These pills are a type of oral contraceptive (birth control pill) that contain a synthetic form of the progesterone hormone and have no estrogen.
Also Known As:
The Mini-Pill and POP (Progestin-Only Pill)
The Mini-Pill is only available in a 28-day pack. A woman will take a pill every day for the 4 week cycle, and all 28 pills are considered active. Active pills contain the hormone that prevents a woman from becoming pregnant. Menstruation usually occurs during the fourth week even though the woman is still taking active pills.
Comparison to Combination Pills:
Progestin-only pills are slightly less effective than the combined pill; however, they also tend to cause less side effects.
How They Work:
POP’s may prevent a woman's body from releasing an egg during her monthly menstrual cycle. However, ovulation
may not be always be stopped by these pills.
Candidates for Progestin-Only Pills:
Because mini-pills do not contain estrogen, they can be a good alternative for women who can not use combined oral contraceptives. These include:
- Cigarette smokers over the age of 35
- Women with a history of blood clots
- Women with high blood pressure
- Women who experience extreme migraine headaches
Additionally, Progestin-only pills can be prescribed for breast-feeding mothers since the hormone will not negatively affect milk production or harm a baby during nursing. In fact, studies have shown that POP’s may actually help increase the amount of milk produced.
There are typically 2 different types of progestin hormones found in mini-pills that mimic the natural hormone of progesterone.
POPS’s can contain the following synthetic hormones:
1. Norethindrone - the following brand name pills contain this hormone:
- Ortho Micronor
2. Norgestrel - the following brand name pill contains this hormone: