How does it work?

The progestogen only pill (POP) contains the hormone progestogen which is similar to the hormone naturally produced.

It works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).  It also thickens the mucus in the cervix preventing sperm reaching the egg and thins the lining of the uterus so it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg.

What are the advantages?

  • If taken according to instructions the progestogen only pill is over 99% effective
  • You can take the progestogen only pill whilst breastfeeding
  • You can use it if you cannot take estrogens
  • You can use it at any age
  • When you stop using it your fertility will return to normal

Are there any disadvantages?

  • There are no serious side effects, however, your periods may change and you could experience irregular bleeding, periods lasting longer or stopping altogether.
  • You may get temporary side effects including headaches, nausea, spotty skin and tender breasts
  • If you have missed pills, had vomiting or diarrhoea the pill can be less effective
  • The pill does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections so you may need to use condoms too.

Where can I get it?

You can get the progestogen only pill from your GP or local sexual health clinic