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Contraception guide

What if I'm on the pill and I'm sick or have diarrhoea?

It depends on how long you're being sick or have diarrhoea for.

If you're sick (vomit) within two hours of taking your contraceptive pill, it will not have been absorbed by your body.

You should take another pill straight away. As long as you're not sick again, you're still protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill at the usual time.

If you continue to be sick or have severe diarrhoea (passing six to eight watery stools in 24 hours), this can mean your protection against pregnancy is affected.

Sickness or severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours

If you can, you should carry on taking your pills at the normal time, but you may need to use extra contraception, such as condoms.

If you continue to be sick for more than 24 hours or you have severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, count each day with sickness or diarrhoea as a day that you've missed your pill.

Missed pills

Missing pills or starting a new pack late can make your pill less effective at preventing pregnancy. You may need to use extra contraception, such as condoms. You may also need emergency contraception.

The advice depends on:

  • which type of contraceptive pill you take
  • when you missed the pills (where in the packet you are)
  • how many pills you've missed

For advice on what to do if you've missed a pill, see:

If you're on the combined pills Qlaira, Zoely, Eloine or Daylette and you've missed a pill, see the manufacturer's patient information leaflets on the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website, or get advice from a contraception clinic or pharmacist.

If you need medical advice because of your sickness or diarrhoea, call your GP or NHS 111.

Page last reviewed: 11/02/2016

Next review due: 11/02/2018

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