Progestogen-only Pill (POP)

The Progestogen-only Pill (POP) is a type of contraceptive pill that is also sometimes called the mini pill.

The POP only contains one type of hormone called progestogen. It will come in a packet of small tablets which you have to take at the same time every day. No pill will protect you against sexually transmitted infections, though, so you might want to use condoms too.


The other type of contraceptive pill you can get is The Combined Pill. Click here if you want more information on The Combined Pill.

Spend a bit of time looking here and finding out more about the POP and if you have any questions, you can get in touch with Ask Brook. Ask Brook is confidential. That means we won't tell anyone you contacted us unless we think you're in really serious danger.

How does the POP work?
How do you use the POP?
What are the good things about POP?
What do you have to watch out for with POP?
How effective is the POP?
Can anyone use the POP? 

How does POP work?

The progestogen makes the mucus around the cervix thicker, which makes it difficult for sperm to get into the womb. It can also make it difficult for an egg which has been fertilised to implant in the womb by thinning the lining. In some women it stops ovulation (the release of an egg). 

How do you take it?

You take one pill everyday. When you first take the pill, choose the time of day that suits you best. Then take it at the same time everyday until you finish the packet. You then start the next packet straight away without a break.

If you start taking the POP anytime between the first and the fifth day of your period, you will be protected against pregnancy straight away (unless your periods come every 23 days or less, in which case you may not be protected so you should seek further advice or use condoms for the first 2 days). If you start taking the pill at any other time in your menstrual cycle, it will take 2 days before it starts to work. So you'll need to use condoms for the first 2 days. 

Good things about POP

  • It gives round the clock protection against pregnancy.
  • Does not interrupt sex.
  • Can be taken by some women who cannot use the combined pill.
  • No evidence that it causes additional weight gain.
  • Fertility returns to normal immediately after stopping.
  • Can be used when breastfeeding 

Things to watch out for with POP

  • You normally need to make sure you take it at the same time every day for it to work properly.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Your periods may become irregular. They may happen more often, less often, be lighter or stop altogether. 

How effective is it the POP?

This POP pill is over 99% effective if it is taken properly. This means that less than 1 in every 100 women who use the Progestogen-only Pill will get pregnant each year. 

What makes it less effective?

  • Not taking POP according to the instructions.
  • Taking it more than 3 hours late (or 12 hours if you're taking Cerazette).
  • Vomiting within two hours of taking it.
  • Very severe diarrhoea.
  • Use of some prescription medicines including some antibiotics, medicines used to treat epilepsy, HIV and TB and the complementary medicine St John's Wort.
  • EllaOne (a new type of emergency contraception) can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraception.

If you have missed a pill and are worried you may not be protected, click here for more information. 

Can anyone use POP?

The Progestogen-only Pill is not suitable for all women. A doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your own and your family's medical history, weigh you and take your blood pressure, just to check it will be suitable for you. If it is, they will probably prescribe you about 3 months' worth of pills to take home, and explain how to take them correctly.

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