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Emergency Contraceptive Pill - Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes you need an emergency method of birth control if you have intercourse without birth control, if a condom breaks during intercourse, or if you are raped.
Q. What is in ECP?
A. Emergency Contraceptive Pills contain synthetic hormones similar to already existing hormones in the woman's body. There are different variations of the ECP available.
Q. How does it work?
A. ECP temporarily disrupts ovarian hormone production. It may prevent ovulation or implantation of the egg.
Q. How is it taken?
A. Your health care provider will instruct you on how to take your ECP. Generally, there are one or two pills to be taken 12 hours apart, depending on your specific prescription. Sometimes a woman will take Gravol along with the ECP to avoid nausea, which is a potential side effect.
Q. How effective is ECP?
A. In a cross-Canada study, ECP was found to be between 75% and 98% .
Q. Under what circumstances might a woman want to take ECP?
A. If birth control fails (such as condom breakage), if no birth control method was used, or if she was forced to have intercourse, she can consider using ECP. It is not effective if there is another act of unprotected intercourse earlier or later in the cycle. It is helpful for a woman to know the date of her last menstrual period so she can calculate how close to ovulation she had unprotected intercourse.
Q. When should a woman expect her period?
A. You should get your next period at the expected time or 21 days after taking ECP.
Q. Where can a woman get ECP?
A. The Grey Bruce Health Unit has several sexual health clinics where the ECP is available. ECP is available at the majority of pharmacies in Grey-Bruce over the counter (no prescription required). All emergency departments at hospitals and some walk in clinics offer ECP as well.
Q. How often can a woman take ECP?
A. ECP can be safely taken several times in one cycle, although it's intended for emergency use. If a woman is coming back again and again for emergency treatment, it would be worthwhile to find out what the barriers are to regular contraceptive use.
If you would like to use the emergency contraceptive pill, call us at the
Sexual Health Clinic Locations In Grey Bruce.
We work with the Grey Bruce community to protect and promote health