Emer­gency op­tions

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Feature -

You have a choice when it comes to emer­gency con­tra­cep­tion — you can opt for the morn­ing-af­ter pill or the emer­gency IUD — also known as ‘the emer­gency coil’ or the cop­per coil, which can cost up to €300.

You no longer have to see a doc­tor or get a pre­scrip­tion — if you need emer­gency con­tra­cep­tion you can get it at your lo­cal chemist fol­low­ing a quick con­sul­ta­tion with the phar­ma­cist.

The morn­ing-af­ter pill is now also avail­able in phar­ma­cies free of charge to women with a med­i­cal card and with­out a pre­scrip­tion.

You don’t have to take the morn­ing- af­ter- pill the morn­ing af­ter. Al­though it’s ad­vis­able to take oral emer­gency con­tra­cep­tive pills as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter un­pro­tected sex, you do have a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity.

One type, el­laOne, which costs €35 in­clud­ing con­sul­ta­tion, can be taken within five days ( 120 hours) of un­pro­tected sex. The other, levonorgestrel, €25 in­clud­ing con­sul­ta­tion, can be taken within three days ( 72 hours) of un­pro­tected sex. Th­ese pills work by ei­ther pre­vent­ing or de­lay­ing ovu­la­tion.

There­fore, they must be taken as soon as pos­si­ble, as they’re not ef­fec­tive if ovu­la­tion has al­ready taken place.

The emer­gency IUD can be in­serted up to five days af­ter un­pro­tected sex or up to five days af­ter the ear­li­est time you could have ovu­lated.

It is not an abor­tion pill — sci­en­tists have re­peat­edly shown that the morn­ing-af­ter pill does not cause abor­tion.

Side ef­fects: The most com­mon side ef­fects are nau­sea and some spot­ting. Less com­mon are symp­toms such as vom­it­ing, headache, breast sore­ness, dizzi­ness, fa­tigue and cramps. How­ever, most peo­ple tol­er­ate the pills well.

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