Plan B is one of the brands of levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of hormone progestin for preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure. Other names used to refer to Plan B are the morning after pill and emergency contraception. Despite being available on the market for 22 years now, queries about the side effects of Plan B, usage, and precautions are still common. If you are among those with questions on using Plan B, read this blog for starting information.

How does Plan B work?

It contains progestin hormone that prevents ovulation (i.e., the release of an egg) during menstruation. It also (i) thickens vaginal fluid to stop sperms from fusing with eggs and (ii) alters the uterus lining to prevent implantation (i.e., attachment of a fertilized egg to the lining of the uterus).

When should you take Plan B?

Plan B or similar emergency contraceptive pills should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex or if you think contraception has failed. The pill does not work if not taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. The efficacy is directly proportional to its timing after sex.

How to take Plan B?

Read all directions on the label carefully. If you have any questions, discuss them with your pharmacist or healthcare provider before taking the medication. Take only one tablet at a time. Ingest it with water; do not chew. You may want to eat something before taking it. If you puke within two hours of popping it, inform your doctor before repeating the dose.

Can you take Plan B while on birth control?

Yes. You can take Plan B while you are on birth control. If you are taking Plan B to make up for missed dosage of your regular birth control pill, resume taking the latter as soon as possible. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive pill and its regular usage may upset your hormonal balance. It also changes the lining of the womb and may later delay implantation.

What are the side effects of Plan B?

Irrespective of the brand, the side effects of morning-after pills are more or less similar. Change in the menstrual cycle, spotting, unexpectedly heavy or light periods, breast tenderness, nausea, irritability, dizziness, cramps, and lower backache are a few common after-effects of taking Plan B. Progestin-only contraceptive pills may affect your blood sugar levels too. If you have diabetes, monitor your health and stay in touch with your doctor.

Can you take Plan B when you have PCOS?

Yes. Progestin-only pills like Plan B are preferred and effective emergency contraception for women with PCOS. In fact, doctors often prescribe it to women who should not take combination birth control pills. Low levels of the hormone progesterone is one of the causes of PCOS. Progestin-only pills release progesterone, helping your periods be regular and lowering the risk of endometrial cancer. Nevertheless, consult your doctor before taking these pills more often.

What else should I know about taking Plan B?

Plan B is one of the safest and most effective emergency pills. However, like every medication, it has several contraindications. If you already take medications for other health condition, consult your doctor before taking Plan B.