Store.
By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of medicines.