Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, is an emergency contraceptive that if taken within 72 hours of an unprotected sexual act can help dramatically reduce the chance of pregnancy. However, chances are if you are searching about bleeding after taking Plan B you already know what it is because you’ve taken it.
Is bleeding after taking Plan B or emergency contraceptives normal?
Yes, a little over 26 percent of all women that use a form of emergency contraception experience irregular periods afterwards being early, late, lighter, or heavier than their normal cycle. You may also experience spotting and menstrual-cycle-like symptoms such as abdominal cramping, nausea, fatigue, and headache. Nausea is the most common side effect of plan B after irregular bleeding occurring in approximately 25 to 50 percent of all woman depending on the particular pill taken. If any of your side effects are on-going (beyond your next period) or become severe such as bleeding that requires sanitary changes every hour, consult a doctor.
What causes bleeding after taking Plan B?
Emergency contraceptives work similar to a regular birth control pill except that they contain significantly higher doses of hormones. It is because the majority of morning after pills, and the most commonly used pill, Plan B, contain progesterone or are only progesterone that bleeding after taking the pill is so common. Progesterone in high doses will prevent ovulation. This same hormone is produced naturally in higher doses during pregnancy. In essence, birth control uses progesterone to fake the body into believing it is already pregnant. A sudden drop in progesterone levels will cause bleeding as the body ceases production of this hormone if pregnancy is not achieved so that it can ovulate once more. Therefore, once the high dose you take in pill form as emergency contraceptive begins to rapidly decrease, as you are no longer receiving the hormone, the body reacts by shedding the uterine lining it had prepared for pregnancy and you have irregular bleeding. Long story short: Hormonal imbalance.
When will my menstrual cycle return to normal after irregular bleeding caused by the morning after pill?
In most cases, menstruation returns to normal the following month. In fact, you may even still have your regular scheduled period even if you already had it shortly after taking the morning after pill. If menstruation continues to be irregular, consult a doctor.
Can I get pregnant after taking Plan B?
Yes. Not only are Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills not 100 percent effective, but when ovulation will continue after taking the pill is uncertain. If you do not wish to become pregnant, you should continue a regular birth control method immediately. Do not use the morning after pill as a regular form of birth control. They are not designed for frequent use. If you do wish to become pregnant, the use of Plan B will not prevent or effect future pregnancies.