Does the morning after pill help you delay your period?

Do you want to know if the morning after pill can delay your period? It is first necessary to understand everything about this pill with the help of midwife Hélène Rialland.

What is the morning after pill? - Definition

The morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive, its purpose is therefore to prevent pregnancy and not to become the miracle cure that will make you say that the morning after pill allows you to delay your period.

The notion of emergency comes from the fact that this pill only works after poorly or unprotected sex (broken condom, forgotten contraception, etc.).

It differs from most prescribed contraceptives such as the pill, the condom or the IUD in the sense that it is only an emergency solution to take after taking a risk.

Note also that it only protects against pregnancy and not against STIs and STDs. For the latter, only the condom serves as protection.

The morning after pill is often used as an added safety measure after unsafe sex. Highly concentrated in hormones, it can have a notable impact on your menstrual cycle and the morning after pill can therefore delay your period.

Its use can cause intermenstrual bleeding, but also delay the arrival of your period. The effectiveness of the pill diminishes over time, so it is essential to take it as soon as possible after intercourse.

Intermenstrual bleeding? Opt for menstrual panties

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Understanding how the morning after pill works:

The morning after pill is an emergency contraception that works primarily by delaying or blocking ovulation. It is a concentrated dose of synthetic hormones, usually levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate. If ovulation has already occurred, it can modify the endometrium, making it more difficult for a possible embryo to implant.

So, does the morning after pill help delay periods? The pill is not a regular method of birth control and should only be used in emergencies, such as unprotected sex or failure of regular contraception. It should be taken as soon as possible after the risky relationship, generally within 72 hours.

Its operation can lead to variations in the menstrual cycle, in particular a delay or an advance of the periods . While it does not trigger a period , it can also cause breakthrough bleeding, which is not a period but a side effect of the pill. Finally, it may be accompanied by other side effects such as nausea or headaches.

When to take the morning after pill: timing and effectiveness

The morning after pill can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex . However, the sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. In the case of the two-day-after-day pill, that is to say the one based on ulipristal acetate, the period extends until 120 hours after report.

Do you intentionally want to delay your period by using the morning after pill? The effectiveness of these pills varies depending on several factors, including how long you take them. For example :

  • when taken within 24 hours of intercourse, the effectiveness is 95%.
  • However, the effectiveness may drop to 85% on the second day
  • and 58% on the third day.

It should be noted that the effectiveness of the morning after pill may be compromised if the woman vomits within 2 hours of taking it. In this case, it is recommended to take a new pill immediately.


The morning after pill and the menstrual cycle: possible disturbances

Taking the morning after pill can have consequences on the menstrual cycle. Due to its high hormonal concentration, it can shift the cycle, causing periods to be delayed or brought forward . It is also possible to see changes in the intensity of bleeding during menstruation, as well as additional bleeding unrelated to periods.

It is important to note that these disturbances are usually temporary and the cycle returns to normal after a few weeks. However, in some cases the disruption may persist for several months. Furthermore, although this does not exactly answer the question of whether the morning after pill can delay periods, it can in any case reduce the length of the cycle.

The effects on the menstrual cycle vary depending on each woman and when in the cycle the pill is taken. In particular, taking it during the peri-ovulatory period can have a greater impact.

Side effects: symptoms and duration

In addition to delaying periods, the side effects of taking the morning after pill are quite variable. Among the most common, we find:

  • nausea
  • headaches
  • abdominal pain
  • and breast tension.
  • Mood swings or feeling tired may also occur.

In some cases, non-period bleeding may occur shortly after taking the pill . This is not a real period, but a side effect of the pill. It is also possible to notice changes in the intensity of bleeding during the following periods.

The duration of these side effects varies from woman to woman, such as a missed period, but they usually disappear within a few days of taking the pill. If, however, they persist or intensify, it is best to consult a health professional.

Bleeding after taking: causes and duration

Bleeding after taking the morning after pill is common and may be attributed to hormonal changes caused by the pill. This bleeding, or " spotting ", is not a period and can occur at any time during the cycle. They can last a few hours to a few days.

It is crucial to understand that this bleeding does not guarantee that the pill was effective in preventing pregnancy.

If you miss your period after taking the morning after pill and you don't get it within three weeks of taking the pill , a pregnancy test is recommended. If you experience heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, or bleeding that lasts more than a week, consult a general practitioner or sexual health center.

Morning after pill during ovulation: consequences and risks

Are you wondering if the morning after pill can delay your period? Taking the morning after pill during ovulation may present risks and consequences, due to its mode of action which aims to delay or block ovulation . If the woman is already ovulating, the effectiveness of the pill may be reduced.

Additionally, if an egg has already been released, the morning after pill will not be able to prevent fertilization . It can, however, interfere with the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation) but this can still take place.

Furthermore, taking the pill during this period can cause disruptions in the menstrual cycle , with a possible delay or early period . Bleeding may also occur.

The day after tomorrow pill: differences and advantages

While the morning after pill has a 72 hour window of action, the day after pill (EllaOne) can be used up to 5 days (120 hours) after unsafe sex . Its active substance, ulipristal acetate, blocks progesterone receptors, thereby reducing the chances of implantation.

This pill therefore offers a greater margin of time to act in the event of a forgotten pill or a broken condom, for example. That said, as with the morning after pill, its effectiveness diminishes over time , so it is always recommended to take it as soon as possible.

Although the day after pill can also disrupt the menstrual cycle, it has advantages over the morning after pill in terms of time to use and effectiveness. And as a reminder, using the day-after-morning pill just to delay periods would really not be a good idea.

