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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

How Much Contraceptive Is Too Much?

We have all heard about the famous saying, “An emergency pill is just that! An emergency and should not be used as a long-term contraceptive.” Many people claim that if overdone it could lead to infertility. Despite all this information, many young women still prefer to use the emergency pill as their main form of contraceptive. The question everyone is asking is, How much is too much when it comes to the e-pill? Let’s find out!

What’s the recommended dosage?

You only need to take one dose of emergency contraception following each episode of unprotected sex. Taking additional doses does not make the emergency contraceptive pill more effective. Yes! That’s right it doesn’t make it any stronger. However, if you vomit shortly after taking the pill. This means that the pill did not have time to enter your system and the hormones cannot take effect to prevent pregnancy. In this case, it is necessary to take another dose of emergency contraception. Another scenario is if you have unprotected sex a couple of days after taking emergency contraception, then you might have to take another dose to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

What’s the limit?

There is no limit to the number of times an individual can take the emergency contraceptive pill. However, you are not supposed to use emergency contraception as a long-term form of birth control. Using emergency contraception all the time is simply not as effective as using a birth control method, such as a pill or an intrauterine device, consistently.

Did you know there are three types of emergency contraception (EC) pills?

They are:

  • Levonorgestrel (Plan B), a progestin-only pill

  • Ulipristal acetate (Ella), a pill that’s a selective progesterone receptor modulator, meaning that it blocks progesterone

  • Estrogen-progestin pills (birth control pills)

Most of you are familiar with emergency contraceptive pills (EC) under the brand name POSTINOR and ESCAPELLE, right? They contain only one kind of hormone called Levonorgestrel and it prevents pregnancy before it is established. While there’s no limit to how often you can take EC pills, this only applies to (levonorgestrel) or its generic forms, but this doesn’t apply to other EC pills. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean it should not be used as regular contraception but only for emergencies.

What are the risks?

Emergency contraceptive pills do not carry the same risks as taking other forms of hormonal birth control continuously. They are relatively low-risk. Some risks associated with emergency contraception are:

  • Unplanned pregnancy since it is less effective than other forms of birth control

  • Irregular periods, especially if a person takes it regularly.

  • It is also an expensive form of birth control compared to other methods

What about side effects?

Emergency contraception side effects should only last a few days. They include:

  • Irregular bleeding between periods

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Stomach cramps

  • Tender breasts

Most importantly, remember that there are no long-term side effects. Emergency contraception is not likely to cause infertility!

Can I take the emergency contraception pill more than once during a single menstrual cycle?

Manufacturers of the levonorgestrel pill do not recommend taking an emergency contraceptive pill more than once in a cycle. However, research from one study and manufacturers of the progestin-only pill disagree and state that it is okay. More research is needed to determine if there are any effects from consistent repeated use. If the emergency contraceptive pill is being used repeatedly, especially during the same cycle, it is advisable to consider using a different form of contraceptive that is more reliable and one that is designed for long-term use.

Do emergency contraception pills mess up your cycle?

Yes! Menstrual irregularity is the most common side effect of EC pills. Depending on which EC pill you take and when you take it, these irregularities can include:

  • Shorter cycle

  • Longer period

  • Spotting between periods

In summary

While emergency contraception has no limit to how many doses you can take, it should be used for emergencies only and not as a regular contraceptive. While It does not carry any long-term risks, and it’s unlikely to affect a person’s future fertility, short-term side effects are common as menstrual irregularities and other symptoms. If you wish to prevent pregnancy you should discuss other contraceptive options with a doctor.

Stay informed, stay in control Did you learn something?

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Edward Smith
Edward Smith
May 26

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