What does emergency contraception do?

Stop! Don’t panic – although you might be feeling a little panicked right now if you’re reading this article. And for good reason too because emergency contraception is a topic that can make anyone feel uneasy. Whether it’s because of the stigma around sex or just general misunderstandings about how contraception works, there’s no denying that it’s an important topic to talk about.

So what exactly is emergency contraception and what does it do? In this article, we’ll answer all your burning questions about one of the most misunderstood topics in reproductive health.

What Is Emergency Contraception?

Before we dive into how emergency contraception works, let’s first understand what it actually is. Basically, emergency contraception (EC) refers to methods used after unprotected intercourse or birth control failure to prevent pregnancy. It can also be known as post-coital contraceptive and sometimes referred to as “Plan B”.

It should not be taken on a regular basis but only when required such as fast preventive measures after rape, condom breakage etcetera.

Types of EC

There are mainly four types of EC which include:
Copper intrauterine device(IUD)
Ulipristal acetate
Progestin only pills
Combined ECPs

How Does Emergency Contraception Work?

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way let’s move on with understanding how does EC work its magic- Emergency contraceptives work primarily by delaying ovulation, either by stopping or substantially delaying ovulation until spermatozoa has left your body naturally decreasing chances for fertilization.Other mechanisms include changes in cervical mucus preventing penetration of sperms thereby avoiding conception altogether from taking place.

While they’re effective at making sure pregnancy doesn’t happen , they aren’t 100% preventative though so will never take away the risk completely.

Understanding The Timing

It’s important to fully understand that the timing of taking emergency contraception plays a huge role in their effectiveness. The sooner you take EC after unprotected sex, the more effective it will be at preventing pregnancy.

To capitalize on the most effective way of using such methods is by being prepared for any kind of circumstances and having easy access to contraceptive pills or devices.Research shows that copper IUDs are ultimately most reliable but then they also require insertion from experts.

Progestin-Only Pills

Progestin-only pills are one type of ECP which contain synthetic progesterone, hormone responsible for fertility regulation. They work by thickening cervical mucus which makes harder possible penetration by sperm and does other things such as delaying ovulation subsequently reducing its chance preventing fertilization thus conception.

Combined Hormonal Emergency Contraception Pills

Combined hormonal emergency contraception pills refer mainly to single dose progestin-estrogen tablets.Increasingly they have become common due commercializing effects in marketing.However this type of preparation is usually not so commonly used since estrogen has recently been shown potentially increase risks and side-effects including thrombosis,strokes etcetera.Some preparations are available as dual doses with one pill taken 12 hours apart from each other over ensuing 24 hours resulting equal efficacy without increasing clotting risk factor.

Copper Intrauterine Device(I.U.D.)

While there are many options when it comes to emergency contraception, few match up with copper intrauterine device (I.U.D) once highly recommended . An IUD doesn’t just provide a number of benefits beyond traditional birth control like longer-term pregnancy prevention ,but acts also as an excellent option during emergencies primarily because functioning mid-coitus doesnt lead much time wastage along with efficiency often comparable even outbeating plan B drugs.Talk about killing two birds at once!

Ulipristal Acetate(PCSK9)

Another well-known brand name for ulipristal is ellaOne which acts as a hormone but created to tune and eventually avoid unwanted pregnancies by preventing ovulation .This considerably well manipulated mechanism increases efficacy range actively without delays providing room for future planning regardless of circumstances.

Side Effects Of Emergency Contraception

No medication is entirely side-effect free be it aspirin, even vitamin supplements or in this case birth control pills.It’s important you know that emergency contraception also has some side effects.

Common side-effects can include:
However these are normally tolerated with course completing within a few days reflecting minor toxicity

Who Can Use Emergency Contraception?

Nothing should stop anyone from receiving help during emergencies.What’s great about EC is it can be used by most people who are sexually active if needed. However there exist certain scenarios such as already being pregnant where usage becomes null & void.

What About Age Restrictions?

Almost every region governing authority worldwide including India allows minors access to at least one form of EC though varying between regions.This includes teenagers who don’t want parental consent ,older women,transgender persons,single/dating married individuals etcetera.You dont have wait till 18-no excuse like “adult concept only” will work here.


Emergency contraception might not always feel like the easiest topic to talk about but understanding how different options works may come handy especially during unexpected happenings.No two ECPs are alike meaning making informed decisions does matter.Most importantly,it provides temporary solution until safer forms of preventive methods havent been accessed offering peace-of-mind when required ensuring responsible lifestyle- because sex isn’t just reproduction – It’s fun too!

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