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The Morning After Pill - Get Your Questions Answered!

By HERWriter
 
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Until I needed it myself, I was completely unaware that so many women close to me had used Emergency Contraception or the “morning after pill”. At the time, it was very reassuring to hear my friends’ experiences, and because so many women on the EmpowHER website ask questions regarding EC, I thought I would share my own experience and try to provide some answers to general concerns women have after taking the pill.

My need for EC was the result of a mistake many couples make when using condoms. (Now YOU definitely won’t!) Instead of pulling out after his orgasm, my partner remained inside me and when his erection shrank, the condom fell off. I immediately knew that despite my aversion to unnatural hormones, I had no choice but to use Emergency Contraception. First rule of thumb: when in doubt, just take the pill! It’s much less expensive than an abortion or a baby.

I headed to Walgreens and was quickly helped by a pharmacist who seemed quite used to seeing disheveled young women asking for the drug. Anyone over the age of 17 is now able to acquire EC without a prescription, thanks to the recent work of dedicated women's health activists. The brand of EC I received was called Next Choice, an option that contains 2 doses of Levonorgestrel (a hormone commonly used in birth control pills), to be taken 12 hours apart. Another common brand is the Plan B One-Step, consisting of only one pill.

Sitting in the parking lot, I carefully read all the directions on the Next Step package and swallowed the pill. I knew I was well within the time constraints of the pill’s effectiveness (3 days or 72 hours), but because the earlier you take the drug the more effective it will be, I still felt hurried. All day I awaited side effects like dizziness, nausea, or headache, but none came. 12 hours after my first dose, I took the 2nd pill – still feeling just fine.

2 days after I took the pills, I began to feel some cramping. Although it was not yet time in my cycle, I experienced a very light, 3-day period.* Because early stages of pregnancy can also cause similar symptoms, just in case I also took a pregnancy test to confirm. Negative!

Add a Comment179 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It has been 2 weeks and 4 days since I had unprotected sex (2 days after my last period day) and took Plan B 17 hours after. A week after plan B I got bleeding for 2 days, but it got progressively heavier during that time which made me think it was an early period until it stopped.
I took a pregnancy test 3 days ago and it came out negative. My period is supposed to come tomorrow, but I have no signs of PMS or anything like that, which only gets me questioning if could be pregnant and the test was wrong. Was it too soon to take a pregnancy test? And was that implantation bleeding?

December 5, 2016 - 6:41pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

The bleeding, which started a week after taking Plan B, was not implantation bleeding, but caused by taking the ECP.

Changes in the menstrual cycle are a reported side effect. Your next period could start on time, but might start earlier or later than expected. Flow could be lighter or heavier than normal.

Regards,
Maryann

December 6, 2016 - 9:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

mine last periods were on 2ndd of November and stopped on 4th of November.. and on 7th of November I had unprotected sex .. but the ejaculation was outside of vagina.. after 24 hours I took levonorgestrel 1.5 mg one step ....
And was feeling abdominal pain,nausea,whitish discharge from vagina ..... all the signs were gone within one week and 10 days after (on 17th November)taking levonorgestrel I got periods for 3 days and was lighter ...... now on 28th November the whitish discharge is started agian .... I'm having a lots of mood swings ... am I pregnant??? Do I need to confirm pregnancy test ?? Today is my original date of period?? But it was happened on 17th will I get period today ??

December 1, 2016 - 8:40pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

The bleeding on November 17 was probably triggered by taking levonorgestrel.

The pill can causes changes in the menstrual cycle. It can cause your next period to start earlier or later than expected.. Flow might be lighter or heavier than normal.

If you do not get a period at all this month, please speak with your gynecologist.

Regards,
Maryann

December 2, 2016 - 9:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had protected sex on 22nd ( it was my first time) and I got my period on the next day , I had i pill within 72 hours and my period stopped and on 27th I started spotting and still spotting till now...what's happening? 8

November 29, 2016 - 3:05am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon!

There was no need to take emergency contraception if you got your period the day after sex. 

What is happening are side effects from taking EC. 

It may take a week or two to get back to normal. Use of a condom is a lot easier and more reliable. 

Pregnancy should not be a concern. 

Best,

Susan

November 29, 2016 - 5:47am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

Condom was used but i was afraid as it was my first time.
Thank you so much for replying, I was really worried

November 29, 2016 - 5:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

The last day I was on my period was on the 17th.
Then, I had unprotected sex two days after, on the 19th.
I took Plan B 17 hours after that.
Six days after (on the 25th), I experienced what looked like spotting, a very light period, but it got progressively heavier throughout the day and is now mainly bright red in color. It also can now fill up my pad. It looks like a regular period. I have yet to see how long this goes for, but for now, do you think there is a possibility of this being implantation bleeding or an early period? I am not expected to get my period until the 6th, after 11 days, which is a very long time. I've never had 2 periods this close together. Is this a side effect of Plan B, an early period, or could I be pregnant? I am also planning on taking a pregnancy test three days before my period is due, so the 3rd. Should I wait longer? Please advice me. I've never been so stressed.

November 26, 2016 - 5:29am
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

This bleeding is caused by taking Plan B.

You are not pregnant. This is not implantation bleeding. There is no need to take a pregnancy test.

Changes in the menstrual cycle are a reported side effect. Your next monthly period might start earlier or later than expected. Flow might be lighter or heavier than normal.

If you have any further concerns about the bleeding, such as it continues beyond one week, please contact your physician.

Regards,
Maryann

November 28, 2016 - 10:13am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi, I had protected sex where the condom broke on the 11th of November. My last normal period started the 25-26 of October, and my cycles are 24.5 days on average. Because of this i assumed I most likely was okay, but was wasn't sure about ovulating so I took plan b two hours after the condom broke. This past week Ive been very very stressed out which delayed my period by two or so days, but yesterday I woke up with normal period flow and cramps. My cramps and bleeding were heavy throughout the day (like normal, maybe a bit more intense) however at around 3pm the cramping pretty much stopped and my period became lighter. I was very confused by this, and the same thing happened today- normal if not slightly lighter period flow throughout the night, normal bleeding throughout the day with heavier than usual cramping, and then it just suddenly tapers off at around 3. Did the plan b not work or something? This is very very very confusing, Ive never heard of something like this happening.
Usually on my period when I use the bathroom, urinating brings my blood into the toilet making the water red with a blood clot or two, but I instead have just been getting a lot of bloody discharge when I wipe. Like blood stained ovulation discharge. Its much heavier overall than what implantation bleeding should be, and since it came at the normal time of my period, I don't think its breakthrough bleeding. Should I be worried?

November 22, 2016 - 6:40pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.