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Progestogen Only Pill (POP)

A pill that contains the hormone progestogen, which thickens cervical mucus to stop sperm reaching an egg.

Some POP’s stop ovulation too.

POP is 99% effective if used according to the instructions.


  • Can be used if you can’t use oestrogen
  • Can be used at any age, but is especially useful if you smoke and are over 35 years
  • Can be used if you’re overweight, have migraines or if you have certain medical conditions that prevent you using the combined pill
  • Fertility returns immediately once it is stopped, with no long-term effects
  • No link to weight gain
  • May make periods lighter and less painful


  • Bleeding may stop or become irregular
  • No protection against STI’s
  • Must take around the same time each day (12 hours for some, 3 hours for others) for it to remain effective
  • May experience temporary side effects including spots, breast tenderness, weight changes or headache.


  • May not work if have vomiting or severe, long-lasting diarrhoea
  • Need to be aware of missed pill guidance and how to access emergency contraception if necessary
  • Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the pill

Further Information: