Ectopic Pregnancy

The morning after pill

From when to take it to where to get it, we've got you covered More From Contraception: making the right choice11 articles The contraceptive Pill Contraceptive coils (IUDs) Contraceptive injections Share Tweet +1 Pin Getty Eric Audras By Dr David Delvin 30 March 2016 Share Tweet Share Email What is the morning after pill?The morning after pill stops you from becoming pregnant after you've had unprotected sex.It's also very useful if a condom breaks during intercourse.Although lots of people talk about the morning after pill, this term is actually misleading. In reality, you don't have to take it on the morning after sex. But you should take it as soon as possible. The more quickly you take it, the better the chances it will work.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWHowever, you do have a little time in which to obtain it. One type of morning-after pill can, if necessary, be taken up to three days after sexual intercourse. Another type can be taken up to five days following sex. Related ArticleWhy don't we have a male birth control pill yet? More From Contraception: making the right choice11 articles The contraceptive Pill Contraceptive coils (IUDs) Contraceptive injections Condoms: how to use them, STI prevention and... Frequently asked questions on contraception Emergency contraceptionThe morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception (EC).The term EC is used to describe a birth control measure that is used after sex has occurred with the intention of preventing pregnancy.Some people have the idea that EC is a form of abortion, but this is not the case.The main idea is to ensure that ovulation is stopped, or the lining of your womb becomes unreceptive to an egg. The morning after pill should not be confused with Mifegyne (mifepristone), often known as 'the abortion tablet'. This works in a totally different way.There are various types of emergency contraception, including the post-coital coil an IUD that should work if it is inserted up to five days after sex.Unfortunately, in practice it's often difficult to find a doctor who is capable of putting in a post-coital coil. The reality is that if you want emergency contraception, you'll almost certainly have to obtain the morning after pill and relatively quickly.Therefore, you should try and find a doctor or pharmacist who can give it to you right away.Where can I get the morning after pill?Practically speaking, you would probably find it quickest to go to one of the following,where you'll be able to get the morning-after pill for free:A pharmacy (in some areas the morning after pill is free from pharmacies on the NHS. But if you're not in one of these areas then the pharmacist will be able to direct you to the nearest place where you can get it for free. You can also buy the morning after pill over the counter from pharmacies - the cost at the moment is about 30.)A doctor at a family planning clinic A GP but not if you can't get an appointment for a day or two An NHS walk-in centreYour university or college health clinicA contraception, sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic If you're under 25, a Brook Advisory Centre or youth clinic.In Britain, there are currently two different types of morning after pill available: Levonelle and EllaOne. Related ArticleA pill that prevents HIV? Here's what you need to know ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWI advise you to have a full discussion with the doctor or pharmacist about which one would be better for your individual circumstances.You can also buy the morning after pill online. But if it is posted to you,that will probably mean an unacceptable delay. However, some pharmacy chains do now have a 'click and collect' service, where you could get the tablet on the same day you ordered it. Share Tweet +1 Pin Getty Image SourceLevonelleIn the UK, the long-established morning after pill is called Levonelle one step or Levonelle 1500. These are identical, but Levonelle One Step is the brand that can be bought without prescription. Related ArticleLevonelle one step (levonorgestrel) ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWIt should be taken as soon as possible within three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex.It's believed that Levonelle works by:Preventing or delaying your ovaries from releasing an eggMaking it harder for sperm to reach an egg that has already been releasedAltering the lining of your womb, so that an egg can't embed itself there. It won't work if you're already pregnant. What about side-effects? Levonelle doesn't often have troublesome side-effects. According to the manufacturer, the most common unwanted effects are:NauseaMild menstrual irregularity so your next period may be slightly early or lateLow abdominal painTirednessHeadacheBreast tendernessVomitingDiarrhoeaFeeling dizzy. Related Article8 lies people tell you about getting pregnant MOST POPULARIf you vomit within TWO hours of taking a Levonelle tablet, it probably won't work. So you'll need to go back to your doctor or pharmacist and get another one.Important note: if the medicine doesn't work to prevent a pregnancy there is a small chance that it could develop ectopically (a pregnancy outside the womb), so if you get severe lower tummy pain after taking