Minipill Birth Control: Working, Benefits, Uses & Everything
A Minipill is an oral birth control medication. It is a progesterone-only pill as it contains manmade progestin hormone. This contraceptive is different from combination pills. The latter has progestin as well as the female hormone – estrogen. There is a lower dose of progestin in Minipills.
As it does not come with estrogen, the side effects are fewer. Also, Minipills have other health benefits. You can take it to treat skin conditions, after pregnancy, and many other situations where combination pills are not advisable.
In the following post, we will discuss Minipill working, dosage, why to take or not take the birth control pill, risks, side effects, when to call doctor, and return of fertility,
Working of a Minipill
The function of the progesterone-only pill is to prevent pregnancy. After you take the medication, it thickens the mucus of the cervix. The thickening of cervical mucus does not allow the sperm to travel to mature eggs. Next, it targets the uterine lining. The endometrium thins out.
So, in case of fertilization takes place, no implantation happens. The medication also prohibits ovulation. This disallows the ovaries from releasing eggs. However, a mini pill may not restrict ovulation. Due to this, it is not as effective as combination pills in stopping pregnancy.
But those with resistance or problems to estrogen can choose the progesterone-only variant. This is a safe option for birth control.
What is the Dosage of Minipill?
The minipill is an oral contraceptive. A single pack contains 28 pills. There is no row for placebo/inactive pills, which are otherwise present in combination pills.
Starting off the Dose
If you are starting on this medicine, take it within 5 days of starting your periods. Otherwise, the minipill may take some time to work. For best protection, use a condom during intercourse in the first 7 days of starting the progesterone-only pill. So, you can start with the medication if not pregnant.
Take it anytime, but the ideal time is the first day of your period. You can follow a backup non-hormonal contraceptive for the first 2 days after starting the dose. You may not need a backup contraceptive in the below-mentioned situations:
- Within the initial 21 days after childbirth, when not breastfeeding
- If switching from a combination contraceptive pill to Minipill
- In the first 5 days if your menstrual period
- After a pregnancy termination
- The day you discontinue other types of hormonal birth control
- Between 6 weeks and 6 months after childbirth, if breastfeeding but have not got periods
Take the Pill Daily
Your body tends to clear out progesterone more quickly as compared to the hormones found in combination contraceptive tablets. Hence, you must take a minipill at the same time every day. If you delay consuming the medicine more than 3 hours apart from the usual time, then it may not work effectively to stop a pregnancy.
However, if you miss or delay a dose, then do not forget to use a condom during intercourse. Or you may avoid intimacy for the following 2 days. Also, if you do not remember to take a progesterone-only pill, take one soon as you get reminded about it.
Here, you may have to take 2 pills the same day. But ensure to intake then a few hours apart. After this, continue taking the next pill as per the normal dose at a regular time.
How to Get It?
You can obtain a prescription for Minipill. Or you can even get it at a healthcare centre or pharmacy. You may check out different brands and go for the prescribed one. You even get the medication from a trusted online outlet. But make sure you know which brand to get.
The cost of the pill is minimal compared to birth control devices. Also, you can get it delivered home if ordering from the internet. There is no risk to privacy in this scenario. Do not skip a dose, for this, always refill the prescription on time. If you want, purchase at least 3 months’ stock at once.
Why Take Progesterone-only Pills?
There are several reasons why you may want to pick a minipill:
Do Not Want Estrogen
As discussed, estrogen may not suit every woman. This hormone may interact with certain medicines you take. Also, it can cause side effects such as headaches and stomach pain in some women. So, if you want to avoid estrogen, then progesterone-only pills can work as an alternative.
In combination with contraceptive pills, estrogen and progestin are present. Estrogen may interfere with the production of breastmilk. So, the doctors may advise against combination birth control tablets during breastfeeding. But minipill does not affect breastmilk supply.
Thus, you can go for this medication if you are nursing a baby. This way, you are in touch with a routine contraception method. Also, you can prevent pregnancy without worry.
Minipill has many health benefits. It is good for the treatment of skin conditions. If you have Dermatitis, this can lead to soreness, redness, and swelling of the skin. Dermatitis may happen due to problems in the menstrual cycle. So, for such people, progesterone pills are preferable.
If you have a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, and your age is 35 or over, also you smoke, then the minipill is a safer option than combination birth control pills. A progesterone-only pill helps manage menstrual bleeding, pain, and cramps. It also reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
The medicine can prevent pelvic inflammatory disease. As it does not have estrogen, there is no risk of blood clots linked with estrogen from combined pills. This is a good alternative for women who are breastfeeding and cannot use estrogen products.
It is also a beneficial birth control for those with high blood pressure and severe headaches. Also, it is best for people who want a short-term contraceptive and not long-term birth control like an IUD, implant, etc.
When to Not Take Minipill?
Minipill may not suit everyone. Here are the scenarios where you should avoid taking it:
- Liver disease/tumour
- History of breast cancer
- Uterine bleeding with no specific cause
- Weight loss surgery
- Take medications for HIV/AIDS/Seizures/Tuberculosis
- Have trouble taking an oral pill at the same time every day
Risks of Progesterone-only Pill
Here are the possible risks:
Less Effective Than Combination Pill
Out of 100 women who follow Minipill dosage, 13 may conceive in a year. Thus, the failure rate of the medication is higher than other hormonal birth control methods. The combination pill is much more effective in this concern. Also, just like other oral contraceptives, the progesterone-only pill does not guard against sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
If you conceive when on a minipill, it may raise the risk of pregnancy complications. There is a risk of ectopic pregnancy. Here, the location of pregnancy is outside the uterus. The fertilized egg may start to develop in a fallopian tube, cervical canal, etc. You cannot continue such a pregnancy.
In this case, you may have to undergo surgery for foetus removal. Medications may also help. Find out from your doctor, which is the best option to end an ectopic pregnancy.
To buy progestin-only pills such as Plan B One-Step at a discounted price, please visit our website.
Side Effects of Minipill
Apart from this rare risk, here are the common side effects of progesterone-only pills:
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Low libido
- Ovarian cysts
- Skipped periods
- Changes in weight
- Bleeding between periods
- Thinning hair
When to Call a Doctor?
You should consult a doctor immediately if on Minipills, and face the following situations:
- Starting a new medicine, over-the-counter product, herbal treatment
- You conceive or doubt a pregnancy
- Severe headaches
- Bad pain in the stomach
- Lack of menstrual periods or delay in it
- An accidental overdose followed by serious side effects
- Bleeding that lasting for a long time
- Allergic reactions to the medication
Return of Fertility
If you wish to conceive at any point in time, you can stop taking Minipills immediately. Your fertility returns to normal soon after stopping the dosage. As the tablet contains a low dose of progesterone, the chances of getting pregnant are high when not on birth control.
For some hormonal contraceptives, it can take a few weeks for fertility to return. But in the case of a progesterone-only pill, you can plan for a pregnancy immediately. Thus, it gives you the flexibility of choice. You can start and stop the medicine anytime without any serious health effects.
Minipill Birth Control: Final Words
Minipill or progesterone-only pills are a safe and effective form of hormonal birth control. It has a bounty of health benefits for women. Doctors may suggest it for acne as well. If you cannot take an estrogen-based contraceptive, then a Minipill is a great alternative.
It is also one of the medication types of contraception methods that suits any adult woman. So, no matter how old you are, if you wish to take an oral contraceptive, and are eligible for it, then you can select a progesterone-only pill.
April 8, 2021 Sam Bell