There are a great many questions when it comes to forms of contraceptives. But one thing that needs to be made quite clear is that they are not all the same! Some, such as Plan B, work very differently than other over-the-counter contraceptives. It is important to understand the differences, and the timing and effectiveness of this drug in order to make wise, informed decisions.
The more you know, the more control you have over what happens with your body!
What is Plan B & how does it work?
Plan B (also known as the Morning After Pill, My Way, Next Choice) is a form of emergency contraception available over the counter at pharmacies with proof of age over 15. Plan B is a drug called levonorgestrel, and is intended to be taken by mouth in either one or two doses. It works by thickening the mucus from the cervix to prevent the sperm from traveling further up the cervix, it inhibits ovulation, and it also changes the endometrium or lining of the uterus.
Plan B’s major limitation
Plan B is intended to be taken as soon as possible after intercourse has occurred; however, it may be taken up to as many as 5 days post-intercourse. It is important to note that Plan B will NOT be effective if implantation has already taken place. If you are already pregnant, Plan B does not work.
Some serious side effects
Plan B is classified as a “hazardous drug,” requiring proper handling and disposal. This means that the drug can produce significant side effects, especially if the woman has taken more than one or two doses. The most common side effects are fatigue, disruption of normal menstrual flow, nausea, and abdominal pain. Less common side effects include dizziness, loss of periods, vaginal hemorrhage, and breast tenderness. Plan B also negatively interacts with many medicines taken for other health conditions, such as antidiabetics, warfarin, medications for HIV, as well as popular supplements such as herbs and St. John’s wort. If used over a long period of time, Plan B can significantly disrupt the menstrual cycle and hormones that control that cycle. It is highly critical to note that Plan B does not decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Make sure you fully understand any medication that you put into your body. Plan B may seem like a good alternative at the time, but it’s limitations, possible side effects and the exact way that it works in your body may cause you to rethink that decision. Knowing that not all types contraception are the same is an important first step.
If you want more information about the Morning After Pill, start here at our website. You will find a list of questions that you should consider when making the decision. It is easy to schedule an appointment with us to discuss what options you have, as well as the facts you need about those options. And best of all, the appointment is totally free and can be scheduled online in complete privacy!
The above post was written in part by Elise Loughman, who is a current medical student. Excerpts and information for this article were taken from UpToDate, a source of evidence-based medicine.