Emergency pills are one of the emergency contraceptives used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is not an abortion pill, but still, it is not recommended for regular use because it has its own side effects.
Nearly half of the pregnancies are unplanned, and this is particularly true for teenagers worldwide. Unsafe abortions are the significant cause of maternal mortality in some countries, accounting for approximately 8% of maternal deaths. As science has improved, there have been considerable improvements in contraceptive choices for both women and men. But, this information should be spread clearly among the public in general. As an end-user, it is essential for the public to understand the drug's utility, safety, and side effects, as some medicines are available over-the-counter like I-pill, Unwanted 72, or Plan B. Three methods of emergency contraception are recommended by WHO (World Health Organization), which include:
Copper-Bearing Intrauterine Devices (IUD): The copper-bearing intrauterine device is a small, flexible silicone frame with copper sleeves or wires around it. A specifically trained health care provider will usually insert it into a woman's uterus through the vagina and cervix. Most types of IUDs have one or two strings, or threads, tied to them. Safety: A copper-bearing IUD is a safe form of emergency contraception. It has been estimated that there may be less than two cases of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) per 1000 users and the risks of expulsion or perforation are also minimal.
Emergency contraception pills are the pills used to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse. As the name suggests, these pills can be used only in an emergency and offer 95% protection from unwanted pregnancy. These pills have to be used within 72 hours after unprotected sex; the earlier the drug is taken, the higher is the effect. For instance, it is used in conditions like breakage or slip of a condom, missing oral contraceptive pills, or mistaking the safe days. Likewise, ECP can also help to prevent pregnancy after a rape or undesirable sex. Never use ECP as a choice of regular contraception or conception prevention technique. Emergency oral contraceptive pills primarily contain Levonorgestrel, which is a progestogen (a synthetic form of progesterone). Taking these pills within 72 hours of unprotected sex can minimize the chances of pregnancy.
A pregnancy rate of 1.2 to 2.1 % has been reported with Emergency Contraceptive Pills.
It can disrupt the menstrual cycles and can cause menstrual irregularities, which are usually not severe.
The disadvantages of emergency contraceptive pills are:
Even though emergency contraceptives are an essential aspect of contraception, people should use them with caution.
A pill that contains Levonorgestrel or Ulipristal acetate is the best emergency contraceptive pill.
Yes, one pill is sufficient to prevent pregnancy if it is taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. But sometimes there are failures also. One tablet taken within the specified time is adequate to stop unwanted pregnancy, and doubling the dose will not increase the effectiveness but may cause increased side effects. Therefore, do not take more than one tablet without consulting a physician.
The morning-after pills or emergency contraceptive pills work best when taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, but they can also be taken five days later. The sooner it is taken, the better they work. In women who are weighing more than 155 pounds, Levonorgestrel morning-after pills may not work.
Even though the emergency contraceptive pill is referred to as the morning-after pill, women do not have to wait until the morning to take the emergency contraceptive pill after unprotected sex. Instead, the emergency contraceptive pill is more effective when you take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
Emergency contraceptive pills are not harmful and are very safe to be used. Side effects, even if they occur, are usually short-term and mild. Nausea has been reported in about 20% of women using Levonorgestrel emergency contraception, and vomiting can occur in about 4% of women. Cases of ovarian failure have also been reported when used repeatedly.
After taking the emergency contraceptive pills, you should have a normal period within the next month. Sometimes, this emergency contraception can change the length of the monthly menstrual cycle, making the next period come as much as a week earlier or a week later than usual.
Emergency contraceptive pills by themselves will not affect long-term fertility. However, improper and frequent use of the drug can cause hormonal imbalances.
Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy by delaying or preventing ovulation and preventing sperm from fertilizing the egg. However, it clearly states that Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pills will not be effective if the implantation process has already begun, and it will also not cause abortion.
It is necessary to take more than two birth control pills to function, like emergency contraception. Popping two birth control pills will not work as emergency contraceptive pills, but it is a reliable method to use if women have just missed a day of taking the pill.
Most of the birth control contraceptives pills are usually targeted for pregnancies, and very few can be used to prevent STDs.
The progesterone-only contraceptive pill, also called a mini-pill, is generally recommended during breastfeeding. However, it needs to be taken simultaneously every day continuously. A delay of more than 3 hours may mean contraceptive protection is lost.
Emergency contraceptives can sometimes change your monthly menstrual cycle length and make the next period come a week before or a week later than usual. Sometimes the hormones in the pills can also cause unexpected bleeding in women, but this is not a common or severe side effect.
Last reviewed at:
09 Oct 2021 - 4 min read
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