Types of Hormonal Birth Control

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Do you know which type of hormonal birth control you are using?

Furthermore, did your doctor even explain how it works? Most likely no, so let’s get our education on!

There are 3 categories of hormonal birth control we are going to discuss today: Combo pill, mini pill, and hormonal IUDs.

First of all, let’s start with that little pill you take every morning. It’s made of synthetic hormones ‘similar’ to those that occur naturally in your body.

Combination pills

They contain two types of SYNTHETIC hormones contained in comb pills are ethyl-estradiol and progestin.

As a result, combo pills prevent pregnancy in 3 ways:

  1. suppress ovulation (no egg releases);
  2. thickening cervical mucus (harder for sperm to move); and
  3. thinning uterine lining (harder for an egg to attach)

They vary by type of progestin & amount of synthetic estrogen (35-20ug)

Furthermore, different pills also have different amounts of hormone over the course of the month. These are called:

  • monophasic pills have an even amount of hormone throughout the month
  • triphasic pills have varied hormone doses through the month, most commonly 3 doses.

Not sure if you are taking a combination pill? Look for your brand under these common combo pill names: Alesse, Apri, Aranelle, Aviane, Enpresse, Estrostep, Lessina, Levlen, Levlite, Levora, Loestrin, Mircette, Natazia, Nordette, Lo/Orval, Ortho-Novum, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yasmin and Yaz. (Not quite as clever as nail polish names, but they get the birth control job done.)

Similarly, what about those pills that only give you fake periods two to three times per year? Those are called Lybrel, Seasonique & Seasonale (generic names: Jolessa or Qualsense). Same shit, just less sugar pills per year.

Now let’s talk about the Mini Pill.


The mini pill contain only synthetic progestin.

Likewise, they also prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus. Some also suppress ovulation, but that’s not what they’re supposed to do.

The mini-pill was developed for women who are sensitive to estrogen.

Not sure if you are taking the mini pill? Here are some common mini-pill brand names: Camila, Errin, Jolivette, & Micronor.

Hormonal IUDs

Similarly to the mini pill, hormonal IUDS contain only progestin. Progestin is very similar to the hormone progesterone that our bodies make naturally. However, they are more similar to testosterone in the body, which can lead to many negative side effects.

Here are some common names of IUDs:  Mirena works for 6 yrs, Kyleena 5 yrs, Liletta 4 yrs, and Skyla for 3 yrs.

Progestin works by thickening mucus and preventing ovulation.

Above all, if you are taking a hormonal birth control we are here to support you in your decision as long as you know the ins and outs of the mechanism of action of this drug as well as the short and long term side-effects.

In addition, to learn more about optimizing your health while taking the pill, please reach out to us. We would love to hear what form you are/were on! Comment below!