The mini pill or progestogen-only pill (POP) is an alternative oral contraceptive to the combined pill. It contains a low dose of progestogen, but does not contain any oestrogen. Brands available in Australia include Microlut, Locilan 28 Day, Micronor, and Noriday 28.
The mini pill contains synthetic progestogens which mimic the natural hormone, progesterone, which is produced by your body every month mostly in the last 2 weeks of your menstrual cycle.
Progestogens thicken the cervical mucus and make the lining of the womb thinner. The thicker cervical mucus makes it very difficult for the sperm to get through the entrance of the uterus (womb) to fertilise the egg and the thin lining of the womb makes it very difficult for an egg to implant even if it does become fertilised. Progestogens can also inhibit the release of the egg from the ovary in some, but not all, menstrual cycles.
The effectiveness of a contraceptive method can be measured for perfect use and typical use.
Some of the advantages of the mini pill are that it:
Some of the disadvantages of the mini pill are that it:
The mini pill is taken continuously on a daily basis, at the same time each day.
If you forget to take a pill within 3 hours of the usual time you take it, take the missed pill as soon as possible. Take the next pill at the usual time, even if that means taking 2 pills in one day. Alternative contraception should be used until 3 pills have been taken at the usual time.
If you have vomiting or diarrhoea, you may not absorb the mini pill, and you should use a barrier method of contraception, such as a diaphragm or condom for the next 2 to 14 days. Your doctor will be able to advise you.
Common side effects associated with use of the mini pill may include:
Last Reviewed: 28 August 2013