Most women who use oral hormonal contraceptives need pills that are effective, robust, and, besides, safe in situations of forgetfulness, and that value other benefits such as not affecting their libido and reducing premenstrual syndrome.
Around two million women use birth control pills in the country. However, 35% of unwanted pregnancies occur due to a lack of treatment adherence.
12% of women get pregnant despite using the contraceptive pill. Among the most common causes of these pregnancies are vomiting, forgetfulness, diarrhea, and drug interactions.
Experts consider a key factor in adopting pharmacological measures that minimize the impact of poor compliance.
Although all contraceptive methods are effective in preventing pregnancy, there are conditions, such as forgetfulness, that make the methods more or less effective.
Combination contraceptives with gestagens with a long half-life and therapeutic regimens with fewer days of rest are more effective and are less conditioned to possible forgetfulness.
Using a constant method of contraception is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy, but if you have already had unprotected sex, that is, without using any type of contraceptive method, or if a problem occurred with the method you used, there is a contraceptive method that you can take which is the emergency contraceptive pill, which is taken quickly would prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Here we show you a lot of information about the emergency pills method, how to use it, its action, and its effectiveness.
What are emergency contraceptive pills (ETC)?
Emergency contraceptive pills are popularly called “the morning after pill,” although they should be better known as “as quickly as possible,” it is the only contraceptive method that all women can use after unprotected sex.
These emergency contraceptive pills are to be used only as a backup contraceptive and should not be used as a primary contraceptive method.
This means that this emergency pill is primarily an emergency method and not a standard method of contraception.
It cannot in any way replace the condom and other regular methods, but in the event of an accident with these methods, that is, the usual method fails, it is a good resource.
They are contraceptive pills that are taken in special doses within a period of no more than five days, being much more effective the sooner they are taken.
These emergency pills contain ulipristal acetate or levonorgestrel, a type of progestagen. Levonorgestrel is an over-the-counter type of medicine, but ulipristal acetate can only be sold with a prescription.
The effectiveness of these contraceptive pills will depend fundamentally on where the cycle of the person taking them is located and, especially if they take the pill in time to avoid ovulation.
Two types of emergency contraceptive pills (ETCs) are currently available in the United States.
Emergency contraceptive pills should not be confused with mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or the “abortion pill.” This is because the abortion pill has the function of interrupting a pregnancy after it has been implanted, one in which the fertilized egg has attached itself to the uterine wall and has begun to develop.
Whereas the morning-after contraceptive pills do not end or interrupt a pregnancy that has been implanted. Its main goal is to delay or prevent ovulation.
How effective are emergency contraceptive pills?
The effectiveness of emergency contraceptive pills is high, but it is necessary to know that it is not always effective.
It should be taken into account that emergency pills have the objective of delaying or preventing ovulation because when ovulation is prevented, the sperm cannot have contact with an egg, while an egg can only be fertilized by sperm Approximately 12 to 24 hours after ovulation, sperm can survive within the body for 5 to 7 days.
All this leads to the fact that we have 1 to 2 days after each fertile window, which is when there is the possibility that the emergency pill has a truly less effective effect.
If you have unprotected sex days before ovulation occurs and you take the pill, your chances of getting pregnant are lower, but if you have sex only one day before ovulation occurs, you have a better chance of getting pregnant.
This is also why the emergency pill should be taken promptly after unprotected sex, as the closer, you take it to ovulation, the more likely the hormones contained in the emergency pill cannot prevent ovulation and there is more risk of pregnancy.
This means that these emergency pills may be more effective within this pre-ovulatory part of fertility, or perhaps they are even completely effective.
In the case of levonorgestrel, the effectiveness decreases over time, being greater during the first 12 hours, therefore, we recommend taking it as quickly as possible, and can be used up to 72 hours, although there is some effectiveness up to 120 hours there is no indication at all. respect in the datasheet.
Recently there were two studies on the levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill, which showed that women who took the emergency pill on or after the day of ovulation had the same number of pregnancies as expected from women who took nothing: 1 in 3 women approximately.
In the case of ulipristal acetate, the effectiveness is at least the same as in the case of levonorgestrel in the first hours and manages to be maintained until 120 hours after risky sex.
All this means, as we mentioned above that the effectiveness of the morning-after contraceptive pills will depend especially on whether they are taken on time or as quickly as possible after sex to avoid, block or eliminate ovulation.
Although it also depends on where the cycle of who will take the pill is.
In any of these cases, it is necessary to clarify that the efficacy or effectiveness of ulipristal acetate is less than that of a regular contraceptive method.
It has been shown that the effectiveness of the emergency contraceptive pill is between 52% and 100%.
However, the efficacy or effectiveness of this contraceptive method is quite difficult to determine because a large number of factors would have to be taken into account.
The best emergency contraceptive pills
Here we bring you the best emergency contraceptive pill options so you can explore all that is available to you:
Ella is an emergency contraceptive pill that contains a progestin known as ulipristal acetate. This emergency contraceptive pill is only available with a prescription and should be taken only in one dose or divided.
This emergency contraceptive pill is considered the most effective of all and can be even more effective if taken at least 5 days after unprotected sex.
If there are still days to ovulation, an Ella pill would be a good idea. This antiprosgenic pill is more effective than other pills in preventing ovulation shortly before it occurs.
With Ella, you can enjoy a lot of security whether it is one or two days after your ovulation or if you are taking them 4 or 5 days after having unprotected sex.
These pills are combination pills that contain a mixture of estrogen and progestin. Multiple pills are generally taken in two doses: one dose within 4-5 days after unprotected sex and another 12 hours later.
