These are all Emergency Contraceptive pills taken after unprotected sexual intercourse to avoid unintended pregnancy. *It is designed for EMERGENCY cases only*.
Some contain 2 pills and others have just one. If it has two pills then it means the first one must be taken as soon as the unprotected sex happens and the next pill taken 12 hours later but must be done within 72 hours.
Those that have just a pill is taken soon after the unprotected sex and must be taken within 72 hours.
*WHAT DOES IT DO?*
Emergency Contraceptive pills when taken as prescribed can perform the following functions:
1. Prevent *OVULATION* from taking place. This means that the drug wouldn’t allow the egg(s) to come out of the ovary to be fertilized by the sperm.
2. Prevents *FERTILIZATION* from taking place in the fallopian tube. This means that the drug will prevent the sperm and the egg from meeting or uniting or fusing.
3. Prevents *IMPLANTATION* from taking place. This means that even if there is fertilization already, the drug will not allow it to get attached to the wall of the uterus or womb. Pregnancy is established when there is implantation and not before which means that *ECP is NOT an abortion pill*.
WHO CAN USE IT?
1. If you were sexually abused without any protection.
2. If you were using a contraceptive and did not use it well or something goes wrong. E.g. the condom breaks, forgot to take your contraceptive pills, didn’t calculate the safe or calander method well etc
3. If you engaged in unprotected sex by mistake.
The ECP is very effective in preventing unintended pregnancy *but it’s NOT meant for REGULAR USE*. _If it’s used more than twice in a year, it constitutes an ABUSE_.
Unfortunately a lot of people I have come in contact with via counselling have revealed how they take ECP on a daily basis and some 4 times in a week or month. Meanwhile most of these people say they are afraid of the regular family planning or birth control methods but unfortunately again they have no clue the hormones used for the ECP is same as all the other family planning hormonal methods.
The ECP is very powerful with high level of artificial hormones. *It has 750 micrograms*. Compared to the Depo provera which is an injection given to prevent pregnancy for 3 months which has only 150 micrograms. This should let you know how powerful the ECP is and how dangerous it can be if abused.
EFFECT OF ECP
1. The pill can cause changes in the menstrual cycle in the lady.
2. Your next period could start earlier or later than expected and flow can be lighter or heavier than normal.
3. *It can lead to infertility for regular users*.
4. It can cause nauseating feeling which occurs in approximately 25% of users vomiting.
5. It can also bring about bleeding disturbances in some cases, 2-3 days following tablet ingestion.
6. Sometimes it can cause breast tenderness, headache, dizziness, fatigue. In the majority of cases the next period starts as expected or somewhat earlier, if the period is more than 7 days late it is recommended to perform a pregnancy test. In case of prolonged or heavy bleeding, gynaecological examinations is advised.
7. *Hormonal imbalances*
8. If the user has a reported case of asthma, heart failure, hypertension, migraine, epilepsy, renal impairment, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, depression, and / or stroke, the preparation may be used exclusively in the above mentioned emergency cases. It is not appropriate for regular use.
9. Resistance. Your body can develop resistance to the drug. This means that it will get to a time you take it and it wouldn’t work anymore.
NB: _There is no need to keep having sex and abusing the ECP. Just get on any of the regular Family Planning methods such as the oral contraceptive pills, 1 or 2 months injectable, 3 or 5 years implants or the 12 years IUD