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Gynaecology

Pill and the like. You can find out here which types of birth control are available – and how the emergency contraceptive pill can prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

Birth control pill – hormonal contraceptives

Lots of women rely on birth control through specific hormones every month. For example, the birth control pill can be a so-called combined pill that contains oestrogens and gestagens. These pills are characterised by high protection against unplanned pregnancy, in general high tolerability, and maintaining regular periods. However, some women do not tolerate this kind of pill. They often have physical complaints, such as oedema, breast tenderness, headache, and abdominal pain. These symptoms are usually caused by oestrogens. An oestrogen-free pill containing the active substance Desogestrel is suitable for women who have these symptoms. Not only do they offer all of the advantages women know from the combined pill but, in contrast to the combined pill, they can also be used to prevent pregnancy during breast-feeding. Other advantages are the 12 hour time window and that the pill is taken every day without a break, without the 7 day long pause.

However, not every "pill" is equally well tolerated. Rather, an individually adapted medical prescription is always required. You can find information and service about contraception using the birth control pill here.

Morning after pill: How, for how long, and how it works

The morning after pill is a medicine that is used after unprotected sex or in emergencies, for example after accidents with contraception, in order to prevent a pregnancy. For example, if a woman forgot to take her birth control pill, or was vomiting or had diarrhoea, the contraceptive effect is not ensured. This also happens when a condom slipped off or broke. In these cases, the morning after pill can be considered an option as an absolute emergency pill when pregnancy is not desired. As a general rule: The morning after pill is not a regular birth control method and should be used only in emergencies. And: It must be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

How does the morning after pill work?

First of all it should be explained that: The morning after pill does not have an abortive effect. It prevents an undesired pregnancy before the egg cell is fertilised and pregnancy occurs. This works because the emergency contraceptive pill delays ovulation until the male sperm cells become infertile. Because the menstrual cycle differs from woman to woman, the exact day of ovulation cannot be predicted. Therefore, the morning after pill has to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Since 2015, the emergency contraceptive pill can be obtained in pharmacies without a prescription in Germany.

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