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Emergency Contraception


Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Contraception

Posted Saturday 15 December 2018 17:06 by Tim Deakin in Emergency Contraception

emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is an effective means of preventing pregnancy following unprotected sex, or sex during which the method of contraception has failed – e.g. a split condom or a missed contraceptive pill.

There are two kinds of emergency contraception: the morning after pill and the intrauterine device (IUD). Emergency contraception is not designed as a primary source of contraception, but rather something to be taken when other methods are not available or fail.

Read on to find everything you need to know about the morning after pill, including where you can get it safely and swiftly.

The fast facts you need to know about emergency contraception

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding emergency contraception, so here are some of the key facts to help clear things up for you.

  • Emergency contraception cannot be used to terminate a pregnancy. The morning after pill and the abortion pill are two completely different kinds of medication and should never be used interchangeably.
  • Emergency contraception has no impact on your ability to conceive in the future. There is no evidence to suggest that even multiple uses of the morning after pill will make you less likely to get pregnant in the future.
  • The morning after pill has up to a 95% effectiveness rating for preventing pregnancy. Less than one percent of women who use the IUD get pregnant.[1]
  • Emergency contraception can be taken up to 5 days after sex and still be effective, depending on the contraception you choose.

Your choice of contraception

Another misconception regarding emergency contraception is that it only comes in one form. In reality, there are several options available. As we mentioned above, the two main kinds of emergency contraception are the morning after pill and the IUD. There are also different kinds of morning after pill to choose from too.

ellaOne emergency contraception

These are Levonelle and ellaOne. Levonelle can be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, though it is most effective in the first 12 hours. It works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg and preventing sperm from fertilising any egg that may have been released.

Similarly, ellaOne can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. A dose consists of one tablet which works to inhibit or delay ovulation, helping to prevent pregnancy.

The IUD is a more long-term commitment to emergency contraception. It involves the insertion of a coil directly into the womb which then releases copper to stop the egg implanting in your womb or being fertilised.

The morning after pill: your questions answered

Who can use the morning after pill?

Most women can take the morning after pill safely, including women who can’t use hormonal contraception and breastfeeding mothers. It’s always best to check with your GP if you are currently taking any other prescription medication. You should also avoid the medication if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

Can you use it alongside normal contraception?

You can use emergency contraception if you forget to take a dose of your regular contraceptive pill. If you have taken Levonelle, you should continue your normal course of contraception within 12 hours. After taking ellaOne, you should wait 5 days before taking your next contraceptive pill.[2]

What are the side effects of the emergency pill?

There are no serious side effects to taking the morning after pill. However, it can cause mild, short-term side effects such as headaches, tummy pains, nausea and changes to the timing of your next period.


6 Myths About Emergency Contraception Made Clear

Posted Tuesday 27 February 2018 10:21 by Tim Deakin in Emergency Contraception

There is a lot of information out there about emergency contraception. But how do you know what to believe?

Emergency contraception is an effective method of ensuring that sexual intercourse doesn’t result in pregnancy, especially following unprotected sex. Even if other contraceptive methods are used, using the morning after pill can help provide extra protection for any margin of error.

However, many people get confused about the prospect of using emergency contraception, and there is a lot of misinformation fuelling the fire. When should you use it? What are your options? Is it safe? Let’s myth-bust some common misconceptions about emergency contraception.

“There is only one option when it comes emergency contraception”

Actually, there are several emergency contraception options out there which can help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. There are two main forms of emergency contraception: the emergency IUD (otherwise known as the emergency coil) and the morning after pill. Whilst the morning after pill is the more commonly used of the two, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional about which option is best for your specific circumstances.

There are also options within these options too. Both Levonelle and ellaOne are popular and effective emergency contraception tablets.

“Emergency contraception can terminate a pregnancy”

The morning after pill and the abortion pill are two completely different kinds of medication and should never be used interchangeably. If you are already confirmed to be pregnant, emergency contraception like the morning after pill will make no difference to the development of your pregnancy. It should only be used to prevent pregnancy.

“Emergency contraception affects your future fertility”

There is no evidence to suggest that even multiple uses of the morning after pill can affect your fertility in the long term. It will not reduce your future chances of falling pregnant. Even if you have unprotected sex again several days after taking the contraception there is no evidence that your chances of falling pregnant will be any lower.

“You will experience a lot of unpleasant side effects”

Like many medications, emergency contraception carries with it the risk of experiencing side effects. However, like many medications, most people will be able to use the treatment without experiencing any negative symptoms at all. If you do experience side effects, they will most likely be mild and temporary.

Possible side effects of the morning after pill include headaches, nausea, stomach pain and irregular menstrual flow.

“It only works if you take it straight after sexual intercourse”

Modern emergency contraceptive treatments like Levonelle and ellaOne have an extended period of effectiveness, meaning you can take them up to 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex and still reduce your chances of falling pregnant.

However, it is true that the sooner you take emergency contraception, the more effective it is. EllaOne has been shown to be around 98% effective if taken within twelve hours of sexual intercourse, but can be taken anytime up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.

