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Progestogen-only Pill

What is the progestogen-only pill?

The progestogen-only pill or 'mini-pill' contains one type of hormone called 'progestogen', this is similar to the natural hormone women produce in their ovaries. There are lots of different types of progestogen-only pills you can choose from.

You can get the pill free of charge from your GP or any Sandyford clinic.  

The progestogen-only pill is a very effective method of contraception if used correctly.
The method thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg implanting. It sometimes stops your ovaries releasing an egg. This is the main action of one pill containing desogestrel (Cerazette or Cerelle)

You will need to talk to your GP or the doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic to see if the pill is the right method of contraception for you. They will ask you about your family's medical history and any illness or operations you have had. For some reasons the pill may not be the best option for you.

You don't need a breast or vaginal examination before you can start the pill.

All our clinics keep a wide range of pills and you will usually leave with supplies your chosen pill.

How effective is it?

Contraceptive use can either be perfect (always correct) or typical (more accurate, as it’s sometimes difficult to use contraception correctly every time). 
With typical use of the combined pill, approximately 8 in 100 people become pregnant within the first year of use.

What makes it less effective?

Missing pills, vomiting or severe diarrhoea can make the pill less effective.

Some medications including some complementary medicines, can make your contraception less effective, always tell your doctor, dentist or chemist.

What are the advantages?

 There are few serious side effects with the progestogen-only pill.

  • You can use it if you are breastfeeding.
  • It is useful if you cannot take oestrogens, like those found in the combined pill.
  • You can use it at any age and can be used by women more than 35 years old who smoke.
  • It may help with pre-menstrual tension and painful periods.

 Are there any disadvantages?

  • Your periods may become irregular.  If this concerns you see your doctor or nurse. Changing to a different progestogen-only pill may help.
  • You must remember to take the pill at the same time every day.
  • Some people may get some temporary side effects but these should stop after using the pill for a short while. These include: spots, breast tenderness, appetite change or headaches.
  • The pill protects you from pregnancy but not sexually transmitted infections.

 Only condoms can provide protection against most infections.

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