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Different Types Of Oral Contraceptive Pills - How To Choose The Right One?

Written and reviewed by
Diploma In Advanced Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery, ATSM (Urogynaecology), MRCOG, DRCOG, DGO, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Noida  •  21 years experience
Different Types Of Oral Contraceptive Pills - How To Choose The Right One?

Birth control pills are an icon of feminism. These little pills have given today's woman the power over their reproductive cycles and enables them to plan families in a better way. However, given the many different types of birth control pills available, it can get a little confusing to determin, which one is the best suited to you. Hence, it is essential to understand the difference between birth control pills.

Birth control pills can be categorised as progestin-only pills and pills that are a combination of progestin and oestrogen.

  1. Progestin-only pills or mini-pills: These pills do not stop ovulation but thicken the cervical mucus and thus prevents the sperm from entering the uterus. Mini-pills are beneficial for women who are sensitive to oestrogen and those wo are at a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, thromboembolism, etc. Also, these pills do not have side effects such as nausea or headaches as associated with combination pills. A key factor that determines the efficacy of mini pills is that they must be taken at the same time every day. Delaying or skipping even one pill can affect the pill’s effectiveness.
  2. Combination pills: This is the more common form of birth control pills. The oestrogen in combination pills prevents ovulation and the progestin in these pills thicken cervical mucus to prevent a pregnancy. In addition, these hormones also thin the lining of the uterus or endometrium. Depending on how the pills change a woman’s hormone levels in the first three weeks of the menstrual cycle, combination pills can be categorised as monophasic, biphasic and triphasic.
  3. Monophasic pills: These pills maintain a uniform hormone level through the menstrual cycle and hence are least likely to have side effects such as mood swings, etc.
  4. Biphasic pills: These pills cause a change in the progestin levels midway during the menstrual cycle. Hence, the dosage of progestin in increased at this time.
  5. Triphasic pills: These pills cause a fluctuation in progestin levels every week and hence there are three different potencies of progestin hormones that are needed.
  6. Emergency Contraceptive pills: In addition to regular birth control pills, taking an emergency contraceptive pill within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse can also prevent pregnancy. However, this should not be taken regularly. These pills work by preventing the release of an egg or by preventing the sperm cells from fertilising the egg. They may also keep a fertilised egg from being implanted in the uterus. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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