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What Are the Different Types of Hormonal Birth Control?

There are two main types of hormonal birth control — the combination hormonal birth control and the progestin-only birth control. Combination birth control delivers doses of both estrogen and progestin, while progestin-only methods contain only progestin. Both options have 99% effectiveness when used correctly, and you also have a wide variety of contraceptive methods to choose from.

Combination Birth Control

Combination birth control methods work to prevent pregnancy in three ways:

  • Stopping you from ovulating each month.
  • Thinning the lining of your uterus so an egg can’t attach.
  • Thickening your cervical mucus so sperm can’t move through it.

One of the most popular forms of combination birth control is the pill. These can come in either conventional packs or extended cycle packs. Conventional packs usually have 21 or 24 active pills and seven or four inactive pills, and you’ll have your period whenever you take the inactive pills. Extended cycle packs, on the other hand, have 84 active pills and seven inactive pills, meaning you can go three months without having a period.

Combination birth control also comes in ring and patch form, which work similarly with three weeks of active hormones and a week without them.

Progestin-Only Birth Control

Progestin-only birth control works by:

  • Thickening your cervical mucus so sperm can’t move through it.
  • Thinning the lining of your uterus so an egg can’t attach.

While some progestin-only birth controls do prevent you from ovulating, this is just an added bonus and doesn’t happen for all women.

Again, the pill is one of the most popular forms of progestin-only birth control. All progestin-only pills are active pills, so you’ll need to take one every day throughout your entire cycle.

Progestin-only birth control also comes as an implantable rod, injection, and IUD. These all work by slowing releasing progestin into your body over a long duration of time.

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