ella® is an oral emergency contraceptive pill (a.k.a. morning after pill) containing ulipristal acetate. If you have had unprotected sex, or your contraception has failed, taking ella® can help prevent unplanned pregnancy.
ella® can be effective for up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. However, like all morning after pills, it is more effective the sooner you take it.
ella® comes in 1 convenient, 30-mg pill. That’s it! It is important to take ella® as soon as possible, as emergency contraception is most effective the sooner it is taken following unprotected sex or birth control failure.
For more information about ella®, check out All you need to know about ella®.
ella® delays ovulation so there is no egg to meet the sperm. When you have unprotected sex, sperm travel from the vagina, through the cervix and up the fallopian tubes where they wait for an egg to be fertilised. ella® helps prevent or delay ovulation (the egg being released) until all the sperm have died (5 days), so there is no egg for them to meet and so pregnancy can not occur.
You can continue taking the oral contraceptive pill after taking ella®. You should do so no sooner than 5 days after the intake of ella, and use a reliable barrier method until the next menstrual period.
After using ella®, if you wish to use hormonal contraception, you should do so no sooner than 5 days after the intake of ella®. Be sure to use a reliable barrier contraceptive method (such as a condom with spermicide) each time you have sex until your next period.
The morning after pill can delay your period, or in some cases make it earlier than usual. Try not to panic if its a few days late – this is not uncommon.
If your period is more than seven days late after taking ella® or if it is unusually heavy or light, you may want to take a pregnancy test and follow up with your healthcare provider.
Your next menstrual period may begin a few days earlier or later than expected after taking ella®. If your period is more than 7 days later than expected, there may be a chance that you are pregnant. If this is the case, you should get a pregnancy test and follow up with your healthcare provider. If you have severe lower stomach (abdominal) pain about 3 to 5 weeks after taking ella®, you may have a pregnancy outside of the uterus (womb), which is called an ectopic or tubal pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition that needs medical treatment right away. Call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency room right away if you think you may have an ectopic pregnancy.
Some women taking ella may have their next period earlier or later than expected. If your period is more than a week late, you should get a pregnancy test.
Yes, ella® is a prescription emergency contraceptive; however, you can easily get ella® online through one of our telemedicines partners listed on our site.
No. Emergency contraceptives like ella® works by delaying or preventing ovulation, which stops pregnancy from occurring in the first place. It won’t end an existing pregnancy.
No. ella® should not be taken if you are already pregnant. Currently there is no information suggesting that ella® would harm a developing baby. Contact your health care provider if you think you may be pregnant and have taken ella®. ella® is not for use to terminate an existing pregnancy.
No. Your chances of becoming pregnant will return rapidly after use of ella® for emergency contraception. ella® is not a regular contraceptive pill, so it will not protect you against future acts of sexual intercourse. After using ella®, if you want to have sex, make sure you’re protected. Use a reliable barrier contraceptive method such as condoms until your next period, even if you use a regular contraceptive pill.
You will know that ella® has taken effect when your next period begins. You should expect your period around the same time that you would usually get it, though it is not uncommon for it to be a few days early or a few days late.
Keep in mind that ella® is less likely to work if you:
• Don’t take ella® right away
• Use ella® for more than one episode of unprotected sex or birth control failure in a menstrual cycle
• Vomit within 3 hours of taking ella® (contact your healthcare provider immediately to discuss the possibility of another dose)
Repeated use of ella® within the same menstrual cycle is not recommended, as safety and efficacy of repeat use within the same cycle has not been evaluated. If you find yourself in this situation, you should discuss what’s happened with your pharmacist or health care provider who will be able to advise you.
Taking ella® can only prevent pregnancy for a single incident of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It will not continue to protect you, so if you have unprotected sex again in the same cycle after taking ella®, you may need to take another dose.
If you find yourself taking ella® multiple times in one cycle, you might want to discuss finding a regular contraceptive method that works for you with a healthcare professional. ella® is intended only for use in emergencies, not as an alternative to regular contraception. ella® can only protect against unplanned pregnancy, it won’t protect you against STIs.
The active ingredient in ella® is ulipristal acetate, whereas other morning after pills contain an active ingredient called levonorgestrel. Ulipristal acetate has been shown to be highly effective and the agent of choice for many women.
ella® gives you a longer window to access emergency contraception, but both medicines are more effective the sooner you take them. ella® can still be effective for up to 120 hours (5 days) afterwards whereas levonorgestrel can be effective emergency contraception for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
If ella® is taken as directed, it will reduce the chances of your becoming pregnant. However, ella® is not effective in every case. ella® is only to be used for a single episode of unprotected intercourse. Be sure to use a barrier method until your next period. Wait 5 days after using ella® to start/resume use of hormonal birth control methods. ella® and other emergency contraceptives may be less effective in women with a body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2
Once you take it, ella® works by delaying ovulation. ella® is most effective the sooner you take it. Upon intake of ella after unprotected sex, ovulation is delayed for five days.
Generally, ella® is well tolerated but, like any medicine, some people experience side effects after taking ella®. For more information about potential side effects, please see here.
It is important to remember that ella® is only effective for a specific instance of unprotected sex. Taking ella® will not protect you for future occasions of unprotected sex. Your fertility will return to normal very quickly, and you should use a condom or other barrier method until your next period arrives, even if you are using a hormonal method of contraception like the pill.