1 What is a Minipill (Progestin-Only Birth Control Pill)?

An oral contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin is called minipilll or progestin-only birth control pill and this does not contain estrogen.

The progestin dose in a minipill is lower than the progestin dose in a combination oral contraceptive pill.

This pill thins the endometrium or the lining of the uterus and thickens cervical mucus, so it will prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

You should take the minipill at the same time every day for maximum effectiveness. Sometimes, it also suppresses ovulation.

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2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to use a minipill (progestin-only birth control pill).

This may be suggested by your doctor if:

  • You have certain problems such as a history of blood clots in the legs or the lungs and at the same time if you have an increased risk of those conditions.
  • You are breastfeeding because it is believed that the estrogen component of combination birth control pills inhibited breast milk production though studies today show that combination birth control pills don't affect lactation.
  • You are concerned about combination birth control pills or drug interactions with or side effects of birth control pills containing estrogen for some women.

The minipill is an easily reversible method of contraception. Immediately after you stop taking the minipill, your fertility will return to normal. If you have the type of skin inflammation (dermatitis) that seems to be related to your menstrual cycle, your doctor may recommend minipill to treat this condition.

This is not for everyone, this may not be an option if:

  • You have liver disease.
  • You currently have or had breast cancer.
  • You have unexplained uterine bleeding.
  • You had bariatric surgery.
  • You will have trouble taking the pill at the same time every day due to a changing work schedule or other factors.
  • You are taking medications for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS or to control seizures.

3 Potential Risks

Along with using a minipilll (progestin-only birth control pill) comes potential risks.

Some studies say that as many as 13 out of 100 women who use the minipill will get pregnant in a year of use. This minipill does not offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

The failure rate of the minipill is thought to be higher than that of other hormonal contraceptive methods.

There will be a slightly higher chance that the pregnancy will be ectopic if you become pregnant while taking the minipill but there are no risk of birth defects in babies born to women taking the minipill while pregnant.

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus mostly in a fallopian tube. 

The side effects include:

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for your minipill procedure (progestin-only birth control pill), you must follow your doctor’s orders.

Minipill is a prescription oral contraceptive. You can start taking the minipill on the first day of your menstrual period.

Your doctor will suggest a backup method of birth control, such as a male condom, for the first two days after you start taking the minipill.

You might be able to skip the backup birth control if you start taking the minipill:

  • Between six weeks and six months after giving birth if you are fully or nearly fully breastfeeding and haven't had a period.
  • During the first five days of your period.
  • Immediately after you had an abortion.
  • The day after you stops using another hormonal method of contraception.
  • Within the first 21 days after giving birth if you're not breastfeeding.

Start taking the minipill the day after you take your last active combination birth control pill if you are going to change from a combination birth control pill to the minipill.

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your minipill (progestin-only birth control pill).

To use the minipill:

  • Talk to your doctor first about the starting date and having a backup method of birth control available if necessary.
  • Pick a time where you can take it regularly with the exact same time every day, but avoid sex or use a backup method of birth control for at least two days if you take the minipill more than three hours later than usual.
  • Do not take breaks between packs because this do not contain a week of inactive pills so you should always have your next pack ready before you finish your current pack.
  • Look out for missed pills even if it means taking two pills in one day or you can use a backup method of birth control for at least two days.

Use a backup method of birth control if you experienced diarrhea or vomiting while using the minipill. Contact your doctor right away if your bleeding is particularly heavy or lasts for more than eight days.

6 Procedure Results

If you do not understand your minipill (progestin-only birth control pill) results, consult with your doctor.

The benefits of using minipill are that women have a decreased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and endometrial cancer.

You may also have less menstrual cramping and pain, less chance of anemia and fewer periods.