How emergency contraception works?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 01, 2011

Women take pill

Emergency contraceptives are the methods used to avoid pregnancy in case of havingone has unprotected inter course. Various emergency contraceptives available in the market world-wide are: Hormonal hormonal pills (levonorgestrel, urlipristal acetate and birth control pills) or physical devices such as Intra intra uterine devices (IUD).

While these methods are widely used, it is important to have the knowledge of their functioning which will prepare women to anticipate any changes in their body functioning

The working of these hormonal contraceptives is based on the working of the human body. During pregnancy, the body of the femalefemale woman’s body undergoes rapid and tremendous hormonal changes. Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen are responsible for maintaining and assisting the growth of the fetus in the womb.

The emergency contraceptives work by altering the release of hormones, thereby reducing the chances of getting pregnant.

How emergency contraceptives work:

i.1.    Chemical Methods (Hormonal pills)

The most commonly used emergency contraceptives are the synthetic hormones that either alter the onset of monthly menses (periods) or change the chemical environment in the uterus which reduce the chances of fertilizationfertilisation.

The levonorgestrel pills are made of only one hormone that is progestin. These emergency contraceptives work by delaying the release of the ova from the fallopian tubes and the formation of the lining of the uterine wall, thereby preventing the occurrence of pregnancy. However, these pills do not work in case the implantation of the embryo has already taken place.

The urlipristal pills are a combination of two hormones: estrogen and progestin. These delay ovulation and prevent the implantation of the embryo to the uterine wall.

Birth control pills also act as emergency contraceptives. These pills too are a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin and work in similar fashion of changing the hormonal coordination functioning of the body. However, unlike the above mentioned pills, the number of the pills required depends upon the concentration of the hormones and should be taken as per doctor’s prescription.

ii.i.    Physical Method (IUDs)

The emergency contraceptive, that is, intra uterine device (IUD) works by making the environment in the uterus non-conducive to the sperms to penetrate the ova thereby preventing fertilization and implantation on the uterine wall. It is the implantation of the copper device in the uterus, through cervix. It has to be done by a doctor.

Thus, the emergency contraceptive hormonal pills reduce the chances of the woman getting pregnant, depending upon which menstrual phase she is in. They either alter the timing of the release of the ova from the fallopian tubes, or disrupt the formation of the uterine wall that will prevent the implantation of the embryo, or it may alter the transportation of the sperms, thereby reducing the chances of getting pregnant. Whereas the physical form of emergency contraception, IUD, alters the chemical physical environment of the body thereby reducing the chances of getting pregnant.




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