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Mini-pills are a type of oral contraceptive pills containing only a hormone called progestin. They are an alternative to the more commonly used combination birth control pills. They are sold under a number of different commercial names, including Camila and Ortho Micronor.
Mini-pills are sometimes called progestin-only birth control. Mini-pills can also be written as minipills.
Mini-pills prevent sperm from reaching a woman’s egg by thickening her cervical mucus. These pills also thin the lining of the uterus, making it less likely an egg will successfully implant. They also suppress ovulation.
Mini-pills don’t contain estrogen as combination birth control pills do. They also have a lower dose of progestin. This makes them suitable for women with a history of blood clots, which can be triggered by combination birth control pills. Some women concerned about the side effects of estrogen or the impact of the mini-pill on their breast milk supply may also prefer taking mini-pills. Doctors may prescribe the mini-pill to women who want to prevent pregnancy that have skin inflammation, including dermatitis, triggered by their menstrual cycle. Some women are also attracted to the easily reversible nature of mini-pills. They can take them when they want to prevent pregnancy, then have their fertility return immediately after they stop taking them.
Mini-pills are not suitable for women with a history of breast cancer, liver disease, or unexplained bleeding. Women taking medication for seizures, tuberculosis, or HIV or AIDS also shouldn’t take mini-pills. Since mini-pills are most effective if they’re taken at the same time every day, women with busy schedules or bad memories may also opt for a different kind of birth control.
Mini-pills have a failure rate of around 86 percent, which is higher than other kinds of hormonal contraception. This is likely to be due to imperfect use since many women struggle to take it at the same time, as recommended.
As with other hormonal contraceptives, mini-pills provide no protection from sexually transmitted diseases. To protect yourself, use the mini-pill in conjunction with condoms unless you are having sex with a disease-free partner.