Different types of pills at a glance

combined pill

The combination pill is the type of pill most commonly prescribed. It contains both estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestogen. Which progestin is included varies from product to product. There is also now a combination pill that uses an estrogen type instead of ethinyl estradiol that provides estradiol, the estrogen that is produced in the body.


In addition to the combination pill, there is still the so-called mini pill, which is pure gestagen pills. It is usually prescribed to women who, for some reason, are not allowed to take estrogen. Due to its low hormone concentration, it hardly influences the body's own hormone production.

Since there is no estrogen in the mini-pills, ovulation continues to occur among the women, with the exception of one drug. Fertilization is thus possible if the mini-pill is not taken in a fixed time window. Overall, the mini pill is considered somewhat uncertain than the combination pill.

Single-phase and multi-phase pill

However, with birth control pills, there are not only differences in the hormones it contains, but also in their dosage. Most commonly, single-phase pills (monophasic) are prescribed in which all the pills taken have the same hormone content.

In the case of multi-phase pills, however, the type of hormones contained and their content change. Therefore, the individual pills must necessarily be taken in the correct order. To facilitate the taking, the pills in different phases have the cycle different colors. Unlike single-phase pills, multiphase pills take into account the natural fluctuations in female hormone levels.

21 + 7, 24 + 4 and 26 + 2

With the combination pills, there are finally differences in terms of the duration of use. The most widely used is scheme 21 + 7. The pill is taken 21 days at a time, then a pill break of seven days is inserted. Alternatively, there are some supplements that contain seven placebo pills without any active ingredient, so that a continuous intake can take place. During the seven days in which no or the placebo pills are taken, the menstrual period takes place.

In the 24 + 4 regimen, hormone-based pills are taken over a period of 24 days, followed by a four-day break taking placebo tablets. During this time, the menstrual period takes place. A similar system is also based on the 26 + 2 scheme. Here, pills with different hormone concentrations are taken for 26 days. This is followed by two days in which hormone-free placebo pills are taken.

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