The morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive method that continues to arouse much controversy due to its possible risks and its use. Núria Casamitjana, manager of the Drug Information Center of the Col·legi de Farmacèutics of Barcelona, helps us to resolve all doubts. These are the 15 things that you have always wanted to know about the morning after pill and that raised doubts.
Your doubts about the morning after pill
- What is the morning after pill?
The pill of the day is an emergency contraceptive method, and the emergency must be emphasized. It should only be taken when unprotected sex has been practiced or when the regular contraceptive method has failed, that is, when the condom has broken, the IUD has moved, the birth control pill has been forgotten, etc. If used regularly, it could represent too great a hormonal discharge for a woman.
- What is the difference between the morning after pill and the contraceptive?
As Núria Casamitjana tells us, the contraceptive pill is one that is taken regularly, every day, to avoid pregnancy. However, the morning after pill can only be taken occasionally. They are not exclusive. That is, if you regularly take the contraceptive pill, but you make a mistake in taking it and have sex without using another contraceptive method, you can take the morning-after pill.
- How does the morning after pill work?
The purpose of the morning after pill is to delay ovulation, which would prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg.
- How many types of pills are there?
There are two types of emergency contraceptive pills: the one that must be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex or failure in the contraceptive method and the one that can be extended up to 120 hours, that is, 5 days.
- When do you have to take it?
Despite the name that is commonly given to this pill, it must be taken as soon as possible. The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) recommends taking it within 12 hours after having unprotected sex or after the contraceptive method has failed. It cannot be taken later than 72 hours.
- What if I vomit after taking it?
If you vomit within 3 hours of taking the tablet, another tablet should be taken as soon as possible. It is advisable to go to the pharmacy and tell him exactly what and, above all, when it was taken before.
- How effective is the morning after pill?
The effectiveness of the morning after pill varies depending on when it is taken. The sooner it is ingested, the better. According to AEMPS, a clinical trial carried out demonstrated an efficacy of 84% in those pills taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse or in which there was a failure in the contraceptive method.
- What are the side effects?
If it is taken correctly, that is to say in a timely manner, it is a greater hormonal discharge than usual, which is why it could produce: menstrual imbalances, breast tenderness, nausea or discomfort, fatigue…
- How will my period come after taking the pill?
The morning after pill can cause some imbalances in menstruation, since it can advance or delay it. Most women will have their next period 5 to 7 days before or after the expected date. In addition, bleeding not related to the period can occur.
- Can all women take it?
The first thing that Núria Casamitjana points out is that this pill is indicated for adult women of reproductive age, that is, neither for girls nor for women who are too old. If the woman is healthy, she can take the morning after pill.
Women who have shown hypersensitivity to the active principle or to any of its excipients should refrain from taking them. A doctor might also advise against it for women with very severe liver failure. It should not be administered to pregnant women either.
- Can it be taken while breastfeeding?
In the case of women who are breastfeeding their children, it is recommended to take it immediately after feeding the baby to avoid potential exposure to the infant.
- And what happens after taking the morning after pill?
Núria Casamitjana points out that after taking the morning-after pill, it is advisable to use a local barrier method until the start of the next menstrual period, that is, the condom, the diaphragm, the cervical cap, etc.
- Is it necessary to leave a time between one pill and the next?
There is no indication that an estimated time should be left between one morning-after pill and the next. However, it must be taken into account once again that this pill should be taken occasionally, since in no case can it become a habitual method.
- It’s bad for your health?
If the morning after pill is taken as it should, that is, in a timely manner to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex, it is not bad for a woman’s health. Problems could arise if it is not used occasionally, since it could cause too high a hormonal discharge.
- Is there a lifetime pill limit?
Have you ever been told that you can only take 3 pills in your lifetime? According to the person in charge of the COFB Medicine Information Center, the limit is to take into account that you always have to take it occasionally.