Table of contents:
- When might you need emergency contraception?
- Pills or spiral: which way to choose?
- What are the contraindications for emergency contraception?
- How does emergency contraception affect health?
- How often can emergency contraception be used?
There are many situations in which emergency contraception may be needed. Whatever the reason for choosing this particular method, you need to act quickly, but without losing your head. We tell you what you need and can do if everything did not go according to plan.
When might you need emergency contraception?
All cases in which emergency contraception may be needed can be divided into two main groups:
- no contraception was used during intercourse;
- there is reason to believe that contraception was ineffective during sex (the condom broke, oral contraceptives were not taken on time, it was not possible to interrupt intercourse).
Pills or spiral: which way to choose?
There are now two main methods of protection against unwanted pregnancies. The first, more famous, is to accept pillcontaining a large dose of levonorgestrel. This hormone acts in several directions at once:
it will prevent the release of the egg from the ovary and will also interfere with the fertilization process. It is necessary to drink a pill within three days after unprotected intercourse, and the effectiveness of emergency contraception is the higher, the earlier the drug is taken.
In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends other pills for emergency contraception: these can be combined oral contraceptives that contain ethinyl estradione and levonogestrel, as well as drugs based on ulipristal acetate. intrauterine devicecontaining copper. In this case, you will not be able to cope on your own, and therefore you will have to go to the doctor. This must be done within five days after unprotected sex: the contraceptive effect does not depend on which day the spiral is installed.
WHO experts call the installation of an intrauterine device (this term has now replaced the coil) the most effective means of emergency contraception.
The main component of an intrauterine device is copper. It causes changes in the composition of the environment in the uterus, as a result of which sperm and eggs become less viable, and the likelihood of fertilization is reduced. Contrary to popular belief, an intrauterine device does not have an abortive effect. Eggs are most often not fertilized, but if this still happens, then they do not reach the uterine cavity, but die even at the approaches. There is no scientific data confirming the fact that the spiral can harm an embryo that has already begun to form.
The main disadvantage of the intrauterine device is that the installation should only be carried out by a qualified specialist. An important bonus of the spiral is a long-term contraceptive effect; after installation, the device will work for several years, protecting against pregnancy.
What are the contraindications for emergency contraception?
Both pills and an intrauterine device are suitable for any woman: there are no absolute age restrictions, there are no requirements for the postponed childbirth - emergency contraception is also suitable for those who have not given birth. However, there are conditions in which it is impossible to install an intrauterine device, the doctor decides on the installation.
The effectiveness of the pills may depend not only on the day of administration, but also on the woman's weight: drugs based on levonogestrel may not work if the weight exceeds 70 kg.
How does emergency contraception affect health?
Emergency contraceptive pills are surrounded by many myths: some say that they will cause serious hormonal disruption, leading to a complete disruption of the cycle and even infertility.
In reality, this is not the case.Yes, the body will receive, along with the pills, a fairly large dose of hormones at a time, but this will only cause short-term similar effects: menstruation will begin at a different time and, most likely, will be more abundant and painful. In addition, the chest will swell and begin to ache, headaches, abdominal pains, nausea and weakness may occur.
You should see a doctor if …
- … you still suspect pregnancy;
- … symptoms persist for several days;
- … your period is more than 7 days late;
- … you feel pain in the lower abdomen - this could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.
How often can emergency contraception be used?
You can take pills no more than once per menstrual cycle, otherwise the dose of hormones may indeed be too large and cause serious changes in the condition.
In any case, emergency contraception is also emergency, which can be used only in exceptional cases, and not on a regular basis. In addition, it is important to remember that this method is only suitable for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.