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Everything you need to know about the morning after pill

 Photo from Pixabay

Photo from Pixabay

This might come as a surprise post on here but I like to have a mix of info and fun on here. Recently I have been reminiscing about how stupid I was as a teenager and how important I feel teens knowing their stuff is. The internet wasn't as readily available when I was a teen and so the info was only there if you had the guts to ask someone. I fell pregnant at 15 whilst on the pill, I didn't know the ins and outs of contraception and what, where and how, so I thought I'd write up some of the important questions people have about the morning after pill. Hopefully it will help a scared teen understand their options if something goes wrong with their usual contraception. You're not alone and you do have options, however REMEMBER, this is NOT a form of contraception, and shouldn't be used as such. 

 Photo from lloydspharmacy.com

Photo from lloydspharmacy.com

If your usual method of contraception has failed to work or you’ve had unprotected sex, there is help at hand. Should you find yourself in a situation like this, you could use the morning after pill. If you want to find out more, let’s have a look at some of the most commonly asked questions to discover everything you need to know.

What is it?

The morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your usual method of contraception has failed to work. Whether you’ve had a lapse in judgement or a condom has split, the morning after pill can reduce your chances of getting pregnant. There are two versions of the morning after pill available - ellaOne and Levonelle - and both can be purchased from your local chemist or an online pharmacy such as Online Doctor Lloyds Pharmacy.

What is the difference between ellaOne and Levonelle?

The main difference between ellaOne and Levonelle is the time frame they need to be taken within in order for them to work effectively. Levonelle needs to be taken within 72 hours, while ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours of sex. Each pill contain different ingredients. Levonelle contains levonorgestrel - an artificial version of progesterone, and ellaOne contains ulipristal acetate, which stops the hormone progesterone from working as it should. Both medicines work prevent or delay the release of an egg during ovulation.

How effective is it?

After having unprotected sex, the sooner you take emergency contraception the more effective is it likely to be. It is also thought that ellaOne is more successful than Levonelle at preventing unwanted pregnancies. It’s important to note that neither ellaOne nor Levonelle can’t provide long-term protection against pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex after taking this method of emergency contraception, you could still fall pregnant. 

Who can use it?

Most women are able to use the morning after pill with no problems. However, you should not use ellaOne if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, have severe asthma which is being treated with steroids or if you have certain hereditary problems with lactose metabolism. It is unknown if there are any medical conditions that may stop a woman from being able to use Levonelle.

Who can use it?

Most women are able to use the morning after pill with no problems. However, you should not use ellaOne if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, have severe asthma which is being treated with steroids or if you have certain hereditary problems with lactose metabolism. It is unknown if there are any medical conditions that may stop a woman from being able to use Levonelle.

What are the side effects?

Taking the morning after pill should not cause you any serious health problems, although you may experience some side effects. The most common ones include stomach pain, headaches, tiredness, nausea and irregular menstrual bleeding before your next period is due. Other less common side effects may include dizziness, vomiting and tender breasts. If you’re concerned about your symptoms, you should seek advice from a medical professional.

So, should you ever find yourself stuck, you could find peace of mind in knowing that there is help at hand.