Question: I have been using emergency contraception each time I have unprotected sex for the past two years but have never really bothered to learn of the pill, its properties and the complications it might lead to. I was, therefore, recently shocked to learn that it is not to be taken more than once during a menstrual cycle! Could you please explain what the pill is, how it works and what side effects it has, if any?
Answer: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good thing you asked that question, because it seems a lot of young women are abusing emergency contraception lately. We sourced this information from mayoclinc.com which might be helpful to you.
The morning-after pill is a type of emergency birth control that contains the hormone levonorgestrel, a progestin, or ulipristal acetate, a progesterone agonist-antagonist. The morning-after pill can be used after youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had unprotected sex. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, the morning-after pill can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilisation, or keep a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take the morning-after pill if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re already pregnant.
Your health care provider may discourage use of the morning-after pill if: youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re allergic to any component of the morning-after pill, you have unexplained vaginal bleeding or youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re taking certain medications that may decrease the effectiveness of the morning-after pill, such as barbiturates or St. JohnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wort.
The morning-after pill may be an option if you have diabetes. You may need to work with your health care provider to manage your blood sugar level after taking the morning-after pill, however.
Consult your health care provider if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re breast-feeding.
Side effects of the morning-after pill may include: nausea or vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, breast tenderness, bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding, lower abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhoea. Side effects typically last only a few days.
Emergency contraception is an effective option for preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as effective as other methods of contraception and isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recommended for routine use. An estimated 1 to 2 out of 100 women who have unprotected sex one time and correctly use the morning-after pill will get pregnant. The morning-after pill doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.
According to an article on www.dailymail.co.uk, morning-after pills are designed for emergency use and are not to be taken more than once every during a menstrual cycle. In the article, titled The Women Who Use Morning After Pills as Everyday Contraception, Olga Van den Akker, professor of health psychology at Middlesex University is quoted as saying;
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In theory, prolonged use of the drug could affect a womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fertility because it messes about with the bodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s menstrual cycle,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“These young women who go out, get drunk and regularly have unprotected sex because they rely on the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, may one day want to conceive.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And if they find they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, then theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to deal with the emotional burden of fertility problems brought on by the irresponsible sexual behaviour of their youth.Ã¢â‚¬Â