The morning after or the morning-after pill, or emergency contraceptive pill as it is also known, is often a widely used resource to prevent the conception of unwanted pregnancies after unprotected sexual intercourse. Well used, it can be helpful and not cause significant problems in women, but when ingested very frequently, it can cause disorders since it is a hormonal medication. Likewise, if one does not consider how long the effects of the morning after pill last, its ingestion may not have the desired effect, thus making its use useless.
FastlyHealpublishes this updated article to know what it is, when, and in which cases to use the morning-after pill.
Table of Contents
What is the morning after pill?
The morning-after pill (or the morning-after pill, as it is also known) is made up of levonorgestrel. There are two presentations:
- A single 1.5 mg pill is taken only once.
- Two 0.75 mg tablets. The first is taken and, after 12 hours, the second.
This is a hormonal drug. That is, it affects the female reproductive cycle. It works in two ways:
- It prevents ovulation.
- It contains the egg from being fertilized.
It is not abortifacient, as it does not prevent the implantation of an already fertilized egg or interrupt the pregnancy.
When to take the morning-after pill
If you want to avoid pregnancy, the morning after pill should be taken as soon as possible (preferably within 12 hours) and up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.
If vomiting occurs up to 3 hours after taking the pill, another tablet should be taken immediately.
The morning-after pill can be used in the following cases:
- After sexual intercourse without contraceptive protection.
- Failure of the contraceptive method commonly used: rupture of the condom or if it remained inside the vagina, forgetfulness of the contraceptive pill, expulsion of the IUD, etc.
In no case should it be used repeatedly as the sole contraceptive method since its effectiveness is less than other methods. Also, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Consultation with a trusted doctor is suggested to choose the best method.
It can be taken at any time during the menstrual cycle, but it should be borne in mind that after taking the morning-after pill, you should continue using the usual contraceptive method. If the frequently used way is hormonal (daily contraceptive pills, for example), a barrier method (condom) should also be used until the next menstrual cycle. This is so because by altering the female process, ovulation can be advanced or delayed, possibly a pregnancy in case of having other unprotected sexual relations.
Levonorgestrel should be avoided more than once within the same female cycle, as it can alter it.
How long does the effect of the morning after pill last
The effects of the morning-after pill only serve to prevent conception for up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. It begins to act 2 hours after being ingested. Although it remains in the blood for another 24 hours, it is not guaranteed that the desired effect of preventing pregnancy will last if new unprotected sexual relations are maintained.
In the same way, if, before those 72 hours, they had had sexual intercourse without contraception or if it was not sure when the intercourse occurred, pregnancy is possible.
The rule usually occurs on the expected date after the ingestion of levonorgestrel, although sometimes it can be early or delayed. If the delay is more significant than seven days, it is suggested to rule out pregnancy.
Side effects of the morning-after pill
After the morning-after pill, the following symptoms may occur :
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- Bleeding is not related to menstruation.
- Pain in the breasts.
- Irregular menstruation.
The morning-after pill should be avoided in the following cases:
- Under 16 years of age.
- Breastfeeding, as it is excreted in breast milk.
- Severe liver failure
- Risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Hypersensitivity to levonorgestrel.
Consulting a trusted doctor if there are doubts or if this medication is required repeatedly to receive adequate information is suggested.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.