Obtaining the morning after pill in pharmacies: procedure and costs

To obtain the morning after pill in a pharmacy, no prescription is required . This is part of the government's commitment since January 1, 2023 to make this emergency contraception accessible to all. It can be obtained without advance payment, thus offering a quick and free solution to an unforeseen situation.

For minors, access is also anonymous. The pharmacist can provide clear and concise information on the different safe means of contraception and on contraceptive follow-up consultations covered at no advance cost. If you ask the pharmacist whether the morning after pill can delay your period , he will certainly be able to answer you.

In terms of costs, the Norlevo pill is between 4 and 10 euros, and the EllaOne pill, around 18 euros. However, they are 100% reimbursed by Health Insurance, which effectively makes them free for all women. It should be noted that the price may vary slightly from one pharmacy to another but that they both contribute to the claim that the morning after pill can delay periods.

Norvelo and Levonorgestrel: characteristics and effectiveness

Norvelo and Levonorgestrel are two commonly used ingredients in morning-after pills. These active substances work by delaying ovulation or preventing fertilization of the egg . They can also modify the endometrium, thus hindering the implantation of the egg.

The effectiveness of these components is highest when they are taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. In general, effectiveness decreases over time, particularly after 72 hours.

It should be noted that taking Norvelo or Levonorgestrel can sometimes cause your period to be delayed or brought forward by a few days . In case of delay of more than 5 days or unusual bleeding, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional.

You were wondering if the morning after pill could delay your period... here is part of the answer!

It is also recommended to use a regular method of contraception after taking these morning after pills to ensure optimal protection.

Questions ?
We answer it...

Comment savoir si la pilule du lendemain a fonctionné ?

Pour rappel, si vous vous demandez si la pilule du lendemain peut retarder les règles, sachez que l'utiliser à cet escient n'est pas une bonne idée !

Il peut être difficile de déterminer si la pilule du lendemain a fonctionné simplement en observant les symptômes après son utilisation. Les signes que la pilule a fonctionné ne sont pas universels et peuvent varier d'une femme à l'autre. 

Cependant, il existe certains indicateurs qui peuvent aider à comprendre si la pilule a été efficace :

  • Absence de symptômes de grossesse : l'absence de symptômes tels que nausées, vomissements ou seins tendus peut être un signe que la pilule a fonctionné. Cependant, il est à noter que ces symptômes peuvent également être dus à des effets secondaires de la pilule.

  • Retour des règles : le retour de vos règles à la date prévue ou un peu en retard est généralement un bon indicateur que la pilule a fonctionné. Toutefois, la pilule du lendemain peut parfois perturber votre cycle menstruel, ce qui peut entraîner un retard de vos règles. 

  • Test de grossesse : le moyen le plus sûr de savoir si la pilule du lendemain a fonctionné est de faire un test de grossesse si vos règles sont en retard de plus de une semaine.

Il est essentiel de noter que la pilule du lendemain n'est pas efficace à 100%, même lorsqu'elle est prise dans les délais recommandés.

Est-ce que la pilule du lendemain peut perturber le cycle menstruel ?

Effectivement, la prise de la pilule du lendemain peut engendrer une perturbation de votre cycle menstruel. Cette pilule, en raison de sa forte concentration hormonale, peut avoir un impact sur la régularité de vos règles et modifier temporairement leur fréquence.

Il est fréquent d'observer que vos règles surviennent plus tôt ou plus tard que prévu. La durée de vos règles peut également être impactée, pouvant se prolonger ou se raccourcir. La pilule du lendemain peut donc techniquement retarder vos règles.

Certaines femmes peuvent également observer des saignements intermenstruels après la prise de la pilule du lendemain. Ces saignements, généralement légers et de courte durée, sont normaux et ne devraient pas être source d'inquiétude.

Il est important de souligner que ces perturbations sont généralement temporaires. Sous plusieurs cycles, votre cycle menstruel devrait revenir à la normale.

Pourquoi je n'ai pas mes règles après la pilule du lendemain ?

L'absence de règles après la prise de la pilule du lendemain peut être due à plusieurs facteurs. Cette pilule, très concentrée en hormones, peut perturber le cycle menstruel. En bloquant l'ovulation, elle peut modifier les autres phases du cycle, dont les règles. Parfois, le cycle peut être décalé de plusieurs jours, voire d'un à deux mois. Alors oui, la pilule du lendemain peut retarder les règles.

Cela ne signifie pas nécessairement une grossesse, mais si le retard dépasse une semaine, il est recommandé de faire un test de grossesse pour écarter cette possibilité.

En outre, la pilule du lendemain peut également modifier la texture de la muqueuse utérine, rendant difficile l'implantation d'un ovule fécondé, ce qui peut également causer un retard des règles. 

Il est important de noter que ces effets sont généralement temporaires et que le cycle menstruel revient à la normale dans les cycles suivants.

Quel effet a la pilule du lendemain sur les règles ?

A la question de savoir si la pilule du lendemain peut retarder les règles, la réponse est oui. La pilule du lendemain peut avoir plusieurs effets sur le cycle menstruel. 

  1. Elle peut causer un retard dans l'arrivée des règles. En raison de sa forte dose d'hormones, elle peut perturber le cycle menstruel normal, ce qui peut entraîner un retard ou une avance dans l'arrivée des règles.
  2. Elle peut également modifier l'aspect des règles. Les saignements peuvent être plus légers ou plus abondants que d'habitude, et leur couleur peut également changer.
  3. Elle peut causer des saignements intermenstruels, qui sont des saignements qui surviennent entre deux cycles menstruels.
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