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The Collegiette’s Complete Guide to Understanding Plan B

It can happen to anyone, forgetting to use birth control in the heat of the moment or not feeling comfortable with your partner to talk it all out. There are options but plenty of college girls seem skeptical of emergency birth control. Turns out, a study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that 23% of women ages 19-24 have used an emergency contraceptive as a means of birth control. Plus most college campuses offer Plan B at Health Services or at a local drugstore. So don’t let stigma make a decision for you, here’s everything you need to know about Plan B.

What exactly is Plan B to begin with?

It’s an emergency contraceptive to be used either when regular birth control fails or unprotected sex happens. It’s not suggested to be used as a regular form of birth control, but is safe for one-time use or a few times.

How does it work?

It basically acts as a stronger dose of regular birth control pills, stopping the egg from leaving the ovary. It can also stop Mr. Sperm from finding Ms. Egg or if they connect, stop them from implanting on the uterine wall. The hormone it contains is called levonorgestrel and is found in low doses in many birth control medications, so it’s nothing new to your system if you typically take birth control.

How long do I have to take it?

It becomes less effective over time so the sooner the better. Within 72 hours is the suggested time frame as the chance of success decreases the longer you wait. So get on it!

Should I be worried about scary side effects?

Your flow may be lighter or heavier, and if it doesn’t show up after being a week late, pregnancy is possible. Light nausea, lower stomach pain, fatigue, and dizziness are all possible side effects but it’s entirely possible to have none.

How often is it okay to take Plan B?

It’s suggested only for emergencies, and shouldn’t be taken regularly. However, fertility won’t be affected if it’s taken multiple times. Because Plan B puts higher doses of progesterone (hormone created every time you ovulate) in your system, it’s not severely changing the chemistry of your system.

There’s tons more information available on the website for Plan B so if you still have questions, go check it out for yourself. So Collegiettes, remember that a silly and unnecessary stigma shouldn’t change how you take care of your health! You’re not alone in the situation and you should always put your needs above whatever others may have to say about emergency contraceptive. Being smart and happy trumps fear and regret every time.

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Elena Lopez

U Mass Amherst

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