Progesterone-only pills like Norgeston are great if you want to avoid the unpleasant side-effects of oestrogen-based pills. When taken properly Norgeston will give over 99% protection from getting pregnant.
If you would like to order a course of Norgeston, you can do it online with Zava by clicking 'Start Consultation' below.
Norgeston is a progesterone-only oral contraceptive pill (POP), also known as the “mini pill”. Its only active ingredient is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, called levonorgestrel.
POPs are different to other types of the Pill, known as combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs), which contain a combination of two sex hormones – progesterone and oestrogen.
Norgeston is mainly taken by sexually active women to prevent pregnancy. You should take it at the same time (within a 3 hour window) every day, in order for it to be effective. The hormones inside prevent you from getting pregnant in several ways:
- By making the mucus in your cervix much thicker, so it’s more difficult for sperm to travel through to the womb
- By thinning the lining of your womb, so that it’s less easy for a fertilised egg to implant itself and grow there
- By stopping your ovary from releasing its monthly egg
If you're a new user, taking your first Norgeston pill on the first day of your next period will give you immediate protection from pregnancy. If you start Norgeston on any other day of your cycle, first make sure you’re not pregnant. You’ll have to use condoms for the first 2 days of taking it, when you have sex. After 2 days of taking Norgeston, you will be protected from pregnancy.
You have to take one pill every day at the same time. You have a 3-hour window to take your pill before it counts as a forgotten pill.
Start the next pack of Norgeston immediately after the previous one, without leaving any break day between packs.
If you‘ve taken your pill later than the 3-hour window or haven’t taken it at all, there’s a risk of getting pregnant. Take the forgotten pill as soon as possible and follow the instructions on your leaflet, or contact your doctor as soon as possible to get further advice.
As with all medicines, taking Norgeston can cause some side effects. These side effects shouldn’t ever be severe, painful, or unpleasant. If you ever experience any extreme side effects, stop taking it immediately and seek advice from your doctor.
The most common side effects (between 1 in 10 users) are:
- Spotting (breakthrough bleeding between periods) or no periods (amenorrhea)
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Acne or spotty skin
- Mood swings (depression or anxiety)
- Headaches or migraine
These side effects should stop after the first few months of taking Norgeston, so doctors usually advise you to stick with it for at least three cycles before trying a different Pill. Hormonal contraceptives will work differently for different women, and many users will have no side effects at all.
You should see a doctor right away if you experience any of these serious side effects:
- Signs of a blood clot (unusually severe migraines, swelling or pain in one leg, a sudden tightness in your chest, weakness or numbness across one side of your body, or any changes in your eyesight, hearing, speech, sense of smell, taste, or touch)
- An allergic reaction (swelling of the face, tongue or difficulty breathing)
- Signs of breast cancer (changes to the skin of the breast or in the nipple, or any noticeable new lumps that you can see or feel)
- Symptoms of a severe liver problem (bad pain in the upper abdomen, yellow eyes or skin, or sudden itching across your whole body)
These reactions are all rare, but potentially dangerous. You may have to stop taking Norgeston if you experience these side effects.
Not everyone can take Norgeston. It depends on what health conditions you have and what other medication you're taking.
You shouldn't take Norgeston if you:
- know you're pregnant or if you think you might be
- have severe liver disease, liver tumours, or are awaiting liver function test results
- have a history of sex-hormone related cancer, like breast cancer
- have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- have had any circulatory diseases, like blood clots, stroke, heart attack, or severe diabetes that affects blood vessels
- are allergic to any ingredients in Norgeston
You also shouldn’t Norgeston if you’re taking any of the following medications:
- Epilepsy medications
- HIV medication
- Medication for serious vomiting
- Medication for high blood pressure in the lungs
- Some antibiotics
- Some sedatives
- St John's Wort
The emergency contraceptive pill EllaOne also interacts with Norgeston, so it’s very important that you follow your doctor’s advice on how to take it if you ever need it.
There's always a risk of getting pregnant when you are taking contraceptives, but this risk is very small with the Pill.
On Norgeston, if you followed the directions for using it perfectly, you would have a 1% chance of getting pregnant. However, the risk of pregnancy increases when you are regularly late or missing pills. In practice, it is difficult to maintain perfect pill-taking discipline. On average, women on Norgeston have a 5% chance of getting pregnant.
You shouldn’t use Norgeston if you are pregnant. If you think this might be the case, take a pregnancy test to confirm before you carry on taking it. You can also visit your doctor for a test if you are unsure.
You may be at risk of pregnancy if you have been more than 3 hours late in taking your usual pill or if you miss a pill, and you had unprotected sex in the 7 days before doing so. Take a test to make sure, and use an extra barrier method (like condoms) for the next 7 days if you’re having sex.
You could think about taking emergency contraception if you took your pill more than 3 hours late or forgot one pill and had unprotected sex.
Dr Laura Joigneau Prieto
Dr Laura Joigneau Prieto joined Zava in April 2018 as a clinical doctor. She studied medicine at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, Spain, and at the Pierre and Marie Curie Faculty in Paris, France. She did a Master’s Degree in clinical medicine in 2009 at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 02 Mar 2019
Contraceptive pills are a reliable way of reducing your risk of getting pregnant from sex. Zava offers most common brands of pill, so you can order your preferred brand by visiting our contraceptive pill service page.
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