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Mini pill side effects

Women's hands holding pill packet
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The mini pill is a single hormone contraceptive pill which contains progesterone (the progestogen-only pill). When you begin to take any new contraceptive pill you should read the patient leaflet to make yourself aware of any possible side effects. Many women taking the mini pill will not experience any side effects, however if you do you can discuss these with your doctor who will be able to put your mind at ease.

What are the side effects of the mini pill?

  • Skin – you might find that you break out in spots more or that acne develops on your face, chest or back
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breasts – your breasts can feel tender and sore, and you may notice that they get bigger
  • Mood – you may find that you have mood swings or are more irritable than usual
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sex drive – your interest in sex may increase or decrease
  • Ovarian cysts – small fluid-filled sacs can appear on your ovaries, however these can disappear on their own and usually cause no harm

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking the mini pill, these side effects should generally improve overtime and clear up within a few months.

How long will the side effects last?

If you experience any side effects these should improve over time and should stop within a few months after you began taking the pill. However if you’re worried about any of the changes you are experiencing you can speak to your pharmacist or GP.

Will the mini pill affect my period?

The mini pill will affect your menstrual cycle, you may not have regular periods or your periods may stop altogether. Many women notice that their periods are lighter, more frequent and that they have spotting between their periods

Where can I get the mini pill?

The progestogen-only pill is available in your local pharmacy and online. Hana and Lovima can be bought without a prescription, you’ll just to answer some questions so a pharmacist can make sure the daily contraceptive is safe for you to take.

Mini pills are also available through our Online Doctor service. Simply have an online consultation with a registered clinician and they’ll be able to prescribe the right contraceptive option for you.

Can you get pregnant while you’re on the mini pill?

The mini pill is a very effective method of contraception when used correctly, if taken correctly it is 99% effective and if not used correctly it is 92% effective at preventing pregnancy. You’ll need to take the pill at the same time every day, if you are late in taking the pill for example three hours for the 3-hour pill or twelve hours late for 12-hour pill you may not be protected. Other situations in which you will not be protected against pregnancy include If you are sick within two hours of taking the pill, or have very severe diarrhoea the mini pill may not work.

How will I know if I am pregnant?

If your menstrual cycle is regular the first sign that you might be pregnant is a missed period. However if you are on the pill you may not have regular periods and they could be lighter, more frequent, stop altogether or you may notice spotting between your periods. If you have missed a period or your period has changed you can purchase a pregnancy test or visit your GP.

Will the mini pill protect me from getting an STI?

Similar to other contraceptive pills the mini pill won’t protect you from catching an STI; you will need to use a barrier method of contraception (condom) during sexual activity and intercourse.