The minipill is an oral contraceptive tablet. It is a single-hormone treatment, which provides a lower-risk alternative to the combined pill.
- For those who are oestrogen sensitive
- Lower likelihood of side effects
- Still highly proficient at preventing pregnancy
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8 treatment(s) for Mini Pills
- Branded progesterone-only pill
- Low dose for those who are hormone-sensitive
- Successful in 99% of cases
- Can be taken while breastfeeding
- Lower risk of side effects
- Effective at preventing pregnancy
- Effective contraceptive treatment
- Better for those susceptible to side effects
- Can prevent bleeding entirely in some
- Single active ingredient
- Can be used while breastfeeding
- Branded 99% effective treatment
- Suitable for breastfeeding users
- Not as likely to cause side effects
- Almost as effective as the combined pill
- Reduced risk of side effects
- Suitable while breastfeeding
- High level of effectiveness
The progesterone-only pill, or minipill, is a form of contraceptive medication. It is referred to as such because it does not contain oestrogen, like combined pills do. This makes it a more suitable alternative for those who might be sensitive to oestrogen, and at increased risk of experiencing associated side effects. Some minipills can also be used by women who are breastfeeding, and they can also relieve symptoms of premenstrual tension.
Progesterone is a natural hormone, and works to regulate the processes the female body goes through when preparing for a baby. Each month, levels of the hormone rise and fall, and these movements trigger certain actions. Ovulation is one such event which takes place when levels of progesterone decrease, and this sees the release of an ovum (or egg) from the ovary.
The hormone also causes the lining of the endometrium to shed. It’s absence creates a build up of this lining; and when this lining is thick, it is easier for a fertilised egg to implant and develop in the uterus.
The minipill contains a synthetic version of progesterone, which is usually desogestrel, levonorgestrel or norethisterone. These often work by replacing progesterone levels when they decrease, and effectively tell the body that ovulation has already taken place. With some minipills ovulation does not happen; while with most, the endometrial lining does not build up to a point where it can receive an egg. They also alter conditions in the fallopian tube and at the neck of the womb, to make it harder for sperm to travel and each an egg.
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Types of Treatment
The list of hormonal contraceptive products available on the market is a long one. In addition to regular combined pills, you can buy patches, rings and coils which perform the same function.
Another form of hormonal contraception available is the progesterone-only pill, or minipill. As opposed to containing both progesterone and oestrogen, these pills, more commonly known as ‘minipills’, contain just one active ingredient. This means they aren’t as likely to cause side effects in some people, and some minipills can even be used by women who are breastfeeding.
How do they work?
By mimicking the function of progesterone, these pills avert pregnancy by interfering with the release of eggs during ovulation. They also cause the lining of the endometrium to remain thin, and this makes it harder for an ovum to attach itself. Some minipills also work to increase the density of vaginal fluid, and this makes it harder for sperm to travel inside the womb.
What are the side effects?
Despite the fact that the risk of side effects may be reduced in some users, the minipill can still be responsible for causing side effects in others, so it is important to read the patient information leaflet prior to using this type of product. The most common side effects of these medicines are breast pain, acne or slight weight fluctuations.
Can I take them with other medications?
Some medicines may make the minipill less effective and vice versa, so you should tell your prescriber about any other treatments you are taking during consultation.
Our Minipills forum
What’s the difference between the medications?
Whereas combined pills contain versions of both progesterone and oestrogen, the progesterone-only pill contains just that. Although some minipills may not be quite as reliable as combined pills, most of them still offer a 97% success rate in preventing pregnancy.
Should I use minipills or another form of treatment?
Whether you take minipills or not depends on your medical condition, and how susceptible you are to potential side effects. For instance, you may find that combined pills cause you unwanted effects, and opt to try using a minipill instead. Some minipills can be taken by women who are breastfeeding. Your lifestyle, particularly whether you smoke, can make a difference to which product you use too.
Are there different side effects?
Yes. It is vital to maintain an awareness of the side effects a product might cause, so you can get medical attention quickly if necessary. Consult the relevant product pages to find out more about the associated side effects of the minipill.
Is it right for me?
Taking our confidential questionnaire can help you find out. Once you have selected your product and completed this, a doctor will analyse your responses. When the medicine has been confirmed as safe, we’ll make sure you get it the following working day.
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