What is the ‘combined pill’?


The combined pill, which may also be called ‘the pill’ or ‘combined oral contraceptives’ or ‘COC’ contains two hormones: estrogen and progestin.  These are hormones that are similar to the natural hormones found in women’s bodies. The combined pill  is also available as a ‘low-dose’ pill. The combined pill is the most commonly used modern method of contraception.

There are three main types of combined pills:46

–      Monophasic  pills : provide the same amount of estrogen and progestin in every hormonal pill and normally comme in 21 day pill packets,

–      Phasic (21 day pill packets), Biphasic and triphasic pills change the amount of estrogen and progestin at different points of the pill-taking cycle. Normally it comes in 21 day pill packets,

–      Everyday (ED) pills are to be taken continuosly and come in 28 day pill packets. 

There are many different compositions and brands of each of these types of pills. All prevent pregnancy in the same way. Differences in side effects, effectiveness and continuation appear to be minimal, although some women may try one or two different brands before finding the pills that feel like the best fit for her. 46