Our expert says:
Emergency contraception is a method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. It can be used when a condom breaks, after a sexual assault, or any time unprotected intercourse occurs. It is intended for use within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is intended for emergencies only and should not be used as your regular method of birth control because it is not as effective as a primary contraceptive method (eg. birth control pills, Depo-Provera, or the IUD).
Commonly called the "morning after pill" that is a misleading term as the pill may be taken successfully up to 72 hours after intercourse. However, studies have shown the sooner you take it the better.
It works by preventing or delaying ovulation after unprotected sex. It is effective in 3 out of 4 uses. The procedure requires you to medication either prescribed by a doctor, or sold to you by a Pharmacist. Emergency contraceptive can be sold over the counter in South Africa.
Nausea occurs in 25% of all users, vomiting may also occur. Vomiting occurring within one hour of taking the pill voids the effectiveness. Other side effects may include irregular menstruation, breast tenderness, headaches, abdominal pain and dizziness
An IUD may also be used as an Emergency Contraceptive. It must be inserted by a qualified Doctor and acts as a long term method. The IUD Method creates a chemical environment in the uterus that is unfriendly to sperm and eggs. It may work up to seven days after unprotected intercourse.
Emergency Contraceptives are intended to prevent pregnancy after known or suspected contraceptive failure, or unprotected intercourse. Emergency contraceptive pills (like all oral contraceptives) do not protect against HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Emergency Contraception should not be used if you have any of the following conditions
Pregnancy (use a pregnancy tester before using EC)
Blood clots in the deep veins of the your legs (now or in the past)
Blood clots in the lungs (now or in the past)
Heart attack (current or history)
Stroke (current or history)
Valvular heart disease with complications
Severe high blood pressure
Diabetes with blood vessel involvement
Severe headaches [including classic (complicated) migraine]
Liver tumours (non-cancerous and cancerous), active liver disease
Heavy smoker (greater than 15 cigarettes per day) and over age 35
Allergic to any components of the product
Consult your healthcare professional if you have ever had any of these conditions.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
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