ContraceptionOur Gyno Health

Is this Hormone In Your Progesterone Contraceptive Pill The Best One?

If you are looking for a birth control option that does not contain estrogen, you may have heard of mini pills. Mini pills are oral contraceptives that only contain a progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. They are different from combination pills, which contain both estrogen and a progestin.

There are different types of mini pills available, and they may have different effects on your body and health. In this blog post, we will explain what mini pills are, how they work, and what are their benefits and drawbacks. We will also help you decide if mini pills are right for you and how to choose the best one for your needs.

What are Mini Pills and How Do They Work?

Mini pills are also known as progestin-only pills or POPs. They come in packs of 28 pills, and you have to take one pill every day at the same time. Unlike combination pills, there are no placebo pills or breaks between packs.

Mini pills work by thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to reach the egg. They also thin the lining of the uterus, which makes it less likely for a fertilized egg to implant. Some mini pills may also prevent ovulation, which means that no egg is released from the ovaries.

The effectiveness of mini pills depends on how consistently and correctly you take them. If you take them as directed, they are about 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, if you miss a pill or take it more than three hours late, the effectiveness drops to about 91%. That means that about 9 out of 100 women who use mini pills will get pregnant in a year.

What are the Benefits of Mini Pills?

Mini pills have several advantages over other birth control methods. Some of the benefits are:

  • They do not contain estrogen, which means they are safer for women who have health conditions that make estrogen unsafe, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, migraines, or breast cancer.
  • They are suitable for women who are breastfeeding, as they do not affect the milk supply or quality.
  • They may reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy.
  • They may help with some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), such as mood swings, bloating, and headaches.
  • They may cause lighter and shorter periods, or no periods at all.

What are the Drawbacks of Mini Pills?

Mini pills are not perfect, and they may have some disadvantages as well. Some of the drawbacks are:

  • They have to be taken at the same time every day, or within a three-hour window, to be effective. This may be hard to remember or inconvenient for some women.
  • They do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so you may need to use condoms or other barrier methods as well.
  • They may cause irregular bleeding or spotting, especially in the first few months of use. This may be annoying or unpredictable for some women.
  • They may have some side effects, such as acne, weight gain, breast tenderness, nausea, or decreased libido. These are usually mild and temporary, but they may vary from person to person.
  • They may not be suitable for women who have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, breast cancer, or unexplained vaginal bleeding. You should always consult your doctor before starting any birth control method.

How to Choose the Best Mini Pill for You?

There are different types of mini pills available, and they may have different progestins and dosages. The most common types are:

  • Norethindrone: This is the oldest and most widely used type of mini pill. It contains 35 micrograms of norethindrone, a progestin that is similar to the natural progesterone. It may or may not prevent ovulation, depending on the individual. It is sold under various brand names, such as Camila, Errin, Jolivette, and Nora-Be.
  • Drospirenone: This is a newer and more potent type of mini pill. It contains 4 milligrams of drospirenone, a progestin that has anti-androgenic and anti-mineralocorticoid properties. This means that it may help with acne, hirsutism, water retention, and weight gain. It also prevents ovulation in most cases. It is sold under the brand name Slynd.

The best mini pill for you depends on your personal preferences, medical history, and health goals. You should talk to your gynecologist about the pros and cons of each type, and how they may affect you. Your gynecologist can also help you with the proper instructions on how to start, stop, or switch mini pills, and what to do if you miss a pill or have any problems.


Mini pills are a convenient and effective birth control option for women who cannot or do not want to take estrogen. They have many benefits, such as being safe for breastfeeding, reducing the risk of some cancers, and helping with some PMS symptoms. They also have some drawbacks, such as requiring strict adherence, causing irregular bleeding, and having some side effects.

There are different types of mini pills available, and they may have different effects on your body and health. You should consult your gynecologist to find out which one is best for you, and how to use it correctly and safely.

If you have any questions or concerns about mini pills or any other birth control method, feel free to call us at 217-356-3736 and schedule an appointment.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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