The Differences Between the Combination Pill and the Mini-Pill

By Maryam

Finding the right contraceptive may seem overwhelming. After all, there are over 100 different brands of oral contraceptives, which come in two forms. These are the combination pill and the mini-pill. So, what are the differences between the combination pill and the mini-pill, anyway?

Many people do not know the difference between these pills, or that two types even exist. So, we figured we’d make it as easy as possible to understand.

Combination Pill

More commonly known as ‘the Pill’, combination pills are the most popular type of birth control pill. Combination pills use both estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation. Depending on your particular pill, a monthly combination pill pack contains 21-24 consecutive days of hormone-based pills and 0-7 days of placebo or estrogen-only.

How to Use the Combination Pill:
Remember to take the pill at the same time every day if you don’t want to get pregnant. Many find it helpful to take it as a part of a routine. E.g when brushing your teeth or having it next to your alarm clock. When the pill is taken as prescribed, it is 99% effective.

Reasons to use the Combination Pill (other than not getting pregnant):
If you suffer from cramps, or want lighter and shorter periods the combination pill will help. Some types can also ease acne problems. The combination pill is also linked to reducing the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.

You may want to consider using other contraceptives if you’re sensitive to estrogen and get side effects like nausea or tender breasts. If you have high blood pressure, migraines with aura, or if you’re 35 or older and smoke, then you should not use the combination pill.

The Mini-Pill / (Progestin-Only Pill / POP):

Progestin-only pills have no estrogen in them and prevent pregnancy mostly by thickening the cervical mu­cus and thinning the uterine lining. POPs release a small amount of progestin every day and your period may be less regular than it would be on a combination contraceptive.

How to Use the Mini-Pill:
To be effective, it is very important to take the pill at the same time every day. The mini-pill is more time sensitive than the combination pill, and thus more important to take it to the exact same time. Unlike the combination pills, mini-pills contain hormones and should therefore be taken daily without any breaks.

Reasons to Use the Mini-Pill:
The mini-pill is prescribed if you can’t take estrogen due to certain health conditions, if you’re breastfeeding and less than 1 month postpartum, if you’re over age 35 and smoke cigarettes, or if you’re sensitive to side effects with combination pills.

You may want to consider using other contraceptives if you are not that diligent with taking the pill at the same time every day, experience spotting, or if you experience any side effects.

Still have questions which type is right for you? Message us and let us know!

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