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What Men Should Know About Emergency Contraception?

Featured image showing a couple and different contraceptive devices

Emergency contraception (EC), also known as the "morning-after pill," is a crucial method for people who want to avoid unplanned births following unprotected sexual activity or contraceptive failure. While emergency contraception is typically associated with women, men must also be aware of its importance. In-depth information regarding emergency contraception, its types, applications, and availability is intended to be made available to men in this article. It also discusses how men should support their partner's reproductive health decisions.


According to a survey published in 2016, fewer than fifty percent of young men are aware of emergency contraception, despite the fact that it can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies and effectively prevents birth after intercourse.

Patients were questioned electronically about their understanding of contraceptives as well as whether they had discussed birth control with their spouses or medical professionals. Only 42 percent of people heard about emergency contraception. Although this study was small, it is one of the ones that examines the extent of knowledge of emergency contraception at a time when it was easily accessible at the counters.

Approximately all females who take emergency contraceptives have outstanding safety records. Encourage your spouse to use emergency contraception tablets as a first line of defense if your condom fails. This strategy is especially viable after 2006, when levonorgestrel-only medications became widely available over the counter. However, little is known regarding the understanding, mindset, and conduct of men in relation to emergency contraception, let alone their ability to get to and acquire these medications. So, let us explore every dimension from scratch related to emergency contraception.

Understanding Emergency Contraception

A woman thinking about various contraceptive devices

In order to lower the risk of pregnancy, emergency contraception is a type of birth control used after unprotected sexual activity. As with other birth control methods, emergency contraception prevents pregnancy. The distinction is that you can consume it after doing vaginal-penile sex without protection.

It's crucial to remember that it is not an effective means of regular contraception and does not guard against STIs.

In what situations can a woman need emergency contraception?

  1. Unprotected Sex

  2. Condom breakage or slippage

  3. Missed Birth Control Pills

  4. Late or Missed Depo-Provera Shot

  5. Expelled Intrauterine Device (if she had an IUD for contraception implanted but it had been partially or wholly evacuated without her awareness)

  6. Rape or sexual assault

  7. Failed Coitus Interruptus (Pulling Out)

  8. Failure of Other Contraceptive Methods (birth control pills, patches, vaginal rings, etc.)

  9. Inadequate Protection During the Fertile Period

  10. Partner's Contraceptive Failure

It's crucial to keep in mind that EC shouldn't be used as a primary method of contraception but rather as a fallback. Pregnancy can be prevented more successfully using consistent, dependable contraceptive techniques. A rapid response is essential since EC is most successful when administered as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse. We'll discuss the timing and effectiveness of EC further in this article.

Names of EC Men Should Know

The "morning after" pill, which is a common name for emergency contraception, is mostly a type of pill. Emergency contraception (EC) comes in a variety of forms, each with a unique action mechanism and accessibility.

Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs):

  • Levonorgestrel-Based ECPs (e.g., Plan B One-Step, Take Action): In many nations, these can be purchased without a prescription over-the-counter. They can be used up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex but are most effective when taken within 72 hours (3 days) of the act.

  • Ulipristal Acetate (Ella): This kind of ECP can be used up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex and is available with a prescription in some areas.

Copper Intrauterine Device (Copper IUD)

  • Up to five days following unprotected sexual activity, a healthcare professional can implant a copper IUD like Paragard. It works incredibly well as an emergency method of contraception and can also be used as a long-term method. This kind of emergency contraception is the most effective.

Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills (COCs)

  • An alternate method of emergency contraception is a specific mix of birth control pills that is legal in some nations. This usually entails following a doctor's prescription for a series of common birth control pills in predetermined doses.

In any situation where emergency contraception may be required, it is advisable to speak with a medical professional or chemist to identify the most appropriate and practical choice based on particular facts and regional laws. Furthermore, emergency contraception loses effectiveness over time, so timely usage is essential for effectiveness.

How Does Emergency Contraception Work?

A man consulting a doctor

It is feasible to prevent pregnancy a few days after having sex because pregnancy doesn't occur right away. Timing is everything.

The main mechanism through which emergency contraception functions is to stop or delay ovulation. If ovulation hasn't happened yet, there won't be an egg for fertilization because ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary. It's similar to stopping ovulation in a time of need.

Levonorgestrel pills, which include hormones, can temporarily stop eggs from being released, which can prevent conception.

Emergency contraception may also change the cervical mucus, making it more challenging for sperm to reach an egg and fertilize it. Last but not least, if fertilization has already taken place, emergency contraception may prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

The morning after pill's effectiveness in preventing pregnancy can vary depending on where you are in your cycle of menstruation and how quickly, following unprotected sex, you take medication.

Since EC loses effectiveness over time, it's imperative to take action right away. While ulipristal acetate (Ella) is effective for up to 120 hours (5 days), levonorgestrel-based ECPs are most successful when taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse. The copper IUD is highly successful even when used closer to the 5-day mark and can be placed up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse. Taking morning-after drugs after your body has already begun ovulating will not work.

What Should Be the Dose?

A boy holding various tablets in his hands

The dosage for emergency contraception is dependent on the particular drug being used.

Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) based on levonorgestrel are normally administered as a single dose of one pill containing 1.5 milligrams (mg) of levonorgestrel.

One 30 mg tablet of ulipristal acetate (Ella) is typically used as a single dose. But because dosages might differ by brand and location, it's crucial to adhere to the precise directions given with the drug or by a healthcare professional.

Ella should only be used once per cycle. Plan B One-Step and generic levonorgestrel are both repeatable. However, you should switch to using traditional contraceptives if you frequently rely on them.

Since the copper intrauterine device (IUD) is placed by a healthcare professional within a defined duration after unprotected intercourse to offer effective emergency contraception, no particular dose is necessary.

Avoid using two separate morning-after pills (such as Plan B and Ella) simultaneously or within five days of one another since they may interfere with one another and render them ineffective.

Is it safe?

In one word, yes, it is safe when used as directed. Emergency contraception has been used effectively by millions of people. Even those with medical conditions (such as migraines, heart illness, problems with the liver, etc.) that prevent them from using hormonal birth control can utilize EC.

The majority of adverse effects are modest and transient, such as weariness, menstrual irregularities, or nausea, and they usually go away on their own. Since there are more effective long-term contraceptive methods available, it's crucial to use emergency contraception only when necessary and not as a regular method of contraception. Consulting a healthcare professional is advised if there are any worries or queries about using emergency contraception, as they may offer individualized advice and assistance.


For people who find themselves in situations involving unprotected sexual activity or contraceptive failure and seek to lower the risk of an unexpected pregnancy, emergency contraception is a critical and time-sensitive choice.

Emergency contraception, which comes in a variety of forms, including over-the-counter and prescription choices, offers a safety net for reproductive health. It is crucial to keep in mind, though, that it cannot substitute for traditional forms of contraception and does not offer protection against STDs. When using emergency contraception, timely and well-informed decision-making is essential, as is the support of healthcare professionals.

Written By- Ayush Maurya

Edited By- Chirajita Gupta

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