What Is Plan B And How Does It Work
Plan B uses levonorgestrel, the same hormone found in low-dose birth control pills, explains Savita Ginde, M.D., chief healthcare officer at Stride Community Health Center in Denver, CO, and former chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “It’s a type of progesterone that’s been used safely in many birth control pills for a very long time,” she adds.
But there’s three times more levonorgestrel in Plan B compared to a regular birth control pill. This large, concentrated dose “interferes with the normal hormone patterns necessary for a pregnancy to occur, by delaying the release of an egg from the ovary, stopping fertilization, or preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus,” says Dr. Ginde. (
Let’s be super clear here: Plan B is not an abortion pill. “Plan B cannot prevent a pregnancy that has already happened,” says Felice Gersh, M.D., an ob-gyn and founder and director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in Irvine, CA. Plan B works largely by stopping ovulation from occurring, so if it’s taken right after ovulation and the potential for fertilization still exists , Plan B could fail to prevent pregnancy.
“If you’re around the time of ovulation, clearly the sooner you take the pill, the better!” she says.
The Potential Side Effects Of Plan B
- 26 percent experienced menstrual changes
- 23 percent experienced nausea
- 11 percent experienced dizziness
- 11 percent experienced breast tenderness
“These symptoms are a direct effect of the levonorgestrel, and the drug’s effect on the gastrointestinal tract, the brain, and the breasts,” says Dr. Gersh. “It can impact hormone receptors in various ways, resulting in these side effects.”
Discussions online back this up: In a Reddit thread in the r/AskWomen subreddit, many women cited no side effects at all or, if they did have some, said they only experienced minor bleeding, cramping, nausea, or cycle irregularities. A few noted that they felt more significantly sick or had heavier or more painful periods than usual. Something important to note: If you do throw up within two hours of taking Plan B, you should talk to your healthcare professional to find out if you should repeat the dose, according to the Plan B website.
How long do Plan B Side effects last? Luckily, if you get any side effects at all, they should only last for a few days after taking it, according to the Mayo Clinic.
You Can’t Take Emergency Contraception Too Many Times
“All the rumors you hear about are completely untrue,” Charlotte Wilken-Jensen, head of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Department at Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark told Vice. “Every formula of the morning-after pill advises you to take it only once every cycle, but really, you can safely take it anytime you have unprotected intercourse. Of course, if you take it more than once, your risks of side effects increase.”
Essentially, taking the morning-after pill is akin to taking a bunch of birth control pills all at once. While you probably won’t feel great, it won’t negatively affect your health or fertility. “In the past, women who needed emergency contraception would just take a super-high dose of birth control, but the estrogen just caused a lot of nausea and vomiting,” Alyssa Dweck, a board-certified ob-gyn and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, told BuzzFeed Health. “It’s very safe and well-tolerated, even in women who aren’t able to take some birth control pills because of clotting disorders.”
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More Hormone Balancing Resources + Support
While these strategies can help you transition off birth control as seamlessly and naturally as possible I want to emphasize the fact that everyone is unique, thus eliminating birth control side effects and going off the pill still demands an individualized approach. I recommend finding a naturopathic or functional medicine practitioner or working with a coach who understands the potential side effects of being on/transitioning off the pill and is comfortable addressing post-birth control syndrome.
If youre ready to make the switch I highly recommend checking out my 28 Day Hormone Balance Reset Plan, which contains one months worth of recipes, supplements + lifestyle tips to help you balance your hormones and reconnect with your cycle and body.
Additionally you can check out these helpful hormone balancing resources/blog posts
Indications For Emergency Contraception
Several circumstances may warrant the use of emergency contraception. ECs can be used in the following situations: after having unprotected sexual intercourse, when a woman has incorrectly used regular contraceptives, in the event of sexual assault, or even in situations where a condom has burst, slipped, or been used incorrectly . The available methods of emergency contraception include using emergency contraception pills , the Yuzpe method, or the copper-bearing intrauterine devices . The Yuzpe method was named after the Canadian physician who first described the regimen . This paper will focus its discussion on the clinical pharmacology of the hormonal emergency contraceptive pills, that is, the ECPs and Yuzpe method.
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When Should You See A Doctor
While Plan B’s side effects aren’t dangerous, there are a few instances where it’s best to talk to your doctor to learn more.
“If you develop bleeding for longer than a weekwhether spotting or heavieryou should see a physician,” says Dr. Gersh. “Severe pelvic pain also requires a visit with the doctor. If pain develops three to five weeks after taking Plan B, it may indicate a tubal pregnancy,” a type of ectopic pregnancy when a fertilized egg gets stuck on its way to the uterus.
And if your period is more than two weeks late after taking Plan B, you should do a pregnancy test to determine if you might be pregnant.