Levonelle you should contact a doctor immediately.If you're using the Pill, mini-Pill, vaginal contraceptive ring or contraceptive patch, you can continue using your current method after taking Levonelle.But you should either avoid sex or use condoms until you have your next period.Contraindication: Levonelle shouldn't be used by women who have severe liver disease or the rare condition porphyria. Also, Levonelle doesn't work very well in women who are taking certain medicines called 'enzyme inducers', including the popular herbal remedy St John's wort. So make sure you tell the doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you're already taking. Share Tweet +1 Pin Getty Caiaimage/Agnieszka WozniakEllaOneIn 2010 an entirely new brand of morning after pill became available in the UK. It's called EllaOne pronounced as if it were two words: 'Ella' and 'One'. You can get it from your pharmacist, without a prescription. Related ArticleEllaOne (ulipristal acetate) ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWEllaOne should be taken as soon as possible, up to five days after unprotected sex.It works by stopping or delaying your ovaries from releasing an egg. Contraindications: EllaOne is not advisable for women with severe asthma or with serious liver problems. It interacts with a number of other medicines; the leaflet gives details.The most common unwanted effects of EllaOne are:HeadacheNauseaAbdominal, pelvic or back painMuscle painsVomitingDizzinessFatigueBreast tendernessMild menstrual irregularity so your next period may be slightly early or late. These side-effects occur in less than 10 per cent of women. The makers state that 75 per cent of EllaOne users have their next period more or less on time, but 7 per cent experience it a little early, and 18 per cent find that it is delayed.If you happened to vomit within THREE hours of taking EllaOne, you would need another dose.Important note: severe low abdominal pain might indicate an ectopic pregnancy. So consult a doctor.As with Levonelle, EllaOne doesn't work very well in women who are taking certain medicines called 'enzyme inducers', including the popular herbal remedy St John's wort. So make sure you tell the doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you're already taking.Please note that the effectiveness of oral contraceptives may be reduced by EllaOne. So if you're on the Pill or the Mini-Pill, you will need to use condoms or not have sex for a number of days after taking EllaOne. The exact length of time depends on which type of pill you're on, so you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.Is the morning after pill effective?Neither type of morning after pill is 100 per cent effective, but the failure rate is quite low.The US Food Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that these medications are about 89 per cent effective, by which they mean that out of every eight women who would have got pregnant, seven will not. The odds are better the sooner you take it after unprotected sex.EllaOne is more effective than Levonelle. Is the morning after pill dangerous to use?Not at all. If anybody tells you that it has 'lots of side-effects' or 'makes you dreadfully sick', don't believe them. An older form of the morning after pill used in the 1990s did often cause severe nausea, but today's emergency contraceptive pills cause very little trouble.Personally, I have never seen any severe side-effects from either type of morning-after pill. But you can find more details about possible side-effects from the package leaflet.How do I take it?As soon as possible, just swallow it with some water.Indeed, because of the urgency, I usually advise patients to ask the chemist for a glass of water, so they can take it right away.Any other warnings?Your next period may come early or late after taking either type of morning after pill. If it doesn't arrive within a couple of days of the expected time, see a doctor.The morning-after pill does not protect you from pregnancy for the rest of your menstrual cycle. So either abstain from sex or use a barrier method like a condom until you have sorted out a regular method of contraception.As stated above, if the morning-after pill doesn't work there is a chance that a pregnancy that does develop could be ectopic, although these are rare. If you get sudden or unusual lower tummy pain or abnormal bleeding in the weeks after using it, see your doctor.Remember that emergency contraception won't protect you from sexually transmitted infections.If it doesn't work, could the tablet harm the unborn baby?We simply don't know the answer to this question.So far, no research has shown any increase in abnormalities among babies whose mothers took the morning-after pill.Can you use the morning after pill more than once in a month?Yes, if you really have to.The latest advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians, which deals with contraception, says that Levonelle can be used more than once in a cycle. However, it does not recommend taking EllaOne in this way.Other people also read: The contraceptive pill: is the Pill safe? Menstrual cycle: can you feel ovulation? Ovarian cysts: how are ovarian cysts diagnosed? Fibroids: is it possible to become pregnant with fibroids in the uterus? 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