Modern Medicine

How many different types of birth control pills are there?
Answered by Discovery Fit & Health
  • Discovery Fit & Health

    Discovery Fit & Health

  1. Oral contraception pills are divided into three major categories: extended-release pills, combination pills and progestin-only pills.

    While normal birth control pills are meant to be taken 21 days in a row and then skipped for seven days, the extended-cycle birth control pill is meant to be taken continuously, for long periods of time. The extended-cycle pill, which, of the three major pill types, is the newest one on the market, has frequently proved effective at eliminating a woman’s periods altogether. This type of pill is usually a good option for women who experience a great deal of pain or discomfort during their periods, or for women who want to avoid the hassle of having to deal with menstruation every single month.

    Of the three major types of birth control pills out there, the combination pill is the most commonly used, and also probably the most familiar to the average person. Combination pills can be split into three subgroups: triphasic, monophasic and biphasic pills. Of these three, the monophasic pill is most commonly prescribed, due to its ease of use. A monophasic pill delivers the exact same amount of hormone in every pill. A biphasic prescription divides the month between two sets of pills - one set has larger hormone doses than the other. As the name suggests, a triphasic prescription is like a biphasic prescription, except it contains three different dosage levels instead of two. A woman experiencing negative side effects from taking a monophasic pill may want to switch to either triphasic or biphasic pills.

    The progestin-only pill is well-suited for women who are breastfeeding, since estrogen has a negative effect on the milk supply. On the downside, progestin-only pills are more likely to cause spotting, and they aren’t quite as effective as combination pills.

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