Progestogen-only Pill (mini pill or POP)

The progestogen-only pill (sometimes called ‘the ‘mini-pill’ or the POP) contains the hormone progestogen. The other type of contraceptive pill you can get is the combined pill which has two hormones in it. Click here if you want more information on the combined pill.

You’ll find lots of information about the POP here, but you will need to talk to a doctor or a nurse if you think it’s the right type of contraception for you. 

Spend a bit of time here finding out about the POP pill. If you have more questions, you can get in touch with Ask Brook. Ask Brook is confidential. That means we won’t tell anyone you’ve contacted us unless we think you are in really serious danger.

How do you take it?

You take one pill every single day with no break. When you first take the pill, choose the time of day that suits you best. Then take it at the same time every day until you finish the packet. You then start the next packet straight away.

If you start taking the POP at the beginning of your period (day one), you will be protected against pregnancy straight away. You can also start the pill up to, and including, the fifth day of your period and you will be protected from pregnancy immediately.

If you have a short menstrual cycle, where your period normally comes every 23 days or less, starting the POP pill as late as the fifth day of your period may mean you are not immediately protected (because you might ovulate early in your menstrual cycle).

If you think this might be the case, speak with a doctor or nurse about whether you need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for the first two days.

If you start taking the pill at any other time in your menstrual cycle, it will take two days before it starts to work. So you'll need to use condoms for the first two days. 

Good things about POP

  • It doesn’t interrupt sex
  • No evidence that it causes additional weight gain
  • No long term effects to your fertility
  • Can be taken by some women who cannot use the contraception that contains oestrogen.

What should I watch out for with POP?

Your periods may become irregular. They may happen more often, less often, be lighter or stop altogether.

How effective is it the POP?

The POP is over 99% effective.

What makes it less effective?

  • Taking it more than three hours late (or 12 hours if you're taking a POP pill containing the hormone Desogestrel)
  • Vomiting within two hours of taking it
  • Very severe diarrhoea lasting more than 24 hours
  • Some medicines can reduce the effectiveness of the pill, such as those used to treat epilepsy, HIV and TB and the complementary medicine St John's Wort. Commonly used antibiotics do not reduce the effectiveness of the pill, but it is always best to check with the doctor, nurse or pharmacist first
  • 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.