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How Effective Is ellaOne at Preventing Pregnancy?

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It can be hard to find the best contraceptive for you, but if you’re curious about ellaOne, you’re in the right place.

EllaOne is a morning after pill designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It is considered to be the most effective morning after pill in Europe - but just how effective is it at preventing pregnancy?

How effective is ellaOne?

EllaOne’s mechanism of action is actually very simple. It works by delaying ovulation if it has not already happened. This means that the sperm waiting in your fallopian tubes will not be able to meet an egg which they can fertilise. Eventually, they’ll die out.

Like all contraceptive pills, ellaOne is not guaranteed to be 100% effective -- especially if you have already ovulated. For the highest chance of success, take ellaOne as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you decide to have sex after you’ve taken this after-morning pill, we strongly recommend that you use condoms and other methods of contraception until your next period.

Has anyone got pregnant after taking ellaOne?

Yes, but the percentage of women who got pregnant after taking ellaOne is very small. According to this article from the BBC, approximately 0.6 to 2.6 per cent of women who take the after-morning pill after unprotected sex still get pregnant.

You have to remember that after-morning pills don’t work if you have already ovulated once you have had unprotected sex. So, knowing when you ovulate is key to maximizing the effects of ellaOne. Usually, ovulation happens about two weeks before your period.

What happens after taking ellaOne?

Like all types of treatments, ellaOne also has its own side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling sick
  • Headache
  • Painful period
  • Abdominal pain

Most of these are pretty mild and will go away on their own. One thing you need to keep in mind is that these symptoms are also signs of pregnancy. Most women who take ellaOne don’t suffer any of these side effects. If you experienced one of these coupled by a lighter, heavier, or missed period, take a pregnancy test.

It’s possible to experience a delay in your period for more than a week after taking ellaOne. You can take a pregnancy test for your peace of mind.

How long does ellaOne stay effective?

EllaOne can be effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex. It’s more effective the sooner you take it. Use a barrier method of contraception if you are planning to have sex again after taking ellaOne to lower your risks of unwanted pregnancy.

How ellaOne compares against other forms of contraception

EllaOne is best used together with other methods of contraception. But for comparison’s sake, we’ll take a look at how this after-morning pill stacks against other contraceptive methods in terms of effectiveness (information taken from NHS UK).

Form Of Contraception Perfect Use* Typical Use**
Male condoms 98% effective 82% effective
Female condoms 95% effective 79% effective
Contraceptive pills (combined pill and progestogen-only pill) 99% effective 91% effective
Contraceptive injection (lasts between 8 to 13 weeks) More than 99% effective 94% effective
Contraceptive patch More than 99% effective 91% effective
Diaphragms and caps 92% to 96% effective 71-88% effective
Contraceptive implant More than 99% effective No user failure
Intrauterine system (IUS) More than 99% effective No user failure
Intrauterine device (IUD) More than 99% effective No user failure
Vaginal ring More than 99% effective 91% effective
Emergency contraception (e.g. ellaOne) 98% effective May result in pregnancy if taken after ovulation.

*Perfect use - contraceptive method is always used correctly
**Typical use - contraceptive method is not always used correctly (e.g. missed pill, leakage, etc.)

Where can I get ellaOne?

You can buy ellaOne online from Express Pharmacy.