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Mini Pill

Information including mini pill side effects, options and obtaining in the UK

The mini pill – also known as the progestogen-only pill or the POP pill - is a popular contraceptive option especially with women who are sensitive to oestrogen. Mini pill is also highly tolerable for those who smoke, are older than 35 or have certain underlying health issues. The mini pill differs from the combined pill in that it is taken for the full 28-days of your cycle without a break and only contains the synthetic hormone progesterone. When taken correctly, all types are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. You can buy three popular types of mini pill at OnlineClinic by starting a quick consultation below, or read on for more information.

Dr Hilary Jones Dr Hilary Jones
OnlineClinic Medical Advisor

"Used by millions of women, hormonal contraception helps to effectively prevent pregnancy."

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What is the mini pill?

The mini pill is an oral contraceptive method that provides women with 99% effectiveness against pregnancy and can also be called the progestrogen-only pill, the POP pill or also spelt 'progestin-only pill' as well.

It's a popular form of contraception as it contains one synthetic progestrogen hormone and no oestrogen, resulting in a more tolerable version if you have suffered from side effects using combined contraceptive pills.

It also has additional benefits including based on your period including making your period lighter, more manageable and less painful.

Whilst it works in a very similar way to the combined pill, and is taken once daily, there are some clear differences including no seven-day break, versatility and precautions all detailed below.

How does the mini pill work?

The mini pill is very similar to the combined pill in how it works, making it nearly 100% fool proof against pregnancy when taken correctly:

  • It thickens womb lining so if an egg is released, it cannot implant
  • It thickens cervical coating (mucus), making it difficult for sperm to make it to the egg
  • It can stop ovulation completely

How to take the mini pill

The mini pill never has a seven-day break, but inactive pills in the pack that are clearly labelled or in a different colour. This means there is less chance of you forgetting to start a new pack as you are continuously taking contraception. Whilst this is easy to remember, this also means that the timeframe of taking the pill should remain consistent. Ideally, you will need to take one pill daily within a three hour timeframe, however Cerazette can be taken within 12-hours and remain effective.

  • One pill is taken daily at the same time
  • They can be taken with or without food
  • Pills should be taken in the right order as there are inactive pills that should be taken continuously
  • Blister packs are easily labelled to keep track
  • You will still experience your "period" (withdrawal bleed)
  • Once you've finished your pack, start the next one the next day
  • Mini pills are typically prescribed in 3-month and 6-month dosages

If you're starting the mini pill for the first time, taking your initial pill on the first day of your period will mean you're immediately protected.

What if I miss a pill?

When skipping a mini pill, it does depend on what type it is as they are split into 3-hour mini pills and 12-hour mini pills:

  • Cerazette is a 12-hour pill meaning you have a 12 hour breathing space to take your next pill
  • Micronor and Noriday is a 3-hour pill meaning you have a smaller 3 hour timeframe to take your next pill

Missing a pill is a common scenario, however taking the right precautions and reacting quickly can mean you're still protected, or you may need additional protection or refrain from sex for a few days…

  • If you are less than 3 hours or 12 hours depending on the mini pills you're using, just take your late pill as soon as you remember and you will still be fully protected
  • Continue as normal, even if you take two pills in one day
  • If you are more than 3 or 12 hours depending on the mini pills you're using, take your late pill as soon as you can but you will have to use additional barrier contraception (i.e. condoms) for seven days after
  • Continue as normal, even if you take two pills in one day

If you have missed a couple of pills and have had unprotected sex, you may choose to take emergency contraception to be completely safe. Both ellaOne and Levonelle are available to buy online.

Precautions and side effects

Side effects of the mini pill are unlikely, and even more rare than the combined pill, as there is only one synthetic hormone of progestrogen, or two. If you do experience side effects, these tend to be manageable and temporary, especially as your body is becoming used to the medication. Side effects can include headaches, slight acne, slight weight gain (down to water retention) and breast tenderness. If these symptoms are particularly severe, or you're experiencing any others, then it is advised to stop the medication and contact your doctor about alternative contraceptive options.

Some precautions to take into account with the mini pill include:

  • A history of breast cancer
  • Liver tumours
  • Severe artery disease
  • Unknown bleeding or spotting (vagina)

It's also worth mentioning that if you are vomiting or experience diarrhoea whilst taking the mini pill, effectiveness can reduce and you will need to follow the 'missed pill' category, and use condoms for seven days after to be cautious.

These are general precautions relevant for all mini pills, however you will need to read the individual product pages – where the patient leaflet is attached at the bottom of the page – for a more detail list before taking any mini pill medication.

Buying treatment

The vast majority of sexually active women in the UK use oral contraception, and the mini pill is a popular option. All are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly as well as offering relief during your time of the month. The peace of mind that taking oral contraception can give you allows you to enjoy sexual freedom and lightens period symptoms.

At OnlineClinic, we offer three mini pill options; Cerazette (12-hour pill), Micronor (3-hour pill) and Noriday (3-hour pill). To order any mini pill in the UK, you must complete a quick consultation to be issued a prescription. You can do this online with us for free, or for more information, visit our product pages.

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