Types of Contraceptive Pill

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A number of different pharmaceutical companies manufacture different brands of the contraceptive pill. Each has slightly different levels of the hormone derivatives of progestogen and/or oestrogen and work in different ways. Some pills have different levels of hormones throughout the cycle and some are taken every day, so it is important that you read the instructions that come with your contraceptive pill and talk to your doctor in order to understand how to take your particular brand.

The 21-day pill

Most of the contraceptive pills are 21-day pills. This means that you need to take a pill every day at the same time for 21 days and then you have a 7-day break in which you don’t take any pills. During this time you will experience a withdrawal bleed. This is the most common type of contraceptive pill on the market although the big disadvantage is that sometimes you can forget when you need to start the next pack, which can make the pill less effective.

The everyday pill

This type of pill solves the problem of forgetting the next pack. You take 21 active pills, containing the hormones and then take 7 inactive pills, which means that you take a pill every single day. The inactive pills will not have any effect on you as there are no hormones in them so you will experience a withdrawal bleed, they are just there so that you keep up the routine of taking a pill every day.

Types of combined contraceptive pill

The level of the pills hormones varies between the different brands. Some pills are called monophasic pills, where every pill is the same colour and contains the same amount of hormones.  However, some brands manufacture multi-phase pills. These could be biphasic with two different types of pill, triphasic, with three different types of pill or even quadriphasic, which contains four different types of pill. Essentially, this means that there are different pills containing different levels of hormones, depending on the time in the cycle in which you are supposed to take them. For instance, there might be 7 white pills that have small amounts of the two hormones and then there might be 14 peach coloured pills that have slightly higher amounts of the hormones. This difference in levels is just a way of mimicking your body cycle.

Multi-phase pills are slightly more complicated that monophasic pills because if you miss a pill, it is difficult to determine what you should do. With a monophasic one, you know that they are all the same level of hormone. Also, if you miss the start of the new pack of pills, it makes it more difficult to deal with. If you have any questions with the multi-phase pills, you should consult your doctor.

The mini pill

This type of contraceptive pill is taken differently to the combined contraceptive pill and it only contains progestogen. You must take a pill every day continuously, even if you are on your period. If you miss taking the mini pill by any more than three hours, then the effectiveness of the pill may be reduced. It is important to understand that although this pill can lessen the side effects, it is not as effective at preventing pregnancy, as it does not always stop an egg from being released during ovulation.

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