Find out about the efficacy and benefits of the day after pill, a medical option for emergency contraception.

Find out about the efficacy and benefits of the day after pill, a medical emergency contraception option.

When it comes to emergency contraception, the day after has become a widely recognized and accessible option for women. Also known as emergency contraceptive pills (PAE), these medications are designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual relationship or a contraceptive failure. Because of its effectiveness, ease of use and minimum side effects, the pills of the day after have become an essential tool for women to control their reproductive health.

A key aspect of the efficacy of the pill of the day after resides in its ability to prevent or delay ovulation, that is, the release of an ovule by the ovaries. By using hormones such as Levonorgestrel or Ulipristal acetate, these pills can alter the hormonal balance necessary for ovulation, reducing the possibilities of fertilization and pregnancy. However, it is important to keep in mind that the day after is not intended as a usual contraceptive method and should only be used as an emergency option within the recommended deadline.

Did you know?

  • The day after it is more effective if taken as soon as possible after having had unprotected sex.
  • Some pills of the day later can be used up to 72 hours (three days) after intercourse, while others can be taken up to 120 hours (five days) later.
  • Women of any age can buy pills of the day after without recipe in most pharmacies or clinics.

It is essential to understand that the day after not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Therefore, it is essential to take into account other protection methods, such as condoms, to minimize the risk of contracting STIs and avoid unwanted pregnancies. In addition, like any medication, the day after can have side effects, although they are usually well tolerated and temporary. They can be nausea, headache, fatigue, breast sensitivity or changes in menstrual bleeding.

Understanding the Morning After Pill

Effectiveness:

  • The pill of the day later, also known as emergency contraception, is more effective when taken as soon as possible after having had unprotected sex.
  • It is important to keep in mind that the day after is not 100% effective in pregnancy prevention, but significantly reduces the risk.
  • Studies have shown that the effectiveness of the morning-after pill decreases over time, with its maximum effectiveness being in the first 24 hours.

Research has indicated that the morning after pill can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 75-89%. However, it is crucial to understand that its effectiveness decreases over time, and that it is not intended as a regular contraceptive method.

Mechanism:

  1. The morning after pill works mainly by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, preventing the release of an egg from the ovary.
  2. In addition, it can also alter the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg and fertilize it.
  3. Additionally, the morning after pill can affect the lining of the uterus, preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.

Table 1 presents a summary of the ways in which the morning after pill works to prevent pregnancy:

Mechanism Description
Inhibition of ovulation Prevents the release of an egg from the ovary.
Changes in cervical mucus It makes it difficult for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg.
Alteration of the uterine lining Prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg.

How Does the Morning After Pill Work?

There are two main types of morning after pills: those based on levonorgestrel and those based on ulipristal acetate. Levonorgestrel is a progestin hormone commonly used in birth control pills, while ulipristal acetate is a selective progesterone receptor modulator. Both types of pills work by preventing or delaying ovulation, thus reducing the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.

Levonorgestrel-based pills: These pills usually contain a high dose of levonorgestrel, which works by inhibiting the release of eggs from the ovaries. They also thicken cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg if ovulation has already occurred.

Ulipristal Acetate Pills: Unlike levonorgestrel-based pills, ulipristal acetate pills can effectively inhibit or delay ovulation even when the LH surge has already begun. They work by blocking the body’s progesterone receptors, preventing the hormone from preparing the uterus for pregnancy.

It is important to note that the morning after pill is not an abortion pill and will not terminate an existing pregnancy. Its main function is to prevent fertilization or the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. To ensure maximum effectiveness, it is recommended to take the morning after pill as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse, preferably within 72 hours.

  • Levonorgestre l-based pills prevent or delay ovulation.
  • Ulipristal acetat e-based pills can inhibit or delay ovulation even after LH increase.
DAY PELDOR TYPE AFTER MAIN ACTION MECHANISM
Levonorgestre l-based pills They inhibit ovulation and thick cervical mucus
Ulipristal acetat e-based pills They block progesterone receptors, inhibiting or delaying ovulation

Effectiveness of Emergency Contraception

1. Emergency hormonal contraception:

  • Emergency contraceptive pills that contain progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone, are very effective when taken in the 72 hours following the intercourse without protection.
  • A single dose of emergency contraception based on progestin reduces the risk of pregnancy by approximately 89%.
  • However, it is crucial to keep in mind that efficacy decreases over time, so it is better to take the pill as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.

