Progestin-only mini pill
The mini pill (progestin-only pill) is a tablet that contains one hormone. The hormone makes it harder for the man’s sperm to get into the womb and may also change the lining of the womb so an egg cannot develop in it. It sometimes prevents an egg from being released by the woman each month.
The mini pill needs to be taken at the same time each day. If you do not start taking the pill in the first five days of your menstrual cycle you may need to use a back-up method for the first two days before it provides contraceptive cover for you. You should use a condom if you have sex during these 2 days.
Note: Condoms are the only contraceptive methods which also protect against sexually transmitted infections. To ensure protection from both pregnancy and infection, we recommend "dual protection". This means using a contraceptive method of your choice to prevent pregnancy in addition to a male or female condom.
How well does the mini pill work?
- The pill works quite well at preventing a pregnancy. If one hundred women used a mini pill as instructed for a year and carried on with their normal sex life then only one of those women would fall pregnant during that period.
- The mini pill’s ability to stop a pregnancy largely depends on the person who uses it using it properly, and taking it every day. With typical use, up to 10 in 100 women will fall pregnant while using the mini-pill.
- If you do not have a routine and think you will not be able to take the mini pill at the same time each day, it may not be the right method for you.
What are the advantages of the mini pill?
- It can be used when you are breast feeding.
- It can be a good choice for you if you are not suitable for other types of pill which contain two hormones.
- Your previous fertility will return immediately after you stop the mini pill.
- You can start it straight after an abortion.
- It does not interrupt sex.
- The mini pill itself does not cause weight gain.
What are the disadvantages of the mini pill?
- The mini pill has to be taken at the same time each day. Forgetting to take the pill on a daily basis could make it fail.
- Some women develop frequent or irregular bleeding while taking the mini pill.
- Bleeding changes may persist throughout use of the mini pill.
- The mini pill does not protect from sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.
- Some women may experience headaches, breast tenderness and dizziness, but these symptoms generally get better within the first few months of using the mini pill. Frequent or irregular bleeding or no monthly bleeding may also occur when using the mini pill.
- The pill may not work if you have vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Some medications, particularly those used to treat seizures, can stop the pill from working. Speak to your medical provider about any medications you are currently using before starting the mini-pill.