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Brown spotting after emergency contraception

During last decades emergency contraception became very popular. Many women complain about brown spotting after emergency contraception. It is important to know that this type of contraception is recommended and effective in following cases:

  • If woman had unprotected sex (without any contraception);
  • If contraceptive diaphragm has dislodged;
  • If the condom has broken or slipped off;
  • If use contraception became not effective for several reasons (missed pills, taking antibiotics, had some diarrhea or vomiting);
  • If some mistakes took place during withdrawal contraception.

Emergency contraception is effective up to 90-95% if used during 72 hours after unprotected sex. Earlier use is more effective.

Best is to take emergency contraception pills during first 24 hours after unprotected sex but during 72 hours it is still effective.

Brown spotting after emergency contraception

Emergency contraception

After emergency contraception it is normal for next menstrual period to be different – it could be heavier or lighter or just brown spotting instead of expected period; it may come earlier or later than expected.

Brown spotting is pretty common side effect of emergency contraception. Some women could have brown discharge or spotting or bleeding within the first week of taking pills. Most women will have their next period within seven days or when it is usually due.

General rule is the following:

If after emergency contraception woman did not have her menstrual period within 3 weeks of taking pills, pregnancy test is strongly recommended.

If after emergency contraception woman missed period and notice nausea, sore or enlarged breasts, frequent urination, headaches and fatigue, appointment with doctor is recommended.

Although brown spotting after emergency contraception is pretty common, it is always useful to know that similar brown discharge could appear also after implantation (called implantation bleeding). In general, implantation bleeding could indicate pregnancy – it usually occurs 10-14 days after conception, and therefore occurs a little earlier than a period (it happen when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus). Implantation bleeding is generally much shorter and lighter than the menstrual period. About 20-30% of pregnant women experience implantation bleeding characterized as few drops of blood.

Brown spotting after emergency contraception

Recommendations for women who experience brown spotting after emergency contraception:

  • Just don’t panic and be patient. Brown spotting after emergency contraception is pretty common. Wear a panty liner or light maxi pad – use unscented panty liners or pads.
  • If the brown spotting has a strong smell, it could be a sign of vaginal infection. Better to visit your doctor for tests.
  • Take care of vaginal hygiene – keep the area clean. Regular baths or showers will help you feel fresh and clean. Do not use harsh soaps on the genital area.
  • If you are fed up of on-going long brown spotting, better visit your doctor for advice.

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