2. Intrauterine device (IUD) of copper:

  • Another very effective form of emergency contraception is the copper IUD, which can be inserted up to 5 days after having had unprotected sex.
  • The copper IUD has a failure rate of less than 1% and provides continuous contraception for a prolonged period.
  • This method not only prevents fertilization, but also inhibits implementation, offering reliable protection against unwanted pregnancies.

Note: Emergency contraceptive methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The use of barrier methods, such as condoms, in addition to emergency contraception for complete protection, is strongly recommended.

Method Duration Effectiveness
Pills with progestogen Within 72 hours Approximately 89
Copper IUD In 5 days Failure rate less than 1%.

It is important to remember that emergency contraception should not be used as a usual contraceptive method. These methods are designed to be used in emergency situations and should not replace the usual contraception. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate emergency contraceptive option based on individual needs and circumstances.

Types of Morning After Pills

1. Levonorgestre l-based pills:

  • Levonorgestrel-based pills, such as Plan B One-Step, Next Choice and My Way, are among the most used day pills.
  • These pills contain a synthetic hormone called Levonorgestrel, which is a progestin that acts preventing or delaying ovulation.
  • Levonorgestre l-based pills are more effective when taken in the 72 hours (3 days) after the intercourse without protection, but can continue to be used up to 120 hours (5 days) later.

2. Ulipristal acetate pills:

  • Ulipristal acetate pills, like Ella, are another emergency contraception option.
  • Unlike levonorgestrel-based pills, ulipristal acetate works by blocking the effects of progesterone, thereby inhibiting or delaying ovulation.
  • These pills are more effective than levonorgestrel-based pills when taken within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected intercourse.
  • It is important to note that ulipristal acetate requires a prescription from a healthcare professional.

3. Copper IUD:

“The copper intrauterine device (IUD), such as ParaGard, can also be used as emergency contraception.”

  • The copper IUD is a small T-shaped device that a healthcare professional inserts into the uterus.
  • It works by releasing copper ions, which are toxic to sperm and prevent fertilization.
  • The copper IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraception and can be used up to five days after unprotected sex.
  • Once inserted, the copper IUD can also provide long-term contraception, with a lifespan of between 10 and 12 years depending on the specific device.

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional or pharmacist to determine which type of morning after pill is appropriate for your individual circumstances and preferences. They can provide you with personalized guidance and ensure you have access to the most effective and suitable option.

Side Effects and Risks

1. Nausea and vomiting: One of the most common side effects of the morning after pill is nausea, which can be accompanied by vomiting. These symptoms usually appear within a few hours of taking the medication and are usually mild and temporary. However, if severe nausea or vomiting persists for more than 24 hours, it is important to seek medical attention.

Note: Nausea and vomiting can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the morning-after pill if the medication is expelled from the body before it has been fully absorbed. If vomiting occurs within two hours of taking the pill, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional to discuss the need to repeat the dose.

2. Irregular menstrual bleeding: Another common side effect of the morning after pill is irregularity in menstrual bleeding patterns. Some people may have heavier or lighter periods, while others may have spotting between periods. These changes are usually temporary and resolve within a few cycles. However, if abnormal bleeding persists or worsens, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying disease.

3. Mammary sensitivity: Some people may experience sensitivity or swelling in their breasts after taking the day after day. This side effect is usually mild and disappears alone in a few days. However, if sensitivity persists or is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, it is recommended to consult the doctor.

SECONDARY EFFECTS SUMMARY
Frequent side effects Rare side effects
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Breast sensitivity
  1. Serious allergic reactions
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Dizziness
  4. Fatigue

When Should You Take the Morning After Pill?

It is recommended to take the pill of the day after as soon as possible after having unprotected sex, preferably in the following 24 hours. However, it can remain effective up to 72 hours (3 days) after sexual intercourse. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it will be. Delaying the use of the day after the day after decreases its effectiveness and increases the risk of pregnancy.

Important: The day after should not be used as a usual contraceptive method. It is intended only for emergency situations.

