Negative trend: Think before you pop ECPs

Although to a large extent it does protect a woman from conceiving from causal unsafe sex, gynaecologists opine that there are chances of failure. Doctors are also concerned with the arbitrary use of pills by women, a trend which has been steadily growing.

The doctors feel that many women are unaware of the hazards of taking ECPs regularly like oral contraceptives. On World Contraception Day, which falls on September 26, we look at some of the problems with emergency pills, which have become a rage among young women in the country. Dr Gayathri Kamat, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis Hospitals, said that oral contraceptives (OC) were way ahead of ECPs and that they were extremely effective.

"OCs completely inhibit or prevent the production of eggs by the ovum. In ECPs, even after taking it at the right time, the success rate is 89 per cent," she said.  The effect of ECPs depended on the time of pill consumption during the egg production cycle, she said.

If the pills were taken early, it would delay ovulation. However, if taken after the ovulation, there was a chance of the eggs fertilising and lodging outside the uterus known as ectopic pregnancy, as the pill made the environment of uterus hostile for implantation of fertilised eggs, she explained. She also stated that there was a dramatic rise in the usage of ECPs after the television advertisements, in the last couple of years.
 
Agreeing with her, Dr Chitra Ramamurthy, gynaecologist, Apollo Hospitals, said that if an undetected ectopic pregnancy would lead to rupture of fallopian tube and bleeding in the abdominal cavity. And, this could be life threatening.

"If a woman who has taken ECP doesn't get her menses, she should consult a gynaecologist," she advised. She added that if the ectopic pregnancy is detected early, the patient is either given tablets for abortion or a laparoscopy is performed to suck out the fertilised egg.

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