If you’ve recently had unprotected sex, a condom has failed, or you forgot to take your normal contraceptive pill and have indulged in sexual intercourse, you may want to consider taking emergency contraception. All forms of emergency contraception are available from the private, walk in STI clinic in London City.

There is one thing however you should be aware of, and that is that although emergency contraception is very effective, it cannot protect you from the risk of acquiring an STD, if you have had unprotected sex with someone carrying an STD infection.

Emergency contraception comes in two forms. There is the “morning-after” pill, and the intrauterine device, or coil, often referred to as an IUD.

The “morning-after” pill

Here in the UK there are two brands of “morning-after” pill. One is called “Levonelle”, and the other is called ellaOne. Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of having had unprotected intercourse in order to prevent a pregnancy from developing, and ellaOne within 120 hours, or 5 days.

There are no exact figures for how effective the pill form of emergency contraception is. However, trials carried out by the World Health Organisation on Levonorgestrel (the drug in Levonelle) returned the following results.

  • When taken within 24 hours it is 95% effective
  • When taken within 25 to 48 hours it is 85% effective
  • When taken within 58% it is only 58% effective

Of the two pill forms of emergency contraception, ellaOne is believed to be marginally more effective. Both brands of the “morning-after” pill are available from the women health services clinic at Broadgate Clinic London Wall

How many “morning-after” pills do you have to take?

The sooner you take emergency contraception by way of Levonelle or ellaOne, the better the chance of it being effective. You normally only have to take a single emergency contraceptive pill once, but if you vomit within 2 hours of swallowing it, you will either need to take another, or have an IUD fitted.

The side-effects of the pill form of emergency contraception

Women who take the pill form of emergency contraception often experience a number of side-effects. This applies to both Levonelle and ellaOne. These side-effects include:

  • Feeling nauseas
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Experiencing abdominal pain
  • Breasts feeling tender

Both pills can also result in periods taking place earlier or later than normal,

IUD (Intrauterine Device, or Coil) form of emergency contraception

Having an IUD fitted by a skilled medical professional is the most effective form of emergency contraception when compared to the two types of “morning-after” pill. An IUD device can be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, and still be effective. Less than 1% of women who use an IUD as an emergency contraceptive go on to become pregnant.

Once fitted, an IUD can be left in place as a permanent form of everyday contraceptive. They are made in a “T” shape, and are fabricated from a combination of copper and plastic. There are various types of IUD, some containing more copper than others. The more copper in the device, the more effective the device is; but having said that; all types are highly effective.

An IUD must only be inserted into the uterus by a trained doctor. This is one of many services available via the walk in women health services clinic at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.

The side effects of the IUD form of emergency contraception

A common side-effect when an IUD is fitted for the first time is mild discomfort that can be a little painful initially. However, this wears off quickly, and if necessary can be treated with standard pain relief medication such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.  

On very rare occasions IUDs can cause infection or damage to the womb. They are sometimes expelled from the womb, but again, this is very rare. If left in place as an ongoing contraceptive they can make periods heavier, last longer and be a little more painful.

All forms of emergency contraception are available from the walk in women health services clinic at Broadgate Clinic London Wall. Our private clinic offers confidential, discrete consultations and treatments from our staff of highly skilled and qualified female medical practitioners.

For more information about emergency contraception, please feel free to drop in at Broadgate Clinic London Wall for a walk in consultation, or call 020 7638 4330.