Emergency Contraception Side Effects

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Emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill is an emergency form of birth control a woman can take within 120 hours after unprotected intercourse. So if your condom breaks for example, emergency contraception can be a life saver when it comes to avoiding an unplanned pregnancy.

As with any hormonal method of contraception, there can be side effects after taking it. The most common side effect is nausea which is caused by the sudden influx of a high dose of hormones into the body. 1 out of 4 women who take emergency contraception experience nausea. Two things that help with dealing with any nausea that may accompany emergency contraception are to take emergency contraception with a full stomach and take anti nausea medication about an hour before the emergency contraception. Some women actually vomit from the nausea. If this happens before the emergency contraception is in the woman’s system which is about an hour after taking it and the pills come back up, she may need to repeat the dose.

Other common side effects of emergency contraception include breast tenderness, headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain and irregular bleeding. Because emergency contraception works by preventing ovulation if it has not occurred or by not letting a fertilized egg implant in the uterus, a woman may have bleeding that resembles a period. This should stop by the time her next period is due.

If a woman uses emergency contraception regularly, she may experience more irregular bleeding because her body won’t allow itself to get back on a normal menstrual cycle. The bleeding may be light or heavy and may cause her period to come early or late.

Most side effects disappear within one to two days after taking emergency contraception. If a woman continues to experience side effects or other problems she should consult with her health care provider.

Women who are already pregnant or who are having irregular menstrual bleeding should not use emergency contraception.

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