The Mini Pill

The mini pill (progesterone only-pill, or “POP”) does not contain oestrogen and only contains the hormone progesterone. And because of this, we usually recommend it to women who can’t have oestrogen for any health or personal reasons. Oestrogen can also affect your blood pressure, so the mini pill is a better choice for people with high blood pressure, smokers (especially if over 35), and anyone with a family history of blood clots.

Advantages of the Mini Pill

  • It doesn’t contain oestrogen, so it’s useful for women who cannot take oestrogen (such as breastfeeding women, or women with high blood pressure)
  • It’s safer for smokers, especially if over 35
  • It can help with PMS symptoms and painful or heavy periods

Disadvantages of the Mini Pill

  • With some mini pills, you have a shorter window in which to take the pill each day to ensure effectiveness
  • It may cause temporary side effects in the first few months, such as headaches, breast tenderness, weight change and spots
  • Your periods may become irregular or stop altogether whilst you are taking the mini pill. Spotting in between periods is also common with the POP
  • Missing a pill, vomiting or severe diarrhoea after taking the pill can make it less effective
  • Medications to treat HIV, epilepsy and TB, as well as St. John’s Wort can make the pill less effective
  • Doesn’t help improve acne
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