+ Birth Control Withdrawal Self
Effectively eliminating birth controls side effects can take some time and require some patience initially.
Thus its important for you to take care of yourself as much as possible during this transition in order to rebalance your hormones and help you feel better. Self-care should be individualized and looks different for every person but these ideas can help you build a solid foundation:
+ Minimize Stress Try deep breathing or meditation techniques, getting out in nature, reading a good book, going for a walk, connecting or calling a friend
+ Get Restorative Sleep One of the biggest things you can do to improve sleep quality is to be off all electronics at least two hours before bed. Also try winding down with a nightly ritual
+ Consistently Exercise This is not only great for detoxing the body of synthetic hormones but helps mitigate stress and increases the amount of beta-endorphins you produce . Try a gentler form of yoga if youre dealing with bad cramps and more intense exercising in your first half
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Excessive Hair Growth Or Hair Loss
Most women have some hair on their face, according to Dr. Dobs, but if you notice excessive hair growth on your face, it could be hormone related. This happens because there are hormone receptors, , in the skin that are related to hair growth, she explains. As a result, hair loss on the head can also be a sign of hormone imbalance for the same reasons.
Plan B Does Not: Cause Abortion
“I have repeatedly had patients tell me Plan B is ‘basically having an abortion’which is completely false!” promises Collman. An abortion eliminates a pregnancy that has already been implanted in the uterus, while Plan B prevents unintended pregnancy from occurring or implanting into the uterus in the first place. If you take Plan B while pregnant, it absolutely will not abort the pregnancy. That’s simply not how the medication’s hormones work.
If we were all better educated about what Plan B is, no one would believe this myth. The morning-after pill is a huge dose of hormones that prevents fertilization of an eggâor prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. That’s why you have to take Plan B within 72 hours of unprotected sexâbecause that’s how long it takes for an egg to fertilize and attach to the uterus.
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Severe Pms Or Painful Periods
If the time around your periodwhich can be up to 14 days before bleeding actually starts is very physically painful and emotionally difficult , hormones could be to blame.
Women who have severe pain with their menstrual cycle could have endometriosis, Dr. Shen adds, since endometriosis is impacted by hormone imbalance.
+ Birth Control Withdrawal Detox Protocol
While I firmly believe in the philosophy of focusing on what you can add into your diet and lifestyle to help yourself feel better it should be noted eliminating the following can really help offset symptoms and rebalance your hormones.
If possible I recommend trying to avoid
- + Estrogen Mimickers or Xenoestrogens Most commonly found in BPA , household cleaners, contaminated drinking water, medications and soy
- + Alcohol It impairs the livers ability to process estrogen effectively
- + Antibiotics These disrupt your gut flora and can cause estrogen to be recirculated in the body
As well as adding in
- + Cruciferous Vegetables See nutrition section above
- + Your Fave Sweat Method When we sweat we excrete toxins naturally and safely through our skin. Add in exercise or try out an infrared sauna
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You Can Take Plan B As Often As It Is Necessary
You can take plan B as often as you think necessary, but taking it more than once in the same week does not make it more effective, says Zaher Merhi, MD, founder of the Rejuvenating Fertility Center in New York City.
You can take plan B up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex, but the longer you wait the less effective it is. Because plan B primarily works by preventing or delaying ovulation, taking it more than once in the same week, even if you’ve had unprotected sex twice, will not make it more effective, Merhi says.
While it’s safe to take plan B as often as you think necessary, it can cause some uncomfortable side effects, Merhi says. These include:
Products That Youre Using Every Day Contain Hidden Toxins That Cause Hormone Imbalance
In my previous post, I discussed the best diet for estrogen dominance. If you havent already, be sure to check it out. In it, I describe the most common food sources of estrogen. And how to avoid them.
In this post, Ill dive into the hidden causes of hormone imbalance. I wont discuss food or diet even though food is a cause of hormone imbalance since everything you need to know about foods and hormone balance/imbalance is found in my previous post.
A word to the wise before starting this post:
If you notice any ingredients that contain the word -phen- or -benz- be wary. In all likelihood, this substance has a high probability of causing hormone imbalances.
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Do Emergency Contraceptive Pills Have Any Side Effects On Future Pregnancy
Under normal circumstances, doctors assume that contraceptive pills do not cause any harm to future pregnancies, there is a small risk of any contraceptive pill obstructing your chances of being pregnant again, it is, however, recommended that you consult a doctor for a thorough prognosis of how these pills could affect your body as every persons anatomy is different and so is the bodys reaction to medication.
In the case of your body rejecting or reacting badly to the pill, it could hamper a future pregnancy, this, however, is extremely rare. It is important to recognise that using emergency contraceptives also causes a hormonal imbalance, this could lead to you taking more time to get pregnant, but any scientific study or body do not lower the chances.
