Is it Safe to Take the Morning-After Pill Frequently?
The morning-after pill is a safe form of emergency contraception women can take after having unprotected sex to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. (Various brands are available but some of the commonly known ones are Ella and Plan B.) The morning-after pill is so safe, in fact, it has been used by women for more than 30 years without serious side effects.
Medical professionals along with Planned Parenthood suggest the morning-after pill is safe for women to take as many times as they need to. This emergency contraceptive won't have negative effects on health or fertility, even if it's taken frequently, according to experts.
Despite this, experts advise against using the morning-after pill as a replacement for birth control.
Side effects of the pill
Believe it or not, the morning-after pill actually has fewer side effects than hormonal birth control and, if side effects arise, they typically last for only a few days. This is because the hormones the morning-after pill releases in your body stay there for a relatively short period of time.
While side effects are uncommon with the morning-after pill, they can occur, and include nausea or vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, headache, breast tenderness, bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding and lower abdominal pain or cramps. If you do vomit after taking the pill, contact a doctor about possibly repeating the dose.
If you experience any of these side effects for more than a few days after taking the morning-after pill, you should consult your doctor.
How effective is the morning-after pill?
The morning-after pill reduces the risk of pregnancy by 75 to 89 percent if taken within three to five days of having unprotected sex, according to Planned Parenthood. It's important to note emergency contraception is most effective when it's taken within three days of having unprotected sex.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that taking the morning-after pill more than once a month is safe, but advises against using it as a regular contraceptive method: It may not be as effective as hormonal birth control, and for some may be too expensive to use regularly at $20 to $50 per pill. Taking it regularly could also cause irregular or unpredictable periods, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It's important to keep in mind that while the morning-after pill is considered a safe and effective form of emergency contraception, there are some factors that could reduce its effectiveness. For example, the pill works less effectively in women who are 165 pounds or heavier and does not work at all in women 175 pounds or heavier.
If you find yourself in need of emergency contraception, the morning-after pill can be purchased without a prescription at most drugstores and pharmacies. Additionally, Nurx, the online healthcare provider, supplies the morning-after pill through their website.
Bottom line: You can turn to the morning-after pill as many times as you need to. And though it may come to your rescue with a high price tag, it won't cause any serious side effects.