Birth control pills 🤰 that solely contain progesterone are referred to as “mini-pills” or “progesterone-only pills.” They may cause negative effects, both common and uncommon, like any drug. In this article, we gather some of the most common and rare side effects of progesterone-only pills and more.
What is a Progesterone-only pill, and which is the best?
A progesterone-only pill, also known as a “mini-pill,” is a type of birth control pill that contains only the hormone progesterone, unlike combination birth control pills that contain both progesterone and oestrogen.
There are several brands of progesterone-only pills available, and the best one for you may depend on various factors, including your medical history, current health status, and personal preferences.
Some of the most popular brands of mini-pills include:
- Micronor (norethindrone)
- Errin (norethindrone)
- Jolivette (norethindrone)
- Heather (norethindrone)
- Camila (norethindrone)
Progesterone-only pill dosage and best way to take:
Typically, mini-pills are taken once a day, at the same time every day, without any breaks between pill packs.
It’s crucial to adhere to the directions listed in the package insert and by your doctor for the particular kind of mini-pill you’re taking. However, here are some general guidelines for taking a progesterone-only pill:
- Start taking the pill on the first day of your menstrual cycle, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Take one pill at the same time every day, without any breaks between pill packs.
What should i do if i miss pilled?
If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember, and then take the next pill at the usual time. If you miss two or more pills, use a backup method of contraception (such as condoms) for at least 48 hours.
What to do when Progesterone-only pill vomiting starts?
If you experience vomiting or diarrhea within two hours of taking the pill, use a backup method of contraception for at least 48 hours.
The dosage of the mini-pill may also vary depending on the brand and formulation. For example, some brands may contain 0.35 milligrams of norethindrone, while others may contain 0.075 milligrams.
Common and rare side effects of Progesterone-only pills:
Here are some of the most common and rare side effects of progesterone-only pills:
Common side effects:
- Irregular bleeding or spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
Rare side effects:
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus)
- Blood clots (especially in women who smoke or have a history of blood clots)
- Liver problems (rare)
- Allergic reactions (rare)
- Depression or worsening of existing depression
- Ovarian cysts (rare)
It’s necessary to keep in mind that not all women who use progesterone-only pills will have these adverse effects; some may even suffer other effects or none at all.
What are the long-term side effects of Progesterone-only pills?
Although pills containing solely progesterone are typically tolerated well, some potential long-term negative effects have been noted, albeit these side effects are uncommon.
Here are some possible long-term side effects of progesterone-only pills:
- Bone density loss: Some studies have suggested that long-term use of progesterone-only pills may be associated with a small decrease in bone density, especially in women who start using the pill before age 30. However, the decrease in bone density is usually reversible after discontinuing the pill.
- Ovarian cysts: Some women may develop ovarian cysts while taking progesterone-only pills, although these cysts are usually benign and go away on their own.
- Changes in menstrual cycle: Progesterone-only pills can cause changes in menstrual bleeding patterns, such as irregular bleeding or amenorrhea (no periods). These changes may persist even after stopping the pill.
- Breast cancer risk: Some studies have suggested that long-term use of progesterone-only pills may be associated with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, although the overall risk is still considered low.
Coming off Progesterone-only pill side effects
Your body will adjust to the hormone change when you stop taking the progesterone-only pill, or mini-pill, and you may experience some adverse effects. Following the mini-pill, you can experience the following typical adverse effects:
- Irregular periods: It may take a few months for your menstrual cycle to return to normal after stopping the mini-pill. You may experience irregular bleeding or spotting during this time.
- Mood changes: Some women may experience mood changes, such as mood swings, anxiety, or depression, when coming off the mini-pill.
- Acne: Progesterone-only pills can sometimes help improve acne, so coming off the pill may cause acne breakouts in some women.
- Breast tenderness: You may experience breast tenderness or swelling as your hormone levels adjust.
- Changes in libido: Some women may experience changes in libido (sex drive) when coming off the mini-pill.
If you are considering coming off the mini-pill, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider first to discuss alternative forms of contraception and any potential side effects.
What should not be taken by Progesterone-only pill? (drug interactions)
Like all medications, the progestin-only pill, or mini-pill, can interact with other drugs that you may be taking. Here are some common drug interactions to be aware of:
- Antibiotics: Some antibiotics, such as rifampin and rifabutin, can decrease the effectiveness of the mini-pill. If you are prescribed antibiotics while taking the mini-pill, it’s important to use a backup method of contraception (such as condoms) for the duration of the antibiotic treatment and for at least 48 hours after.
- Anticonvulsants: Certain anticonvulsant medications, such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, and topiramate, can also decrease the effectiveness of the mini-pill. If you are taking an anticonvulsant, talk to your healthcare provider about alternative forms of contraception.
- St. John’s Wort: St. John’s Wort, a popular herbal supplement used to treat depression, can decrease the effectiveness of the mini-pill. If you are taking St. John’s Wort while on the mini-pill, it’s important to use a backup method of contraception.
- HIV medications: Some medications used to treat HIV, such as ritonavir and efavirenz, can interfere with the effectiveness of the mini-pill. If you are taking HIV medications, talk to your healthcare provider about alternative forms of contraception.
- Hepatitis C medications: Some medications used to treat hepatitis C, such as ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, can also interfere with the effectiveness of the mini-pill. If you are taking hepatitis C medications, talk to your healthcare provider about alternative forms of contraception.
How to stop taking Progestin-only pills?
If you have decided to stop taking the progestin-only pill, also known as the mini-pill, here are some steps to follow:
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on how to safely come off the mini-pill and may recommend an alternative form of contraception.
- Stop taking the pill: Once you have talked to your healthcare provider and decided to stop taking the mini-pill, simply stop taking the pill. It’s important to note that you may experience some side effects as your body adjusts to the change in hormones, such as irregular periods, mood changes, or acne.
- Use a backup method of contraception: If you are sexually active and do not wish to become pregnant, it’s important to use a backup method of contraception, such as condoms, for at least 48 hours after stopping the mini-pill.
- Monitor your menstrual cycle: After stopping the mini-pill, your menstrual cycle may take a few months to return to normal. It’s important to monitor your menstrual cycle and note any changes or irregularities.
It’s vital to speak with your healthcare practitioner if you suffer any alarming symptoms after quitting the mini-pill, such as excessive bleeding, severe mood changes, or severe acne. They can offer advice on how to deal with any side effects or, if necessary, suggest additional testing.
Your Comments and Suggestions?
If there is a point that has been missed or you know of other information about Progestin-only pills, you can share it with us in the comments section of this article.