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Emergency Contraception

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Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception is usually the 'morning after pill' – one that creates a hostile environment for fertilization and subsequent pregnancy. The IUD is also used as an emergency contraceptive device.

Emergency contraception,as the name suggests, emergency contraception is used when you suspect a contraceptive failure or after unprotected intercourse. The emergency contraception pill is also known as the 'morning after pill'. These pills must be taken right away or within 5 days of unprotected intercourse to reduce the possibility of a pregnancy. As with the contraceptive bill, emergency contraceptive pill also does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

Emergency contraception will not work in situations where the woman is already pregnant. Emergency contraception pills are not to be confused with the 'abortion pill', which is designed to terminate an early pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified some brands of combined contraception pills as safe for emergency use too

Emergency contraception pill

Let us understand how oral emergency contraception works. Emergency contraceptive pills alter the cervical mucus to make it hostile to sperm. The lining of the uterus is also thinned out thereby making it difficult for implantation of a fertilized egg. Emergency contraceptives prevent or delay the release of eggs from the ovaries.

They also make it difficult for the sperm to travel within the fallopian tubes. The uterine lining is also altered to make it less hospitable for implantation of a fertilized egg. Emergency contraception pills are of two types. One type is similar to the hormones used in combination birth control pills. These combined hormone ECPs (Emergency Contraception Pills) contain a combination of estrogen and progestin. The second type of emergency contraception pill contains only progestrin.

In the U.S., such pills are packaged and labeled as especially for emergency use and go under the brand name of Plan B or Preven. These pills have lesser side effects such as nausea and vomiting. These pills are to be taken in one or two doses that are 12 hours apart. The sooner the emergency contraception pill is taken, greater the chances of its efficacy. Emergency contraceptive pills are not effective in cases where a fertilized egg has already implanted itself in the wall of the uterus.

Emergency contraception IUD

The IUD is inserted into the uterus by a physician. It functions as an emergency contraceptive measure if it is inserted within 5 days after unprotected sex. Emergency IUD are known to reduce the risk of pregnancy by nearly 99.9 %. The IUD creates an unfriendly environment for egg and sperm. The IUD cannot stop the ovary from releasing an egg but it can prevent fertilization as well as implantation of a fertilized egg.

Emergency contraception is usually available on prescription only. Oral emergency contraceptives are successful in preventing about 75 - 89% of pregnancies occurring due to failure of any other contraceptive device. After the use of oral emergency contraceptives, a woman is likely to experience heavier or lighter menstrual period within about 7 days of the expected date. But if she does not start her menstrual period within 3 weeks of taking emergency contraception, it is necessary to visit the doctor or health care provider.

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