Side-effects::Progestogen-only pill


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  • With no break in the dosage, menstrual flow does not initially occur at a predictable time. Most women tend to establish, over a few months, light spotting at approximately regular intervals.
  • May cause mastalgia (breast tenderness) and mood swings.
  • Some women may experience abdominal cramps and heavy bleeding.
  • Mood changes in personality is to be expected when taking any steroids.

Breast cancer risk

Epidemiological evidence on POPs and breast cancer risk is based on much smaller populations of users and so is less conclusive than that for COCPs.

In the largest (1996) reanalysis of previous studies of hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk, less than 1% were POP users. Current or recent POP users had a slightly increased relative risk (RR 1.17) of breast cancer diagnosis that just missed being statistically significant. The relative risk was similar to that found for current or recent COCP users (RR 1.16), and, as with COCPs, the increased relative risk decreased over time after stopping, vanished after 10 years, and was consistent with being due to earlier diagnosis or promoting the growth of a preexisting cancer.<ref name=reanalysis>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref><ref name=further>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

The most recent (1999) IARC evaluation of progestogen-only hormonal contraceptives reviewed the 1996 reanalysis as well as 4 case-control studies of POP users included in the reanalysis. They concluded that: "Overall, there was no evidence of an increased risk of breast cancer".<ref name=iarc72>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Recent anxieties about the contribution of progestogens to the increased risk of breast cancer associated with HRT in postmenopausal women such as found in the WHI trials<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> have not spread to progestogen-only contraceptive use in premenopausal women.<ref name=glasier/>

Progestogen-only pill sections
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