The mini-pill or progestogen-only pill is a safe and effective alternative to the combined contraceptive pill.

Mini-Pill isĀ 99% effective and doesn’t contain oestrogen, which is why many women are recommended to use it. This is because the mini pill, unlike the pill, isn’t contraindicated with conditions such as migraines and can be used by women who are currently breastfeeding.

Although Micronor is the most widely used contraceptive, there are others to choose from, such as the increasingly popular Cerazette, Femulen and Noriday.

What are the benefits of using the mini-pill?

Using the mini-pill means that it only needs to be taken once a day and doesn’t have to interrupt sex. This makes it easier to be spontaneous with your partner, without having to worry about barrier methods. However, one of the major reasons women use the mini-pill is the fact that it doesn’t contain oestrogen, making it safer for women who are sensitive to the effects of oestrogen. This includes women who experience migraines, women over 35 who are heavy smokers and women that are breastfeeding.

Taking the mini-pill may also have the benefit of making periods less painful and reducing the intensity of other premenstrual symptoms.

Are there any disadvantages to using the mini-pill?

Although the mini-pill only needs to be taken once a day, it’s important that it be taken at the same time every day, which isn’t always convenient. However, Cerazette is different, because it can still be taken for up to 12 hours after it’s scheduled period of time.

Although the mini-pill cannot stop ovulation in all women, this does sometimes occur with Cerazette. This form of hormonal contraception is also more likely to have side effects such as irregular periods, extremely light periods or light spotting when you first start using it. Some women may experience a complete absence of their periods.

How does the mini-pill work?

Although in some women the mini pill can influence ovulation, it is thought to primarily influence a women’s cycle in two ways. During your menstrual cycle your womb lining thickens to make it ready to receive an egg, however with the mini-pill this doesn’t happen. The progestogen in the mini-pill provides further protection by changing cervical mucus, so that it acts as a barrier, preventing sperm from making it through to the womb to fertilise an egg.

How effective is the mini-pill?

The mini-pill is 99% effective. This means that one in every 100 women who take the mini-pill may fall pregnant. It is important to note that pregnancy is still very unlikely with the mini-pill, provided it’s used correctly; this means avoiding taking it too late or skipping a pill.

When is it not safe to take the mini-pill?

The mini-pill has such a wide appeal because it can safely be taken by many different women, however there are certain health conditions with which the use of a mini-pill is not advisable. Such conditions include liver tumours, a history of breast cancer, being seriously overweight, severe arterial disease and undiagnosed vaginal bleeding. If you are taking any medicines make sure that you inform your doctor. Some medications can affect the mini-pill.