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Emergency Contraception

Accidents can happen, despite taking care in safe sex with a partner, increasing the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Naturally this can be a very worrying time so it is important to understand the situation and what can be done to alleviate any concerns.

Couples using condoms in sex may experience contraceptive failure when the physical barrier tears or becomes damaged in sex. In some circumstances couples can get carried away in the moment and forget about any form of contraception, or a daily contraceptive pill has been missed. In all circumstances this can increase the likelihood of an unplanned pregnancy.

The important thing to do is to acknowledge the incident and take steps to deal with any concerns. Emergency Contraception often called the “morning-after pill” is a good solution to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, with solutions available that work up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.

What is an emergency contraceptive pill and how does it work?

An emergency contraceptive pill is used to prevent pregnancy if you have had unprotected sex or experienced the failure of a contraceptive device. There are now two emergency contraceptive pills that can be prescribed, these are Levonelle and EllaOne. Levonelle is the most common pill and works for up to 3 days with ellaOne being effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

Both Levonelle and ellaOne work by affecting the hormones in the ovaries and womb. Levonelle contains a synthetic hormone levonorgestral which can interrupt normal ovulation in the early stages of an egg’s development, while ellaOne contains ulipristal which acts to prevent an egg being released.

The sooner the morning after pill is taken, the greater the rate of success of preventing unwanted pregnancy. ellaOne is thought to be 98% effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, whilst Levonelle pills become less effective as time passes after unprotected sex. Levonelle is 95% effective within 24 hours, falling to 85% after 48 hours and 58% effective if taken within 72 hours.

When should emergency contraception be used?

Levonelle and ellaOne can be used by women over the age of 18 who have had unprotected sex or experienced a failure of their usual contraceptive methods.

A morning after pill should only be used after unprotected sex and only once per menstrual cycle. For the remainder of the menstrual cycle condoms must be used, despite taking the contraceptive pill, to reduce the further risk of contraceptive failure.

Emergency contraception should not be used by women that are already pregnant.

Emergency Contraception side effects

It is very rare for women to experience side effects from emergency contraceptive pills, although a small number of women may experience headaches, dizziness, physical sickness and irregular bleeding.

In the event that you are sick within 3 hours of taking a morning-after pill the effects of the pill will have been lost and there will continue to be a risk of pregnancy. A patient should seek advice from a doctor and another pill immediately.

What else should be considered when taking the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive measure and it may disrupt a woman’s cycle causing the next period to be early or late. If a period does not come within a few days of the normal date it is recommended that a doctor is consulted.

The morning after pill should not be used by women that may be pregnant or breastfeeding.

In the event that there is any lower abdominal pain or abnormal bleeding in the weeks after taking the morning-after pill, a doctor should be consulted.

Ordering the morning after pill online from PrivateDoc

Morning-after pills are only available as a precautionary treatment from PrivateDoc. An online consultation will be reviewed today and a pill despatched for delivery tomorrow, if the doctor prescribes treatment.

You should always have safe sex with a new partner, and you should continue to use condoms for the remainder of your menstrual cycle.

Naturally this is a very worrying time but you can gain control of the situation by taking action now with PrivateDoc’s confidential service.