Birth Control Pills in Korea

This is a sensitive topic but as a female foreigner living in Korea who does not know Korean, it is not always easy to consult with a doctor about birth control pills or explore your options. I hope this article may give you an insight into birth control pills (피임약) in Korea.

How to Get Birth Control Pills in Korea

If you’re new to South Korea, you’re probably wondering how to get over-the-counter birth control pills. The good news is that they are easily accessible in ALL Korean pharmacies.

Pharmacy hours vary by location – most are open from 9 AM to 6 PM but are closed on Sundays. You can easily spot them on the street. Pharmacies have the character for medicine or “약” imprinted in red on their window, banner, or door. They are often attached to a hospital and you can even find them inside major subway stations!

You approach any of these pharmacies and ask the pharmacist about 피임약 (pi-im yak). However, it is always better if you know exactly what you want to purchase before going, as not every pharmacy will carry the same birth control pills, and many have different kinds.

Before Going to the Pharmacy

Birth Control Pill Types

Birth control pills work by either stopping ovulation or preventing implantation of the egg into the uterine lining. However, virtually all birth control pills available in Korea do both.

Instead, Korean birth control pills are divided into “generations.” First-generation pills are no longer sold because of their high levels of estrogen that cause excess side effects. Second-generation pills have a small amount of estrogen, while third and fourth-generation pills have varying types of progesterone and can reduce possible side effects. There are three different types you need to know: monophasic, triphasic, and multiphasic.

Monophasic Birth Control

Monophasic or “one phase” pills are either 21 or 28 days. They are the most commonly prescribed type of pills. The pills contain a consistent amount of ingredients per monthly pack. A steady amount of hormones released can cause fewer side effects over time. A popular brand of monophasic pills in Korea is Myvolar/Myvlar (마이보라).

Triphasic Birth Control

Triphasic pills regulate the hormone levels in your body in three phases. The doses of hormones change approximately every seven days during the pill pack. For example, the first phase lasts 5-7 days, the second phase 5-9 days, and the third phase 5-10 days (depending on the brand). The final 7 days in the pack are placebo pills that have no active ingredients at all. A popular brand of triphasic pills in Korea is Triquilar.

Multiphasic Birth Control

The last type is multiphasic. Multiphasic pills have many phases of hormone levels and closely mimic the gradual hormonal changes the body normally experiences. These pills change the ratio of progestin to estrogen and the doses during the 21-day cycle. They are usually “4th generation” pills, like Qlaira, and contain new ingredients.

Birth Control Pills in Korea: Brands & Prices

Below are the popular brands of birth control pills in Korea:

Mercilon 머시론

Details: Come in 28 tablet packs, monophasic birth control.
Composition: Desogestrel, Ethinylestradiol
Price: 9,000 – 10,000 Won

Diane 35 다이안느 35

Details: Come in 28 tablet packs, monophasic birth control.
Composition: Cyproterone acetate, Ethinylestradiol.
Price: 13,000 – 15,000 Won

Qlaira 클래라

Details: Come in 28 tablet packs, Multiphasic (4). Because they are multiphasic, you need to take them in the correct order.
Composition: Estradiol Valerate, Dienogest
Price: 23,000 – 25,000 Won

Myvlar 마이보라

Details: Come in 28 tablet packs, Monophasic. They are one of the lowest-dose contraceptives on the market. As a result, they have the least side effects, but they must be taken very consistently at the exact same time every day to be effective.
Composition: Gestodene, Ethinyl Estradiol
Price: 9,000 – 10,000 Won

Alesse 에이리스

Details: Come in 28 tablet packs, Monophasic.
Composition: Levonorgestrel, Ethinyl Estradiol
Price: 20,000 – 24,000 Won

Note that every birth control does have side effects listed. For all forms of birth control, possible side effects include depression, gaining weight, and bleeding irregularities. However, there are numerous other side effects that women can experience. For the best result, you should go to the doctor to find the birth control pills that are most compatible with your body. To find a professional, all you need to do is go to an OBGYN. You can find these doctors by searching 산부인과 on Naver or Kakao Maps.

For a list of some English-speaking OBGYN’s, Click Here. While the article is about natural birthing services, all of the clinics listed offer general women’s health services as well.

As for sexual health, you can Click Here for information on Plan B and free STD testing.

🇻🇳 Wendy

I am not old but for some reasons, i feel old. Twenty two but hard-working :)