Couples in need of emergency contraception often choose Plan B to deal with the requirement effectively. Plan B refers to contraceptives that contain higher doses of Levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin. One of the commonly or frequently asked questions is can Plan B make your period late or cause bleeding? Following subsections offer a detailed look at the contraceptive and give a clear answer to the question, along with necessary contextual information. This will help couples and women take the right decision about use of Plan B and avoid any possible after effects that may be stronger in intensity or longer in duration.

What is plan B?

As outlined above, Plan is an emergency contraceptive containing Levonorgestrel a synthetic progestogen. This is similar to Progesterone, and has been in use since approval four decades ago. It gained popularity due to the document high levels of efficacy and better profile when compared with contraceptives of the period. Couples who have indulged in unprotected sex are also known to use the emergency contraceptive to prevent unplanned pregnancies.  The synthetic hormone works by preventing ovulation, thereby preventing pregnancies. However, myths continue to circulate, claiming that the contraceptive triggers abortion; this is entirely untrue.

Possibility of bleeding after Plan B

Contrary to perceptions, all women who take Plan B emergency contraceptives do not experience bleeding. Though it is known to occur in a small percentage of women, it is an uncommon effect and not experienced by all. Studies conducted in the past to determine the number of women affected by Plan B have shown that bleeding between periods was reported in less than 15 percent of users. Heavier bleeding occurs in more women, with the drug regulator reporting heavy bleeding in almost one third of users. It is necessary to note the difference between the two – bleeding between periods and heavy bleeding during periods. Additionally, it is also necessary to note that women who experience heavy bleeding during periods, do not experience bleeding between periods.

The synthetic hormone does have an impact on menstruation cycle, causing irregular menstruation. This is attributed to the role or property of progestin that is known to cause disruption in menstruation. Users on the contraceptive may have to put with the effects for four weeks or more, before the cycle returns to normal.

How does Plan B work? 

The mechanism of action of Plan B is primarily the suppression of gonadotropins, and this is in turn prevents ovulation. Levonorgestrel is known to bind to receptors, and this binding action prevents or reduces the speed of release with which hormones are released from the hypothalamus. As a consequence of this action, certain routine physiological processes are inhibited. These processes are necessary for ovulation, and by suppressing this, ovulation is prevented. It prevents the release of egg from the ovaries, by ensuring that the follicles are not split open, which is necessary for the release of the eggs.  The efficacy of Plan B, commonly known as the morning after pill, is known to be highest when it is taken before ovulation.

When to take Plan B?

Each pill contains 0.75 milligrams dosage, and can be taken in two doses. The first can be taken immediately after sex, and a second dose twelve hours after the first. There are suggestions that advocate use of both pills at the same time in a single dose, instead of a double dose. Both methods are known to be effective, with the first method being the normal routine.

Though the pill is known to be effective for almost five days after having unprotected sex, effectiveness is highest when it is taken earlier. The recommended schedule of Plan B is intake within three days of unprotected sex.

Myths surrounding Plan B

As outlined above, various myths and misconceptions surround the morning after pill. The first myth claims that women who take Plan B may end up with miscarriage or abortion. Another myth is that Plan B may have a negative impact on future conception. It is categorically stated through studies that the pill does not cause abortion, and does not have any adverse impact on fertility in the future. Studies have also indicated that birth control pills with the synthetic hormone have not been known to expose the fetus to risks of abnormalities. It is necessary to add here that studies on the efficacy and the effects of the birth control pill all belong to earlier periods, and presently no new studies have been conducted.

The findings of these studies also indicate different rates of effectiveness. For instance, the efficacy of the pill is pegged between 52 to 100 percent. However, this has to be seen in the context of when the pill was taken. In other words, as mentioned above, the effectiveness increases when it is taken as early as possible, and the results of studies also refer to varying intake schedules.

What are the side effects of Plan B

With answers to the question can Plan B make your period late or cause bleeding? behind us, it is time to look at the undesirable effects of Plan B. The unwanted outcomes are actually similar or common to that of effects experienced from other birth control pills. For instance, commonly reported effects may include feelings of nausea, while some are likely to experience pain in the lower abdomen. Other effects that may be experienced include overall fatigue, while the possibility of dizzy feelings also exists. Women may also experience headaches as a result of the pill, though this is not common or frequently reported.

It is important to make a distinction between the effects of emergency contraceptive pills and birth control pills that are to be taken on a long term basis. When compared with the urgency of the situation, and the absence of other methods to prevent pregnancies, Plan B is a good option. However, it is always a safe option to seek consent from a doctor, if possible. The pill is an OTC product, which does not require a prescription, but medical advice could help in certain instances.

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