What Is Monophasic Birth Control And Is It Right For You?

For women who want to enjoy intimate moments with their partner but want to prevent pregnancy, birth control can ease some of their worries. Between 2017 and 2019, oral contraceptives were the most common birth control method among women ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The use of birth control pills also appeared to decrease with age, as female sterilization was the most popular birth control method for women between 40 and 49.

Before you take oral contraceptives, you'll want to know what's in them and what they do to protect you from unwanted pregnancies. Birth control pills contain the hormones estrogen and/or progestin which prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, as explained by Planned Parenthood. The pill is a viable option for many women because it's up to 99% effective when used properly, but a condom should still be used to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases. 

Birth control pills are divided into different categories. Combination pills, which include monophasic and multiphasic versions, are the most popular form of oral contraceptives (per the Mayo Clinic). Combination pills are available in conventional packs and in continuous dosing or extended cycle packs, which influences how often you get your period. 

Monophasic and multiphasic pills contain both estrogen and progestin, whereas the minipill contains only progestin. Let's take a closer look at how monophasic birth control works, and how it differs from the other forms of oral contraceptives.

How do monophasic birth control pills work?

Monophasic birth control contains both estrogen and progestin, but the way it works is unique from other combination pills. For the first three weeks of a woman's monthly cycle, monophasic pills provide consistent amounts of estrogen and progestin in each dose, followed by placebo pills or no pills during the last week, as explained by Healthline

Monophasic pills are sold in sets of 21 pills or 28 pills, and they come in low, regular, and high doses. Out of all combination pills, monophasic pills are prescribed most frequently and are the most extensively researched, according to Medical News Today. Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies, monophasic birth control can be beneficial for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

If a birth control pill is considered multiphasic instead of monophasic, the levels of estrogen and progestin distributed during a woman's monthly cycle vary instead of staying consistent. Monophasic pills have the advantage of providing a balanced dose of both hormones, which may lead to fewer side effects. When side effects do occur, women who use monophasic birth control may experience symptoms like headaches, tender breasts, and fluctuations in mood.

With so many contraceptives available, you may be conflicted about which one to use. Fortunately, there are ways to determine whether monophasic birth control is the best option for you. 

Choosing the right birth control method for you

Although monophasic birth control is the most commonly prescribed oral contraceptive, it's not suitable for everyone. For example, monophasic birth control isn't recommended for women over the age of 35, those who have had blood clots, and those who smoke, according to Medical News Today. Other forms of birth control may be safer for women who have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or stroke. As noted by Bedsider, it can be dangerous for individuals with some medical conditions to use any form of contraceptive that contains estrogen. 

Breast milk production can be affected by the estrogen found in combination pills, so women who are nursing are advised to take progestin-only contraceptives instead of monophasic birth control. In addition, contraceptives containing estrogen shouldn't be used by women who have just delivered a baby. A different form of birth control may also be necessary for women whose bodies are sensitive to estrogen. 

If monophasic pills aren't the right fit for you, other birth control methods are available for you to consider, such as the patch, intrauterine devices (IUDs), vaginal rings, and barrier methods (per Cleveland Clinic). Ultimately, your obstetrician-gynecologist can provide the best insight into which contraceptive is most appropriate for you, so you'll want to schedule a visit with them if you're looking for effective ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.