Personal Growth

5 Things To Be Aware of When Switching The Pill

May 23

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Instant Scripts

5 Things To Be Aware of When Switching The Pill

Although birth control, especially the contraceptive pill, has given women the ability to take ownership of their health and fertility, there’s no denying it can also come with a side serve of unwanted side effects. Think headaches, nausea and breast tenderness.

Thankfully, women have options when it comes to the type of pill to take, which means you can adjust your medication to suit your personal health concerns. Everyone’s body responds differently to different pills, so finding the right contraception method for you is essential – especially if it makes you more likely to stick with it.


That said, switching pills shouldn’t be done lightly. There are two main types of oral contraceptive pills available in Australia – the combined pill, which contains both estrogen and progestogen, and the progestogen-only pill, commonly referred to as the mini pill.

Both pills are unique and affect your body in different ways, and switching from one type to the other will alter the type and level of hormones in your body, which can lead to a period of adjustment. So, if you’re considering switching from one to the other, it’s important to consider these five factors.

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Track your symptoms

Whether you’re contemplating switching pills or have recently made the change, it’s helpful to keep a diary of any unwanted side effects. Take note of whether you experience physical or emotional changes such as headaches, bloating, weight gain, moodiness, variations in your libido, or if your doctor notices your blood pressure is elevated.

This can help inform your GP about whether the pill you are taking is right for you, and they may consider changing your prescription or switching you to a completely different form of contraception.


Speak to your GP

You’ll need to visit a GP to obtain a prescription for your new pill. During the consultation, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know about any medical issues or conditions you have so they can weigh up the pros and cons of switching pills and if it’s safe to do so. They can also let you know about any potential side effects and help you work out which contraceptive pill is best for your personal circumstances.


Get clear on why you’re changing

Are you swapping pills because your lifestyle or medical situation has changed or are you experiencing negative side effects? Or maybe you’re not so much concerned with preventing an unplanned pregnancy and are wanting to take a contraceptive pill to help you manage skin conditions like acne or to control migraines. Speaking to your GP or gynaecologist about your reasons will help them determine the best medication for you.


Expect some unwanted side effects

When switching pills, you may experience a handful of side effects during the first couple of months. These can range from nausea, sore or tender breasts, mood changes, weight gain and breakthrough bleeding.

Experts recommend allowing at least three months for your body to adjust to a new contraceptive pill. If your symptoms don’t settle down or become more severe, head straight to your GP for review.  


Always finish your prescription

Never make the switch if you’re currently in the middle of a pill packet. Always finish your first prescription before moving onto the next one and be sure to ask your doctor how your new medication should be taken and how long you should wait before engaging in sexual activity.


Plan your swap around your cycle

To up your chances of a smooth transition, aim to swap your birth control at the end of your cycle. This way, you will take your sugar pills as usual, have your “period” and begin a new packet. Timing it this way will help you better stick to your regular schedule and will minimise the chances of any gaps in protection.  

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Have a back-up plan

If you’re switching birth control, it’s vital that you don’t leave a gap between finishing one pill packet and beginning another. Once you’ve completed your original pack, immediately begin taking the new one. Leaving a gap can increase your chances of pregnancy.

To ensure you’re protected as strongly as possible, you may wish to consider using a secondary method of birth control (such as condoms) for the first week or so after starting a new pill. Be sure to chat to your doctor about transitioning windows and how to best protect yourself.

No matter which contraceptive pill you swap to, there are a few things you can do to ensure it works as effectively as possible. Try to take your pill at the same time every day, as missing a dose can increase the likelihood of ovulation and, therefore, an unplanned pregnancy. Try setting a daily alarm or reminder if you have trouble remembering.

If you do happen to miss a dose, most doctors will suggest taking the skipped pill as soon as possible and resuming your regular schedule – but confirm this with your GP and check the leaflet inside your pill packet.

Overall, switching contraceptive pills is usually a low-risk change that can help remove unwanted side effects and improve your quality of life. A doctor can help you make the decision that’s right for you.


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If you are looking to speak to a doctor online, or request a new script, check out InstantScripts, a new online service that has helped  hundreds of thousands of Australians access health and medical services from the comfort of their homes.

Accessing prescriptions for everyday medications, speaking to a doctor, obtaining a medical certificate or getting blood test requests are just some of the online services offered by InstantScripts.

They provide access to prescriptions for over 300 medications and work with over 2500 pharmacies across Australia to ensure everyone has access to the medicines and care they need.

Our large team of Australian-registered doctors work seven days a week and take great care in providing the highest quality of service to all communities.


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I'm Rebecca Sparks - Founder of The Daily Guru. I'm also a Self Development Coach,
a Speaker and a Podcaster. 

What drives me most in life is a fascination & curiosity with how we can make the most of our short time here on this planet.  How do we make our lives feel meaningful? How can we make life feel fulfilling?  And how can we turn these elements into a lifestyle? 

My mission is to help women explore these topics and to design a life that taps into all of their essentials.

more about me

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