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Emergency contraceptive pills

Emergency contraceptive pills

Introduction

An emergency contraceptive pill is, as the name suggests, a form of birth control method that helps in the prevention of pregnancy. The pill can be used by a woman whoeither recently had unprotected sex, or used a birth control method that failed. However, unlike birth control pills, which can be used for long periods of time on a regular basis, emergency contraceptive pills are to be taken only in emergencies, and hence seldomly. Some emergency situations in which the pills can be taken include being raped, missing birth control pills in a monthly cycle more than twice, or the breaking of condom during sex.

Emergency contraceptive pills are meant to provide pregnancy prevention, and they cannot be used for abortion. These pills also don’t provide any protection from sexually transmitted diseases and are specifically designed for the avoidance of pregnancy.

Risks

It has been found that while emergency contraceptive pills are an effective way of pregnancy forestalling, they are not as efficacious as other available contraceptive methods, and hence are not recommended for regular use. The ineffectiveness of these pills with regard to regular use can be easily shown by posing the reports that prove that out of 100 odd women who use emergency contraceptive pills correctly 1 to 2 women would still be at a risk of becoming pregnant.

Side Effects

While emergency contraceptive pills have no long-term serious side effects and are quite safe to be used by women of varied ethnics and age-groups, they still can cause certain minor health complications. Generally speaking, emergency contraceptive pills based solely on either ulipristal acetate or progestin have fewer side effects in comparison to those that are based on the combined immix of both chemicals.

Some of the most common side effects associated with emergency contraceptive pills include headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, and nausea. Some women who are unable to tolerate these side effects often throw up post the intake of these pills. However, if a woman manages to endure these minor health abnormalities then she should be able to find these side effects subside and diminish completely in a day or two.

In some cases a woman might experience unexpected bleeding, which is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about. Almost invariably this should clear up by the time the woman has her next period. The emergency contraceptive pills might also alter the period cycle temporarily causing the period to come either slightly early or later.

Progestogen emergency contraceptive pills

Progestogen based emergency contraceptive pills contain levonorgestrel which is a progestogen hormone. While in the market one may find different kinds of Progestogen based pills, the levonorgestrel levels in all of them are the same. A woman may get this pill with or without a prescription.  The dose of levonorgestrel in these pills is generally 1.5 mg. However, a woman might require a pill with a higher dosage due to the other medications that she might be taking. In that case she should consult a physician.

One should take the pill as soon as possible after having unprotected sex- the sooner the better. However, she gets 72 hours tile-slot within which she must have it. The working principle of this pill is based on the prevention or delaying of the release of an egg from the ovary.

There are certain kinds of medicines that can interfere with progestogen-based  emergency contraceptive pills. These include medicines for epilepsy such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, etc. and antibiotics such as rifabutin. Lest such medications should interfere with the working of the pill in a bad way it is recommended that a woman takes the pill after getting a prescription from a physician.

Ulipristal Acetateemergency contraceptive pills

Emergency contraceptive pills based on ulipristal acetate offer longer intake period (120 hours or five days) unlike the pills based on progestogen (72 hours or three days).

Ulipristal Acetate emergency contraceptive pills should not be taken when a possibility is there of a woman being pregnant. A woman should also not take the pill if she is diagnosed with a certain kind of disease such as severe asthma. Also, after consuming the pill the woman should not breast-feed for at least next 7 days.

Certain medicines can interact with Ulipristal Acetate based emergency contraceptive pills and hence caution should be taken. Such medicines include antibiotics such as rifabutin, rifampicin, etc., certain medicines used for the treatment of AIDS such as ritonavir, medicines taken for the treatment of heartburn or indigestion such as ranitidine and antacids.

When to Contact a Doctor

If a woman experiences an abnormal bleeding or a strong lower abdominal pain post 2-6 weeks of consuming the pill then she should contact a doctor immediately. These could be the signs of an ectopic pregnancy. Although it is still quite rare a case the possibility still exists and can be quite serious.