Similarly, Levonelle is 95% effective if taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex, 85% if taken between 12 and 24 hours after sex, 75% effective if taken between 24 and 48 hours after sex and 58% effective if taken between 48 and 72 hours after sex.

“Emergency contraception is difficult to get”

Research suggests that only 7% of women are aware of just how simple it is to acquire emergency contraception. It can be obtained directly from your local pharmacy, from a sexual health clinic, your GP or a walk-in centre. You can even obtain it without leaving the house by ordering from trusted online pharmacies like Express Pharmacy.

For treatment and advice on emergency contraception and other healthcare queries, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

Related Products: Levonelle ellaOne

January 15th Is Blue Monday, a Time When Mental Health Concerns Can Hit Hardest

Posted Friday 12 January 2018 13:35 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

Depression is a widespread condition throughout the UK which can affect you both emotionally and physically

This year in the UK, January 15th has acquired the title of ‘Blue Monday’, a title generally awarded to the third Monday in January.

Blue Monday refers to the day of the year when we are supposed to feel at our most down. Several factors are said to contribute to this conclusion, including the cold, dark weather, low finances following Christmas, general post-Christmas blues, failing New Year’s resolutions and generally low motivation.

So at this glum time of year, it’s important to reflect on the impact that conditions such as depression can have on our wellbeing — both physical and emotional. Understanding the condition can help you identify potential symptoms and seek the help and support you need.

What is depression?

Although we’re all set to feel a bit down on Blue Monday, depression is much more than simply feeling unhappy for a few days. The condition involves feeling persistently sad, negative and fatigued for weeks or months at a time.

Depression is a real health concern with real symptoms. It affects around 10% of people at some point in their lives, and research has even shown that around 4% of children in the UK aged 5 to 16 present symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, therapies and medications such as anti-depressants. These lifestyle changes can involve incorporating factors like exercise or self-care measures into your daily routine. The level of treatment prescribed is generally based on whether the depression is deemed mild, moderate or severe.

Depression can lead to a variety of symptoms, including persistently feeling low, experiencing stress or anxiety, or even feeling suicidal. The impact of depression on your mental health can also have an effect on your body.

Despite being a mental health condition, depression can lead to physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of depression most commonly involve feeling constantly tired, paired with poor sleep health. This can lead to sufferers taking refuge in unhealthy ‘comfort’ foods or poor health habits like smoking, and this lack of energy and physical activity can also lead to weight gain. However, for some people, depression can create a loss of appetite.

What’s more, depression has also been found to lead to aches and pains (often as a result of poor diet and exercise due to low energy) and a lack of a sex drive. In men, depression can lead to sexual health concerns such as erectile dysfunction.

The physical impact of depression can create a vicious cycle

When an individual suffers from depression and starts to experience physical symptoms as a result of the condition, it can create a vicious cycle by adding more fuel to the fire of their negative thoughts and feelings. Putting on weight or falling back on habits like smoking can reduce motivation even further and make those experiencing depression think that their feelings will only get worse rather than better.

Similarly, sexual health symptoms of depression can create increased stress and anxiety around the act of sexual intercourse, increasing the likelihood that conditions like erectile dysfunction will persist or even worsen.

If you think you might be experiencing depression, it’s hugely important to seek help and support in order to get to the root of the problem. Tackling any physical symptoms can also help to reduce the intensity of negative feelings. Effective medication for conditions like erectile dysfunction, excess weight and smoking are all available from Express Pharmacy.

Express Pharmacy can provide discreet advice and medication for a variety of health concerns. If you’re living with a condition we can help you with, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Call Express Pharmacy on 0208 123 07 03 or use our online Live Chat service.


Busting the Myths Surrounding Emergency Contraception

Posted Tuesday 29 November 2016 13:53 by Tim Deakin in Emergency Contraception

emergency contraceptionThe issue with contraception and sex is that often they’re either not discussed or discussed in private, a reality that can make the facts surrounding both particularly blurry. As a result, you may not be armed with the information you need to keep safe. Emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill is not new to the market and yet there are a number of misconceptions and myths that can be problematic for women who need the correct information in order to help them make important decisions relating to birth control.

Levonelle and ellaOne are both forms of emergency contraception that can be taken retrospectively to prevent pregnancy. Levonelle must be taken within three days of unprotected sex and ellaOne within five days. While both prevent or delay the release of an egg, ellaOne is considered to be more effective than Levonelle.

Now, let us look in more detail at what emergency contraception does and does not offer women.

The morning after pill does not protect you from STIs

Contrary to popular belief, like many forms of hormonal contraception, the morning after pill doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As a form of oral contraception, it works by releasing chemicals into the body, which affect the body’s natural response to fertilisation. As such, it cannot form a physical barrier that may also safeguard against sexually transmitted diseases or pelvic infections – as found with condoms and some forms of IUD (intrauterine device).

