The Morning After Pill – Don't Leave It To Chance

The Morning After Pill - Don't Leave It To Chan
Everybody makes mistakes and unprotected sex can be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Condoms do burst and alcohol can take away all reason. But help is at hand and it can be remarkably easy to find.

So how can you work out if you are in danger of becoming pregnant after an unplanned sexual encounter? Well it’s easy… the egg is released 14 days before the next period is due and lives for about 48 hours. Sperm can live up to five days. So with a normal 28 day menstrual cycle, the dangerous time will be from day 9 to 16 of the cycle (perhaps add a day either side to be sure).

In the UK the usual brand of ‘Morning After Pill’ is called Levonelle One Step. It can be purchased from any pharmacy and costs about £28. The pharmacist has to be involved in the sale but after just a couple of questions, the tablet is yours. The sooner taken, the better, but as long as the tablet is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, then Levonelle is very effective. If taken within 24 hours it is 95% effective, 25-48 hours – 85% effective, 49-72 hours – 58% effective.

Levonelle contains a hormone called levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic version of progesterone that occurs naturally in women. It works by;

• Preventing a fertilised egg implanting in the womb

• Stopping an egg being released from the ovaries

• Preventing an egg from being fertilised

A few people do suffer side effects including nausea and vomiting. If vomiting occurs with two hours of taking the tablet then another one must be taken immediately.

Levonelle is also available free of charge from most pharmacies under a special NHS scheme. This will involve a somewhat longer discussion with the pharmacist in private. Several searching questions will be asked, such as;

• When did you last have unprotected sex?

• What was the date of your last period?

• What is your normal means of contraception?

• What other medication do you take?

• Do you have any long-term medical conditions?

• Have you had a chlamydia test?

I suppose the pharmacist needs to ensure that Levonelle is not being used on a regular basis as a means of contraception and that you are not being promiscuous and passing on STD’s. Fair enough, and considering there will be no charge, then answering a few awkward questions is surely worthwhile.

There is no longer any embarrassment in going to the pharmacy. They all have private consultation rooms and most pharmacists are very professional in their manner. So even if you prefer to pay for the tablet, then surely £28 could prove a wise and reassuring investment.

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