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Progestin-Only Contraceptive Pill (The Mini Pill)

Progestin-Only Contraceptive Pill (The Mini Pill)
Progestin-Only Contraceptive Pill (The Mini Pill)

What is a Progestin-only Pill?

The progestin-only pill, also referred to as the progestogen-only oral contraceptive or mini pill, is a small single-hormone tablet taken to prevent pregnancy. It contains minimal doses of synthetic progestin hormone. This hormone is similar to the progesterone hormone found in a woman’s body. One pill is taken once a day, at the same time every day. Different brands of Progestin-only pills are available, and new options keep being added to the market [1].

How does the Progestin-only Pill work?

The pill works by thickening the cervical mucus, which then acts as a plug that prevents the sperm from entering the womb and traveling to the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.

What is the difference between the Progestin-only(Mini) Pill and the Combined pill?

The Progestin-only is different from the Combined Pill in that it only contains one female hormone. It, therefore, can be used by breastfeeding women and women who cannot use contraceptives that contain estrogen for whatever reason. It does not stop most women’s usual periods. The Mini pill is made by different brands and will usually be in a pack of 28 active pills. This means that all 28 pills have the progestin hormone. A pack can also come with 24 hormonal pills and 4 non-hormonal pills. Before using the pill, always read the instructions on the packaging carefully, and make sure that you understand how to use the pills and what to do in case you miss a pill or experience nausea [2].

What does the Progestin-only Pill look like?

How is the Progestin-only (Mini) Pill taken?

The first thing you need to know is that the best time to start taking the pill is on the first to the fifth day of your period. This is because you get immediate protection from the risk of getting pregnant. However, starting the pill at any other time is also okay. The only difference is that you will need to use a backup contraceptive, like a condom, for the first 48 hours. This will allow some time for the pill to become effective.

How do you achieve the highest effectiveness from the Progestin-only Pill?

If used correctly, the Progestin-only Pill can be more than 99% percent effective in preventing pregnancy. However, it is only 93% effective for women who are not breastfeeding [3].
You must remember to take the pill every day, no matter what, and to start a new pack of pills on time. The pill can be taken at any time of the day. Women who are not breastfeeding should take the pill at the same time, every day. Taking the progestin-only pill more than three hours later than usual makes it less effective.

However, newer types, like Cerazette, can be taken within 12 hours of the same time every day. If you are likely to forget to take the pill, you can either set an alarm to remind yourself or link the pill-taking to daily routine activities like brushing your teeth. One pill per day should be taken continuously and you should not stop even when you are on your period. When you finish the first pack, you should start the next pack the following day [5].

The Progestin-only Pill is immediately effective:

– if you have just had a baby and take it within 21 days after giving birth.

– if taken between six weeks and six months after giving birth if you are doing exclusive breastfeeding and haven’t had your period.
– soon after a loss of a pregnancy or after an abortion.
-the day after you stop using another hormonal contraceptive. (If you are transitioning from the combined oral contraceptive pill, take the first progestin pill the day after taking your last hormone-based pill. If you begin taking the progestin-only pill outside these circumstances, you should use a backup contraceptive, like a condom, for the first 48 hours.)
– if you start using them two days before the removal of an intrauterine device (IUD) [4].

What should I do if I forget to take my Mini Pill?

If you forget to take a Progestin-only Pill for more than three hours, take one as soon as you remember, and use a backup method for the next 48 hours. Take the next pill at the usual time the next day.
The Progestin-only pill pack that has 24 hormonal and 4 non-hormonal pills gives you more flexibility in case you miss your pill. If you occasionally miss taking a pill, you can take one within the next 24 hours. However, missing a pill reduces the effectiveness of this contraceptive in protecting you against pregnancy.

What should I do if I experience diarrhea or vomiting after taking the Mini Pill?

If you experience severe vomiting and/or diarrhea within three hours after taking the Progestin-only Pill, there is a high chance that it was not completely absorbed in your body. Keep taking the pills but use a backup method for the next 48 hours following the vomiting or diarrhea [6].
Should I continue taking the Mini Pill if I am no longer breastfeeding?
Once you stop breastfeeding, you can continue with this method if you are satisfied with it, or you can talk to your doctor or nurse about transitioning to another method of contraceptive.

When is it safe to have unprotected sex after starting a Mini pill?

It takes about 2 days for the Progestin-only Pill to become effective in preventing pregnancy. It is therefore recommended that you use a barrier method like condoms for the first two days. After that, you can have unprotected sex without worrying about pregnancy. Sometimes, your healthcare provider or the instructions on the leaflet found inside the pill package may advise you to use backup protection for 7 days after starting the pill. This advice is given because, typically it takes about 7 days for the Mini Pill to stop ovulation.

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Compare with similar Contraceptive Methods

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