When Can You Take The Morning After Pill
First up, you will need to take the pill as soon as possible after you have unprotected sex – the longer you leave it, the less effective it is. The most commonly available pill, Levonelle, can be taken within three days of unprotected sex, and another pill, ellaOne, can be taken up to five days after.
By Rebecca Baio
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Belly Fat And Persistent Weight Gain
Because hormones are connected with your weight, imbalances in hormone levels can make it more difficult to lose weight.
Dr. Natasha Turner on the Doctor Oz Show said that any hormonal imbalances will make it difficult to lose weight. For example, high levels of estrogen, cortisol, and insulin along with low testosterone and DHEA can cause you to put on extra belly fat.11
In fact, researchers from Harvard say that having excess abdominal fat can also disrupt your hormones even more. They found that excess fat around your belly can also produce hormones that can affect your health.12
The European Thyroid Journal also reported that low thyroid hormones slow down metabolism and can lead to weight gain.13
There are many great ways to lose belly fat naturally. For example, certain foods can help to shed a few inches from your waist while other foods should be avoided, or you can try some my 12 simple tweaks for weight loss.
What Causes Hormone Imbalance
There can be a wide variety of reasons for a hormone imbalance. Menopause is one, according to Dr. Dobs, but since menopause is a normal part of the aging process, doctors are typically only concerned if the woman is having a tough time with symptoms and needs help managing them.
What were concerned with is suddenness, she says. If something has changed in the last six months that wasnt there before, such as an irregular period or sudden hair growth on the face, we absolutely recommend an evaluation be done to see whats going on with your hormones. Meanwhile, for young women, your period shouldnt suddenly stop, she adds.
Some causes of hormone imbalance in younger women can include polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, according to Dr. Dobs, which is associated with very high levels of testosterone. Lifestyle choices can lead to hormone imbalance, too, according to Wen Shen, M.D., assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.
Smoking can lead to a hormone imbalance, and it can actually lead you into an earlier menopause, she says. Very high levels of stress can cause a hormone imbalance, too, according to Dr. Dobs. In rare cases, a testosterone-secreting tumor can be a cause of hormone imbalance.
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What If Im Pregnant
Some women might worry that if they take the plan B pill and they are already pregnant they could affect the health of the pregnancy. But no birth defects or developmental issues have been reported by women who didnt realize they were already pregnant and took the morning-after pill.
And since the morning-after pill works by preventing pregnancy, theres no risk of a miscarriage, either.
Again, many women have been incorrectly told Plan B is used to cause abortions. This isnt correct. Its job is to prevent pregnancy from occuring.
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
To find out if your birth control pills are contributing to your symptoms, its important to get tested. However, simple standard blood tests will rarely detect this problem. A better option is a 24-hour urine hormone collection, which is the gold standard for looking at all the hormones and their metabolic byproducts. An integrative physician can be helpful in assessing hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, and other issues related to hormonal birth control.
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When To Take A Dose
People call it the morning-after pill for a reason: Plan B works best when you take it as soon as possible after having sex without a barrier method.
If you take those pills within 3 days, youll have a 75 to 89 percent chance of not getting pregnant. And while you can technically wait as long as 5 days, the quicker you move, the better.
A single dose of Plan B consists of two pills that you take within a day. Take the first pill ASAP and the second one 12 hours later. And then thats it. Youre done!
The only exception? If you happen to puke within 2 hours of taking one pill , youll want to call your doc. They might recommend that you take another dose.
Hidden Cause Of Your Hormone Imbalance #3 Herbicides
Youre familiar with glyphosate , right?
This herbicide is no stranger to headlines. Most recently, glyphosate was found to be a causal agent in the development of cancer. Im not here to perpetuate the glyphosate is bad belief. I think thats been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
While glyphosate has been hogging all the popular press, another, dangerous herbicide has continued to fly under the radar. The herbicide in question is known as Atrazine. Next to glyphosate, Atrazine is the most popular herbicide used in the United States.
Yet Atrazine has been banned in Europe since 2004.
Because Atrazine interacts with your hormone system. And not in a nice way. Atrazine is highly estrogenic. Meaning it artificially increases your estrogen levels a surefire way to cause hormone imbalance.
In fact, Atrazine is so potent that it can chemically castrate frogs. Even in small doses. Just imagine what that stuff will do to your hormones!
If you live in a nation that allows Atrazine, its time to go organic. Look for the clean fifteen and dirty dozen foods released each year. This list clearly illustrates which foods contain the highest levels of herbicides and pesticides.
If youre dealing with a hormone imbalance, Id encourage you to opt for organic varieties for all of your foods.
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