It does not cause abortion

While medication can be used to bring on abortion, emergency contraception works in a different way. Emergency contraception works by stopping the release of an egg and may also stop sperm from fertilising an egg that has already been released into the fallopian tubes. Levonelle contains levonorgestrel and ellaOne contains ulipristal acetate – which disrupts the natural hormone progesterone within a woman’s body. Progesterone is integral to the ovulation process and as a result, ovulation is prevented or delayed. For eggs that have already been fertilised and have implanted in the uterus, most forms of emergency contraception will have no effect.

Emergency contraception does not become less effective with more use

It is hard to pinpoint the exact number of pregnancies that have been prevented due to the use of Levonelle or ellaOne. However, research conducted in 2010 revealed that of the 1,696 women who received emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) within three days of unprotected sex, just 37 became pregnant. The same study showed that of the 203 women who took the morning after pill within three to five days of sex, three became pregnant. The rule of thumb is that the sooner you take EHCs after unprotected sex, the more effective they are likely to be.

Whilst neither Levonelle or ellaOne should be used as a method of regular contraception, both can be used more than once during any one menstrual cycle if necessary without diminishing effectiveness. It is important to note, that both EHCs do not offer continued protection and only prevent pregnancy after one act of unprotected sex. With Levonelle, your regular method of hormonal contraception will remain effective, however if you were to have sex after taking ellaOne you should use condoms as your normal contraception may not work as effectively as it should do.

It does not become less effective with alcohol

Alcohol or drug use does not make Levonelle or ellaOne any less effective. However, it is important to note that one of the primary side effect of excess alcohol consumption – vomiting – can impact on the effectiveness of oral contraceptives such as EHCs. If you vomit within two hours of taking emergency contraceptive Levonelle or within three hours with ellaOne, it is recommended that you seek medical advice where you will be either given another dose of your preferred EHC or fitted with an IUD.

Make sure you keep safe

In addition to offering trusted advice, Express Pharmacy can help you order the morning after pill discreetly. Simply select your treatment, complete our medical questionnaire and checkout to access a range of fast delivery options.


Periods – There’s an App for That

Posted Monday 31 October 2016 15:16 by Tim Deakin in Period Delay Treatment

period delay treatmentAs smartphones become ever more integrated into our daily lives, many women are forgoing the traditional diary method for tracking their menstrual cycle and choosing to use a smartphone app instead. Check out our rundown of the best period tracker apps available for iPhone and Android, as well as some tips and advice.

What options are available?

Clue – free on Android and iOS

Clue is one of the most popular period apps available, and not without good reason. The journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology even rated the app as the best free menstrual tracking app, a brilliant accolade. This app is particularly popular with women who are tired of menstrual products being pink, covered in flowers and butterflies and described in euphemistic language like “Aunt Flo” and “time of the month”.

Clue offers a no-nonsense approach to menstrual tracking, using a scientific approach to analyse the patterns in your cycle and track mood changes, cramps, skin problems, sleep and more.

Glow – free on Android and iOS

Glow works primarily as an ovulation calculator and self-proclaimed “fertility companion”, designed to help women both avoiding and attempting to get pregnant. To do this, users of the app input when they are menstruating and the calculator becomes smarter and more accurate over time. The app also looks to track women’s overall health as it can be synced with other health apps such as MyFitnessPal and Misfit, as well as the Apple Health app.

Uniquely amongst the apps on this list, Glow also offers support for patients undergoing IVF, and also offers community and partner support which many other similar apps lack.

myPill – free on Android and iOS

myPill is used primarily by women taking oral contraceptive pills. Whether you take a daily contraceptive such as the progesterone-only pills Cerelle, Cerazette and Feanolla, or if you take three weeks of pills followed by a week’s break, myPill will help to ensure that you don’t forget.

Hormonal contraception can have unexpected effects on your menstrual cycle and can make predicting your periods much trickier, so apps like myPill which also offer period tracking capabilities will help you get used to your new cycle. Like the other apps, myPill allows you to track other symptoms such as acne and cramps, so you can ascertain which changes are a side-effect of your medication and which are part of your cycle.

One popular feature of myPill is its customisable alerts which remind you to take your pill. If you use your phone in public, you may not want everyone around you seeing your phone screen flash “take pill”, so you can set the reminder to display “feed the dog” or “cook dinner”, or something equally innocuous. The app also displays as m.P. on your home screen, helping to keep the app discreet.

Period Tracker Lite – free on Android and iOS

Period Tracker Lite is one of the simpler apps on this list. More feminine and flowery than Clue, Period Tracker Lite has many of the same functions as the above apps. Like myPill, the app displays simply as “P. Tracker” for discretion. This is a popular choice for those looking to use their phone as their primary health tracker, as users can try out the free features in Period Tracker Lite before upgrading to a more robust, paid option.

Tips and advice

Even though there are so many options available, menstrual trackers are not perfect. They often rely on the user remembering to input data, and so can be an imprecise science. Doctors advise strongly against using these apps for family planning – although many of them can predict when you are ovulating, there is no way of testing the accuracy without an ovulation test (and even then, this is not a reliable method of birth control).

If you require emergency contraception or medication for delaying your period or preventing period pain, look no further than Express Pharmacy. We can offer a safe, reliable solution to many of the problems related to your menstrual cycle, all from the comfort of your own home.