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Emergency Contraception: What to Expect

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Emergency Contraception IUD: Getting It, Side Effects continued...

Once it's in, you won't be able to feel it. Your doctor will show you how to check that it’s still in position once a month. You just have to feel for a string that extends into your vagina.

After you have the IUD, you may have heavier periods with more cramping than before.

Other side effects are uncommon. Rarely, an IUD may fall out of position. Your doctor will have to put it back in. IUDs pose a very small risk of infections or damaging your uterus.

Easing Side Effects

If you have a headache or are cramping, try a nonprescription painkiller like ibuprofen or naproxen for a day or two.

The most common side effect of the pill forms is upset stomach. About 1 out of 5 women taking Ella, Plan B One-Step, and generics -- like My Way and Next Choice One Dose -- feel queasy. Some throw up. Higher doses of regular birth control pills, which some doctors also use for emergency contraception, are the most likely to upset your stomach.

What can you do for nausea? Try eating smaller but more frequent meals. Sucking on sugar-free hard candy might help, too. If your nausea or vomiting is severe, call your doctor. Taking medicine to calm your stomach for a day or two could help.

If you throw up within a couple of hours of taking the pill, you should take another dose. You probably need to take anti-nausea medicine first. Check with your doctor.

After Emergency Contraception

If you have any side effects, they should be gone in a day or two. You don’t have to call a doctor after using emergency contraception, but if you have questions or anything worries you, go ahead. You don't need any routine follow-up exam or tests. If your next period is more than a week late, you should take a pregnancy test.

The copper-T IUD works as regular, ongoing birth control. Many women who use it for emergency contraception keep it in. It can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. If you decide you want to get pregnant, a doctor will remove it. After it's out, the IUD will have no lasting effects.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on July 31, 2013
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