Can The Morning After Pill Delay Your Period?
The morning after pill is taken within 24 hours of having unprotected sex. It is a medication that affects your hormones, but does that mean it affects your period?
In this article, we’ll provide insights into how the morning after pill works, whether it can affect your period, how long it can affect it for, and its potential side effects.
How Does The Morning After Pill Work?
The morning after pill – also known as the emergency pill – is a form of emergency contraception. It is a single pill which is taken after unprotected sex. The sooner the morning after pill is taken, the more chance you have of avoiding pregnancy.
There are two types of morning after pill. Levonelle contains the active ingredient levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic form of the natural progesterone hormone produced by your ovaries. Levonelle stops your ovaries from releasing an egg and thickens the mucus around your cervix, creating a barrier that obstructs sperm.
EllaOne contains the active ingredient ulipristal acetate, which is a progesterone receptor modulator that prevents progesterone from working normally and stops or delays an egg from being released.
Can The Morning After Pill Delay Your Period?
The morning after pill can delay your period, but it could also make it come earlier. The pill can also affect your period in other ways – making it lighter or heavier than usual. On the other hand, you may experience no irregularities in your menstrual cycle. How it affects your period can depend on where you are in your menstrual cycle when the morning after pill is taken.
If your period is late after taking the morning after pill, it will usually only be a slight delay of a few days. However, it might cause you to have an irregular period the month after taking it.
The morning after pill can delay your period because it prevents ovulation (when your ovaries release an egg in preparation for fertilisation by sperm). This temporary delay or prevention of ovulation can result in a delayed period.
Other Side Effects Of The Morning After Pill
Period delay or an early period are two potential side effects of the morning after pill. There are also other potential side effects of this medication relating to your period.
These can include:
- Heavier period than usual – research shows that 31% of women experience heavier periods after taking
- Lighter period than usual
- Longer period than usual
- More painful period than usual
- Less painful period than usual
- Bleeding between periods
- Spotting (irregular bleeding)
As the morning after pill is a medication that can affect the hormones, it can disrupt your natural menstrual cycle. It may take about one month for your body to readjust and side effects to subside.
How Effective Is The Morning After Pill?
The effectiveness of the morning after pill can depend on when you take it. Levonelle can be taken within three days of having unprotected sex.
This type of pill is:
- 95% effective if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex
- 85% effective if taken within 25-48 hours of unprotected sex
- 58% effective if taken within 49-72 hours of unprotected sex
It’s clear from this data that the sooner Levonelle is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it is.
EllaOne can be taken within five days of having unprotected sex. It is up to 98-99% effective.
How Often Can You Take The Morning After Pill?
The morning after pill is a safe form of contraception that you can take multiple times. Taking the morning after pill regularly will not alter its effectiveness or result in any long-term side effects. Use the morning after pill whenever you need it.
Despite the morning after pill’s ability to delay your period, it is not recommended for use as a period delay tablet. This is because taking the morning after pill to delay your period isn’t reliable.
Instead, why not try period delay tablets like norethisterone and Utovlan? They can be useful if you have a holiday planned or are attending an important event, and you don’t want your period to get in the way.
You start taking period delay tablets three days before your period is scheduled to begin. They can stop your period for up to 17 days (it is not recommended you delay your period for longer with period delay tablets without speaking to your doctor). Your period should arrive two to three days after you stop taking period delay tablets.
When to Take The Morning After Pill
As explained above, the sooner you take the morning after pill, the more effective it will be. Remember that you don’t need to wait until the next morning to take the pill.
If you are taking Levonelle, you need to take the morning after pill within three days of having unprotected sex. If you are taking ellaOne, you need to take the pill within five days of having unprotected sex.
Waiting too long to take the morning after pill can significantly reduce its effectiveness. If you have missed a period, this is one of the main signs that the pill hasn’t worked. If your period is more than seven days later than expected, you should take a pregnancy test.
How Do I Get The Morning After Pill?
At Cloud Pharmacy, we offer a range of emergency contraceptive pills, including ellaOne and Levonelle. It’s quick and convenient to order the morning after pill through our website. You’ll just need to complete a short online questionnaire which will then be approved by one of the pharmacists. Once approved, the medication will be sent in a discreet package with next-day delivery.