Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Contraception health centre

Side effects of the emergency contraceptive pill

NHS Choices Medical Reference

NHS Choices Logo

Taking the emergency contraceptive pill has not been shown to cause any serious or long-term health problems. However, it can sometimes have side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • abdominal (tummy) pain
  • headache
  • irregular menstrual bleeding (spotting or heavy bleeding) before your next period is due
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • tiredness

Less common side effects include:

  • breast tenderness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • vomiting - seek medical advice if you vomit within three hours of taking the emergency contraceptive pill

Any side effects will normally pass quickly. If you vomit within 3 hours of taking ellaOne or 2 hours of taking Levonelle, you will need to take a repeat dose or have an IUD fitted.

When to see a doctor or nurse

If you are concerned about any symptoms after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, contact your GP or speak to a nurse at a sexual health clinic.

You should talk to a doctor or nurse if:

  • you think you might be pregnant
  • your next period is more than seven days late
  • your period is shorter or lighter than usual
  • you have any sudden or unusual pain in your lower abdomen (tummy)
Medical Review: July 03, 2012

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets for beautiful hair
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
crossword puzzle
Help for the first hard days
probiotic shakes
Help digestion
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting