Female adolescents at risk of becoming pregnant after an assault should be counseled on the availability of emergency contraception.
Whether the encounter happened due to poor planning or contraception failure, it is important to use a form of emergency contraception (EC) if you do not wish to become pregnant.
Levonorgestrel is the only hormone in Plan B; estrogen is not present in this form of emergency contraception.
Using birth control pills as emergency contraception prevents pregnancy in up to 89 percent of cases.
Also referred to as "morning after contraception" or "the morning after pill," emergency contraception pills are taken immediately after sex or at anytime within five days following sexual intercourse.
Neither type of emergency contraception pill available in the United States will end an established pregnancy.
There are currently four types of emergency contraception pills on the market, but only two are available in the United States.
Progestin-only emergency contraception is sold in the United States under three names: Plan B, Plan B One-Step, and Next Choice.
In most cases, women can use daily birth control pills as emergency contraception.
To reduce the risk of these negative side effects, please contact your healthcare provider to learn more about the proper use of birth control bills as emergency contraception.
Some women may experience a late or early period after using emergency contraception.
Rarely, hormonal emergency contraception may cause severe nausea and vomiting.
Women can reduce the chance of developing this side effect by taking an over-the-counter anti-nausea medication at least one hour before using emergency contraception.
The only effective alternative to emergency contraception pills is the use of a Copper-T IUD.
You should discuss the benefits and risks of emergency contraception with your doctor before use.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women's Health offers excellent information on emergency contraception.
Planned Parenthood provides information on obtaining Plan B, and assists women attempting to purchase emergency contraception.
Two of the next most effective methods of birth control are having an IUD inserted (which prevents eggs and sperm from coming together to create a fetus) and emergency contraception pills.
It should be noted though that emergency contraception should not be used frequently, nor should they be used as the primary method of birth control.
If you've had unprotected sex during one of your most fertile days and do not wish to become pregnant, immediately see your health care provider for emergency contraception.
Don't delay this visit: emergency contraception must be used within 72 hours and is more effective at preventing pregnancy if used earlier.
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