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Hormones are substances in your body that have an effect on how different parts of your body function. Some contraceptives, like the pill or the hormonal coil (IUS), also contain hormones. These hormones make sure that you don’t get pregnant.

What are hormones?

Hormones are substances in your body that make sure that your organs function properly. Hormones can have an effect on your body, your health or your mood.

What do hormones do? They:

  • help your genitals develop
  • have an effect on hair growth
  • have an effect on menstruation
  • have an effect on sperm production
  • have an effect on how your muscles grow
  • have an effect on the fat in your skin 
  • can make you feel cheerful or make you feel gloomy or depressed 

Sex hormones

It is sex hormones that regulate the growth of genitals before the birth of a child: penis, testicles, vulva, vagina, uterus. During puberty, these hormones bring about changes in your body. Then when you have sexual fantasies or dreams, or see, hear or feel something sexy, the sex hormones help you get sexually aroused. They also play an important part in conception and pregnancy.

Hormones in contraception

Some contraceptives contain the hormones progesterone and oestrogen. These prevent pregnancy.


Progesterone makes sure that a woman’s eggs do not mature. And if an egg is produced, then it cannot get implanted in the uterus. The hormone also makes it difficult for sperm cells to reach the egg..


Oestrogen makes sure that mucus builds up in a woman’s uterus. If you use a hormonal contraceptive, then the mucus will be released in the contraceptive-free week. This seems like natural menstrual bleeding, but is actually an artificial bleed.

What’s right for you?

Which hormonal contraceptive is the best one for you? That depends on your health, medicine use, age, lifestyle and any history of family illness. Ask your doctor whether it is at all risky for you to use hormonal contraceptives. You can also discuss this with a doctor at a Sense clinic.

Are the hormones in contraceptives bad for you?

No. Your body also produces hormones. Hormones reduce the risk of certain diseases. On the other hand, hormones do put you at greater risk of developing thrombosis or heart disease. Especially if you smoke. Ask your doctor if you are at any extra risk. 

Do hormones have any side effects?

Positive side effects 

  • Less acne 
  • Less period pain
  • Less severe bleeding during your period
  • Slightly less risk of some types of cancer

Negative side effects 

Do you take the pill? Or use a contraceptive patch or contraceptive ring? These contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone and could give you:

  • Headaches
  • Irregular blood loss
  • Painful breasts
  • Nausea
  • Low moods
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced sex drive

Do you have a hormonal coil (IUS), contraceptive implant or contraceptive injections. Or take the mini pill? These only contain the hormone progesterone and could give you:

  • Irregular blood loss
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Painful breasts
  • Low moods
  • Weight gain

Hormones are natural

Your own body produces hormones. And during a birth, this increases considerably! So hormones are completely natural.

Anticonceptie zonder hormonen

More and more women and girls are looking for contraceptives that don’t contain hormones. Reliable contraceptives with no hormones are: the copper coil (IUD), male and female condoms and the contraceptive diaphragm (cap).