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My First Experience with the Plan B Pill | Elise Liddell



pansy.co by carissa gallo

For those with experience, you probably know what I'm going to talk about. For those who are still asking, I am going to talk about my experience with a hormonal emergency contraception pill, otherwise known as the morning after pill or the 'plan B' pill. Plan B in itself is a brand and there are other emergency birth control pills sold generally in pharmacies. In this post I'm going to talk about Postinor-2 because that's the one I used. 

Before you start reading further, there are some clarifications I would like to list down: 

  • I am still a virgin. A person's virginity is no one's business, however, I just want to clear that up.
  • What I did before taking the EC pill will not be disclosed for public consumption so no details about that, either. I will only tell you that it did not involve any exchange of body fluid.
  • The reason why I took the pill was thanks to my paranoia of unwanted pregnancy.
  • I am not an expert in these things but I have done some research and asked my gynaecologist for medical tips, opinions and advice. However, I still suggest you read thoroughly and take my words with a grain of salt.
  • Try not to skip anything because every bit is kind of, sort of important.

Basic Science


Emergency contraception pills come in two types: a progestin-only "levonorgestrel" pill and a combined progestin-estrogen pill. Minipills like Plan B and Postinor are levonorgestrel and when used, they are meant to prevent ovulation by delaying or inhibiting the surge of lutenizing hormone (responsible for ovulation), prevent fertilization and/or prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. It does not, however, kill or damage sperm. It also does not terminate pregnancy which means it is NOT an abortion pill. People who are against abortion tend to misjudge and think that plan B is equivalent to abortion pill but no, that role belongs to mifepristone and misoprostol. If an egg is delayed and sperm cannot plant on anything, it is not abortion. Last but not least, even though plan B works up to 72 hours, it is best to take them right away. The faster you take it, the more effective it is.



My experience


In my case, I took the EC pill 20 hours after 'the deed' which was two days before my predicted ovulation and during my fertile days. Just in case using dates help guide you to follow the flow, I took the pill on May 2 and my predicted ovulation was on May 4. Like with Plan B, there are two versions of Postinor available — one that comes in a single 1.5 mg dose and another one in two pills at 0.75 mg each. Since mine was Postinor-2, that means I had the two pills version. According to the manufacturer's website, you are supposed to take the first dose and then the second one exactly 12-hours after. I personally took both at the same time, which is equally as effective. My guess is that the 12-hours interval is to prevent common side effects like nausea, headache and throwing up.

Unlike my friend who gets nauseous and stomach cramps after taking EC pill, I did not experience any of that. For me, the side effects were mostly fatigue, sleepiness and dizziness. They subsided after about an hour or two, though. Keep in mind that these are common temporary side effects and will usually pass within 24 hours. Anything that goes beyond 48 hours should be checked out by gynecologist.


11 days later, two weeks of irregular bleeding and spotting


Okay, this is where it gets a little gross. 5 days before my predicted period, I got dry, oxidized brown-black blood on my tissue paper when I wiped. At first I thought it was my scanty, light period so I tried to drink soda (because I had a scanty period once and drinking coke helped ease the flow) but to no avail. 5 days have passed and I was still bleeding the same way and that's when I knew that it was not aunt flow — it's irregular vaginal bleeding called spotting. Common causes of spotting include hormonal contraceptives, early pregnancy and infections. Since infection was definitely ruled out, I had to take a home pregnancy test (even though I was sure it's going to be negative) to officially rule it out. One week passed and the bleeding persisted so I freaked out and decided to make an appointment with my gynecologist yesterday.


Diagnosis


Long story short, plan B messed my hormones up. I am fully aware of how EC pill can screw up my menstrual cycle but to this extend? I guess I'm just one of those people whose body reacts so sensitively to sudden hormonal imbalance and fluctuation. Vaginal bleeding that occurs for 2-3 days is considered normal but anything beyond a week should definitely be assessed. My gynecologist basically did an ultrasound and told me how the pill caused my period blood to accumulate so much it end up stuck inside. All in all, my gynecologist prescribed me Primolut N, a norethisterone medication meant to treat gynecological disorders, menstrual disorders and menopausal hormone therapy. I was prescribed this same drug two months ago when I missed a month of period but this time, she prescribed me to take it for 10 days. Based on my experience with norethisterone, those who are prescribed this drug will have their period within a week. As a backup plan, if things do not work out the way they are supposed to, I will have to take Cyclo-Progynova which is a medication used for hormone therapy. According to my gynecologist, unlike Primolut N, Cyclo-Progynova will take over my hormones and balance them out.

