When it comes to contraception, there are so many choices out there that it can feel a bit overwhelming. While the first port of call is often the combined pill, there are many reasons why you might go for another option. This blog will shine a light on the lesser-used mini pill, also known as the progestogen-only pill, and give you an idea of whether it might be right for you.
If you have any questions after reading this article, consult a healthcare professional or visit a reputable online medical website such as NHS Choices or Online Doctor LloydsPharmacy.
You’re a nursing mum – If you’re breastfeeding, using estrogen-based birth control, such as the combined pill, the patch, or the vaginal ring, is not advised. This is because it can lower your milk supply. If you don’t want to have to use condoms every time, the mini pill, which contains progestogen alone, may be a good option for you.
You’re over 35 and a smoker – The combined pill and other contraceptives containing estrogen are not suitable for women over 35 years old who smoke because the way this hormone and smoking interact can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. This risk is greater if you are over 35 years old. The progestogen-only pill, on the other hand, is safe for smokers over this age.
You suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or painful periods – If you experience mood swings, bloating, breast pain or other PMS symptoms in the two weeks leading up to your period, the mini pill may help to ease your discomfort. Similarly, if you suffer from painful periods, you might get some relief if you take this form of contraception.
You have high blood pressure – The combined pill is known to increase blood pressure in some women. This is more likely to happen if you are overweight, you have a family history of hypertension or you have mild kidney disease. If you’re already suffering from high blood pressure, estrogen-based contraception is not recommended. You can, however, take the progestogen-only pill safely.
You’ve had blood clots – If you’ve experienced blood clots in the past, contraception methods that contain estrogen should be avoided as they carry a risk of thrombosis. Taking birth control that contains progestogen only, on the other hand, is not thought to increase the risk of blood clots.
Drawbacks – There are many advantages to this little pill but like all contraceptives, there are some drawbacks too. Unlike the combined pill, the mini pill does not help to regulate periods and you need to take it at the same time every day. It can also be made less effective by some medications and it may also unsuitable for women who have a history of heart disease, breast cancer, liver disease, ovarian cysts or unexplained vaginal bleeding.
Making a decision about contraception isn’t always easy but doing your research and consulting trained medical professionals is likely to pay off in the long run.
*This is a collaborative post*