To determine the right time to take the pill of the day after, it is important to take into account the brand or the specific type of pill used. Some pills of the day later, such as Plan B One-Step, are more effective if taken in the 24 hours after the unprotected sexual relationship, while others, like her, can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after the intercourse. It is essential to read the instructions carefully and follow the recommended calendar for each specific pill in order to maximize its effectiveness.

Where Can You Get Emergency Contraception?

Below are some of the most common places where you can get the pill of the day after:

  • Pharmacies: Most pharmacies, both chain and independent, have emergency contraceptives. It can be acquired without a medical recipe for people of all ages. Just enter the pharmacy and buy it, discreetly commenting with the pharmacist any questions or question you can have. It is recommended to call before to confirm your availability.
  • Health Clinics: Medical Clinics, Community Health Centers and Planned Parenthood facilities usually offer emergency contraception services. These organizations have trained health professionals that can explain the different options available and help you choose the most appropriate for your situation. They can also offer additional reproductive health and advice services.
  • Online Pharmacies: Nowadays, several online platforms offer the morning after pill for purchase. However, it is essential to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the website before making any transaction. Look for trusted online pharmacies that require a prescription or offer a thorough consultation process to ensure safe and proper use of the medication.

Note: It is important to remember that emergency contraception should be used as soon as possible after unprotected sex to increase its effectiveness. However, it may remain effective for the first 120 hours (5 days) depending on the type you choose. The sooner you take it, the better.

Comparative table of the morning after pill:
pill type Commercial brand Active principles Effectiveness When to take it
Levonorgestrel pill (progestogen only) Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Next Choice One Dose, etc. Levonorgestrel Up to 95% efficiency Within 72 hours (3 days)
Ulipristal acetate pill (selective progesterone receptor modulator) She Ulipristal acetate Up to 98% efficiency In 120 hours (5 days)

Frequently Asked Questions about Emergency Contraception

  1. What types of emergency contraceptives are there?

    There are two common types of emergency contraception: hormonal methods and copper intrauterine devices (IUD). Hormonal methods include pills containing levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate. Copper IUDs can be inserted into the uterus for up to five days after unprotected sex.

  2. How does emergency contraception work?

    Emergency contraception works mainly by preventing or delaying ovulation. It can also affect the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. Additionally, if fertilization has already occurred, it can interfere with implantation in the uterus.

  3. When should emergency contraception be taken?

    Emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. The effectiveness of the morning-after pill decreases over time, so using it immediately increases your chances of preventing pregnancy. It is important to follow the instructions of the emergency contraceptive method used.

Note: Emergency contraception should not be used as a regular method of contraception. It is intended for emergency situations only. If you have continued unprotected sex, consider consulting a healthcare professional about other methods of contraception.

It is essential to know the options available for emergency contraception and have access to precise information. Consulting a healthcare professional can help address individual concerns and guide the most appropriate emergency contraception option.

Important Considerations and Precautions

Before taking the pill of the day after, a series of important considerations must be taken into account. Although this emergency contraceptive method is usually safe and effective, it is essential to know its potential limitations and risks. It is strongly recommended to consult a healthcare professional to guarantee the best possible results and solve any specific questions.

Key Precautions and Guidelines:

  1. Time sensitivity: The day after should be taken as soon as possible after the no intercourse, within the recommended period. It is designed to prevent pregnancy when used within 72 hours, although some types may offer an extended efficacy up to 120 hours (5 days).
  2. Allergic reactions: People with known allergies to one of the ingredients of the day pill after their use should avoid. Common allergens may include levonorgestrel, ulipristal acetate or any other component present in the specific formulation.
  3. Existing medications: certain medications, such as enzyme induce drugs, can reduce the efficacy of the day after pill. It is important to inform the health professional about any current medication, including free sales drugs, herbal supplements and prescribed medications, to guarantee adequate orientation and possible adjustments.

Table: Potential Side Effects

Frequent side effects Rare side effects
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Headache
  • Breast sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Allergic reactions
  • Dizziness
  • Humor changes

Note: It is important to remember that the day after should not be used as a usual contraceptive method. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or against future unprotected sex. If prevention of pregnancy is a constant concern, it is crucial to explore lon g-term contraceptive options with a healthcare professional.

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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