What is Emergency Hormonal Contraception?
Emergency contraception is a tablet that a woman takes to help prevent pregnancy following unprotected sex. Unprotected sex includes when other forms of contraception have failed in some way, such as a condom coming off during sex.
How does Emergency Hormonal Contraception work?
Emergency Hormonal Contraception works by delaying the release of an egg during the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle. Rising levels of luteinising hormone (LH) inside your body then triggers ovulation. The higher the levels of LH, the less likely the morning after pill will prevent pregnancy.
So, it’s important that the emergency contraceptive pill is taken as soon as possible following unprotected sex for it to be effective.
You can take one of two types of emergency contraception: ellaOne and Levonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel is less effective once LH levels increase but ellaOne has been shown to still be effective later in the menstrual cycle.
Both types of emergency contraception need to be taken as soon as possible after sexual intercourse, preferably the same day. Whilst emergency contraception needs to be collected in-store, you can order and collect the tablets on the same day.
What are the side effects of taking emergency contraception?
The common side effects of taking emergency contraception include irregular bleeding, nausea, headaches and abdominal or period pain.
Can men buy emergency contraception?
No. Only women can buy emergency contraception. Before purchase, you will need to complete a questionnaire to check your suitability. Emergency contraceptives are only available for in-person collection in one of our stores.
Can emergency contraception protect me from STIs?
No. This is a form of contraception that can help prevent getting pregnant. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or diseases (STDs) including chlamydia, genital warts or HIV.
To help prevent catching or spreading a sexually-transmitted disease or infection, you must practice safe sex and wear a condom during intercourse.
What is unprotected sex?
Unprotected sex is where no form of birth control or condoms are used by people engaging in sexual intercourse. Unprotected sex refers to avoiding getting pregnant.
Unprotected sex can happen when a couple forgets to use contraception or where their choice of contraception has not worked. This includes when the woman forgets to take her contraceptive pill or when a condom isn’t on properly during sex.
Not all forms of birth control will also help prevent the spread of diseases. To help prevent catching a sexually-transmitted disease of infection, you need to also practice safe sex.
What is safe sex?
Safe sex is where people use condoms to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections as well as to avoid getting pregnant. Safe sex helps protect people from catching a disease or from passing it on if they are already infected.
It’s good practice to always use a condom, even if you are also taking a different form of birth control.