Things No One Tells You About The I-pill

Worried after a night of unplanned and unprotected passion? Worry not, as there is a quick solution — the i-pill. But don’t think that you can practice unsafe sex and just depend on the i-pill every time.

Pregnancy is the best time in every woman’s life, as it marks the shift of her identity from a woman to a mother. But if you haven’t really planned to have a baby and had unprotected sex, you might be worried about getting pregnant. Often women with unplanned pregnancy end up getting an abortion and then follows a plethora of anxiety, guilt, self-pity, shame, fear, regret, and loneliness – feelings that wouldn’t have occurred if there was a way to undo the damage.

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To save women from this pitiable state, various emergency contraceptive pills have come into the market and the i-pill is one of those. Launched by pharmaceutical company Cipla, it has immensely proved its effectiveness in the field of emergency contraception.

However, the i-pill is not a contraceptive pill you can depend on daily. With the fabulous marketing, Cipla did for its revolutionary i-pill, it succeeded in making it one of India’s favored ‘emergency contraceptive pills’. But it also leads to many myths about the pill. In a country like India where people only expect you to have sex after getting married, sometimes these advertisements can be misleading.

I-pill: The things no one tells you

• The i-pill is to be used only as an emergency contraceptive pill.

• The i-pill is only safe for women between the ages of 25 and 45. It is not the best contraceptive method for teenagers. With the rate of teenage pregnancy growing in India, it is essential that schools and colleges start a sex education campaign where they educate the youth about the harmful side effects of the i-pill on a developing reproductive system.

• The i-pill is a hormonal pill and its long time usage can lead to severe menstrual problems or even ovarian damage. According to RS Gupta, owner of Paras Chemist in Saket, Delhi, “A pill like the i-pill is bound to spread. It is up to the chemists that they don’t sell it to youngsters since doctors recommend that i-pill is only safe for women between 25 and 45.”

• The i-pill is not without side-effects. According to ISARC researchers, it can reduce sexual interest, lead to skin allergies and also prepone periods in some women. Other women complain of a severe headache which is a result of hormonal imbalance.

The i-pill: 14 facts you should know

So if any woman over the age of 25 fears getting pregnant after an episode of unprotected sex, contraceptive failure, forced sex or improper usage of regular birth control measures, she may just pop in an i-pill to ease her anxiety. Women commonly recognize an i-pill by the name of ‘morning-after pill’.

There are certain things you need to know about it, though.

1. The i-pill is not an abortion pill. It stops pregnancy but cannot terminate it. Therefore it is ineffective if a woman is already pregnant. Says Dr. Asha Sharma, a gynaecologist at  Rockland Hospital, “Women don’t have any idea about the difference between the i-pill and abortion pill and take them all wrong.

2. An i-pill is meant for emergency contraception. It cannot be used as a regular contraceptive method and is quite unhealthy if taken more than twice a month.

3. The pill is to be taken soon after unprotected sex. It should be taken preferably within 24 hours and before 72 hours or else the pill may turn useless.

4. I-pill checks pregnancy by preventing ovulation or fertilization or implantation of the fertilized egg.

5. I-pill is 95 per cent effective if taken in time.

6. It comes as an oral tablet which needs to be swallowed with water after eating some food.

7. A woman can resume taking her regular contraceptive pills the day after she takes the i-pill. So if you forgot to take your daily contraceptive and had sex, taking an i-pill might help ease your anxiety.

8. I-pill does not offer protection against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

9. I-pill is an over the counter emergency contraceptive pill available in any local chemist shop. You do not require a doctor’s prescription to purchase it.

10. If you are on long-term medication for any ailment, consult a doctor before taking the i-pill.

11. Lactating moms can take i-pills without any worry. They will not deteriorate the quality of their breast milk or have any negative impact on the infant.

12. Since i-pill is an authorized emergency contraception measure; therefore it has no long-term or fatal consequence. Nausea, breast tenderness, delayed menstruation, lower abdominal ache, headache, vomiting and irregular menstruation are some of the temporary side-effects of the i -pill. However, these effects subside within a day or two.

13. A woman should go for a pregnancy test if her next menses are delayed by more than one week.

14. A woman who has an allergy to Levonorgestrel must consult a doctor before taking the i-pill.

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So these are the important things you must know before taking an i-pill. While the i-pill has offered millions of Indian women a sense of relief, abusing it can be a huge mistake.