2. Plan B
Plan B, like Ella, is an emergency contraceptive pill, contains levonorgestrel, and is usually given within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.
These emergency pills can prevent ovulation and interfere with ovulation. It can also alter the endometrium, thus preventing the implantation of the ovum in the already fertilized uterus.
Regarding the effectiveness of Plan B we can say that if you take it during the first 3 days after having unprotected sex, the risk of pregnancy will be reduced to up to 89%.
However, if you take this emergency contraceptive pill in the first 24 hours you will have a 98.5% effectiveness of not getting pregnant.
The morning-after pill Plan B is very safe and side effects are not very common.
However, it should appear occasionally, after taking the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill, it is normal for your next menstrual period to be different than usual. It can be early or late, even more intense, lighter, or more blotchy, or there may simply be no variation.
You may have an upset stomach, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or have tender breasts when you take the Plan B emergency pill.
It is very important to remember that if you vomit in the first 2 hours after taking the pill, it will not work and you will have to take it again.
3. Take Action
Take Action is also a very good FDA-approved emergency contraception option available to help prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Take Action includes a single pill, which like the other emergency pills is only intended to be a backup method to help prevent pregnancy. This means that it should not be used for regular contraception.
Take Action contains levonorgestrel like many emergency contraceptive pills. However, the main difference between taking Action from the other pills is that it contains estrogen and it also contains a higher amount of this progestin than regular combination pills.
Taking action is not for all situations and has potential side effects.
To know for sure if emergency contraceptive pills have been a success, it’s as simple as waiting for your period.
When you leave your period you will know if the emergency pills have been effective or not. If your period occurs at its normal time or a week later than you expected it means that the emergency pills have been effective and you are not pregnant.
However, if your period is more than a week late, the emergency pills may not have been effective, and you are pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test to confirm if you are pregnant.
Take Action generally costs about 20% less than Plan B. This is a slightly less expensive alternative.
4. My Way
My Way is an incredible FDA-approved emergency contraceptive pill option. My way can be taken at any time during your monthly cycle. It is intended to be used as emergency contraception if you have had sex without using contraception.
My Way must be taken within 3 days of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.
My way is very easy to use, each My Way package comes with a set of instructions that explain in detail everything about your emergency pills, after reading the instructions you just have to take the pill.
The morning after the My Way pill can also cause changes in your menstrual cycle. After using My Way, your next period may be lighter or heavier than normal.
You may also have bleeding before your next period. The My Way pill can also make your next period start earlier or later than you would normally expect it to.
In addition to these brands we can find the following:
How do emergency contraception pills work?
Emergency pills are intended to delay or prevent ovulation, and they do this by modifying the body’s hormones. The emergency pill generally contains hormones similar to oral contraceptives, but at much higher doses in this way, they delay ovulation and prevent the release of the egg from the ovary.
To give them the best chance to act, you should take the emergency pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Ideally, you should take it within 12 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse, if it is taken more than 24 hours later it is much less effective.
How many times can you use this type of contraceptive?
The truth is that there is no limit to taking these pills, it is likely that if you take an emergency contraceptive pill from time to time there will be no problem.
However, using the emergency contraceptive pill as a long-term alternative contraceptive is not recommended.
This is because you would be exposing your body to higher levels of hormones than it would normally receive using a hormonal contraceptive method combined with a traditional method.
The constant use of these pills can also cause menstrual disturbances and various side effects that are not good at all.
Therefore, it is not recommended to use birth control pills as the main method of contraception, as we mentioned earlier, birth control pills should only be used as a backup contraceptive.
Does ETC have side effects?
Many people wonder if frequent use of hormonal emergency contraceptive pills has side effects. And the truth is that emergency contraceptive pills have a varied list of side effects.
Among the most common we can include:
-Sensitivity in the breasts
If you get nauseous frequently, we recommend that you take a nausea medicine along with the emergency contraceptive pill, this way you can avoid feeling nauseous.
And if you vomit in the first hours after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, it is best to contact your provider, you will likely need another dose.
Also, the side effects of combined hormone pills tend to be much stronger, so you must know the brand of your emergency pills well.
The above side effects usually disappear after about a day.
Other side effects:
These pills also often cause mild non-menstrual bleeding. Also, many people who take emergency contraception pills usually have their next period a little later than expected or even a little earlier than expected.
-Protection against sexually transmitted infections (STI):
Using emergency pills as a contraceptive method is not only a bad idea because of the long-term side effects it brings, but also because by not using traditional methods such as gloves, dental dams, or external or internal condoms, we become prone to infection from sexual transmission.
Taking an emergency pill will not help you against an STI, so it is very important to continue using traditional contraceptive methods.
-Emergency contraceptive pills do not ensure that you will not get pregnant:
Emergency pills are not an abortifacient; this means that if you have already ovulated and the egg has been fertilized, you will not be able to avoid getting pregnant.
The success rate of the single-dose emergency contraceptive pill is difficult to calculate. There are various reasons why emergency pills can fail, therefore, we remind you to take the emergency pill as quickly as you can after having unprotected sex, this will increase its effectiveness.
Emergency contraception pills should be used only as an emergency contraceptive method after having unprotected sex or an accident, such as breaking the condom during the act, these pills are truly amazing. However, emergency contraception pills do not protect against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV (only condoms do).
If you do not have a continuous contraceptive method so as not to put your health at risk, we recommend that you talk with your doctor, be it an obstetrician, gynecologist, midwife, or another health professional, it is good to talk with professionals to know what your options are and what It is the best for you, it will surely guide you in the right way.
They will talk to you about your concerns, give you information about a contraceptive method that you can use continuously, and refer you for other services.
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