As of now, I'm just going to have my fingers crossed and hope that norethisterone works the way it should, the way it did two months ago. My gynecologist also told me to avoid eating too much sugar, deep fried and junk food as well as soy. Apparently, if you suffer from long-term irregular cycle, these food tend to screw up your hormones.

Birth control pills vs emergency contraception: which one works better?


In conclusion, my gynecologist suggested that using regular birth control pills like Diane-35 works better due to its combination of synthetic progestin and estrogen. Of course, different brands may vary in affect depending on the individual who use them. For example, I've heard people say Diane-35 cause severe hormonal acne so they had to switch. It all comes back to how our body responds to it. The same thing can be said about emergency contraception. For me personally, having experienced this with plan B, I don't think I'll opt to use it again unless I desperately need to. I might just get the regulated birth control pills in the future.

Another reason why I hate plan B is how it ruins my mood for three whole weeks. Three whole freaking weeks has been horribly filled with depression, mood swings and constant irritation. I was practically affected by every single thing and I just felt so, so angry it's crazy. To make matter worse, it really spikes up my appetite. I've been told that plan B may give you pregnancy symptoms so I guess this was what happened. Even though the regulated combined pills have the potential to screw up my mood and appetite as well, I'd rather take that if it means my period cycle won't get screwed. That said, if I were to choose, I'd pick Diane-35 over Postinor anytime unless I'm in a pinch and the situation calls for plan B desperately.

Plan B: Things to keep in mind


  • The morning after pill is not an abortion pill. If your egg is fertilized before plan B can do its thing, you are screwed...or blessed, whichever you prefer.
  • Some people have said that plan B does not work for them once they have ovulated. In theory, this makes sense because plan B's main job is to delay ovulation so once the egg is released, it may not be as effective. You can read more about it here. However, others have said that they took it during ovulation phase and they stayed protected. I personally do not recommend testing your luck once ovulation has happened. I would also recommend doing an ovulation test before engaging in an intercourse during your fertile window.
  • Vaginal bleeding is said to be caused by the effect of plan B dissipating from our bloodstream. This is also known as withdrawal bleeding. Once the hormone progestin drops, it cause uterine lining to shed, leading to spotting.
  • Taking a home pregnancy test during vaginal bleeding will not affect test results. This is especially useful because one might mistake withdrawal bleeding as early pregnancy implantation bleeding (although implantation bleeding is very rare.)
  • Once pregnancy is ruled out, spotting from plan B is considered normal as long as it lasts no more than a week. If that happens, seek a gynecologist as constant spotting may lead to anemia so don't ignore it.
  • Plan B may alter your period until the next month or possibly more which means the next time aunt flow knocks on your door, it might be extremely light or heavy. It's also possible to skip a month of period so if you are worried, go to a gynecologist.
  • It is recommended to only take plan B once per cycle. Taking it more than once will definitely screw up your cycle even more.
  • Likewise, plan B only helps you one time which means if you have unprotected sex again after taking plan B, you will need another dose or ask a gynecologist for alternative emergency contraceptive methods. This is why if you are sexually active, it is advisable to start a regular birth control pill instead.
  • Additionally, plan B does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Honestly, I wasn't sure if I wanted to publish something like this. My blog has always been so filtered in a sense that I don't talk about mature things I'm curious about — like birth control method and sex, for example. But once in a while I do want to express my curiosity about them.

Being in my 20s, I shouldn't feel embarrassed about these things. I mean, why should I be if this means I can get to know more about my femininity? Society tends to suppress our thoughts and curiosity about these things and I'm kind of sick with the level of prudishness the world insists on us, especially women.

We should be able to talk and question these things without the fear of being labeled as, well, cheap. I am making this post as my first step towards being open and honest about who I am, my body and my feminine curiosity.

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