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    Side effects of ellaOne

    On this page
    1. What is ellaOne?
    2. How to take ellaOne
    3. ellaOne side effects
    4. Can ellaOne delay your period?
    5. Treating ellaOne side effects
    6. How do you know if ellaOne has worked?
    7. Where can I get ellaOne?

    Like all medications, ellaOne may cause some side effects, although these tend to be rare. In this article we’ll look at the potential side effects of ellaOne and treating any side effects if you do experience them.   

    What is ellaOne?

    ellaOne is a morning after pill taken after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It contains the hormone ulipristal acetate. This active ingredient stops your ovaries releasing an egg (ovulation) to reduce the chance of it being fertilised. 

    What is ellaOne

    The other types of emergency contraception that are available are Levonorgestrel (also a pill) and the emergency copper coil, or IUD which has to be implanted by a professional. You can learn more about the IUD by reading this article from the NHS.

    How to take ellaOne

    ellaOne must be taken within five days (120 hours) of unprotected sex to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is thought to be about 95% effective in protecting against unwanted pregnancy for all five days. This makes it more effective after the initial 24 hours than the more commonly used morning after pill, Levonorgestrel (sometimes branded Levonelle).

    ellaOne side effects

    All medications can cause some side effects, although these aren't very common with ellaOne. Up to 1 in 10 people experience side effects when taking ellaOne. Side effects range from common to rare and intensity.  

    Most common side effects of ellaOne

    • Nausea
    • Tender breasts
    • Headaches
    • Mood swings
    • Tiredness

    Common side effects of ellaOne

    Rare side effects of ellaOne

    There are some side effects associated with taking ellaOne that are slightly less common, we have listed them below.

    Uncommon side effects of ellaOne (affecting up to 1 in 100 people): 

    • diarrhoea and wind
    • heartburn
    • dry mouth
    • irregular vaginal bleeding (i.e. between periods)
    • heavy periods and prolonged PMS
    • vaginal irritation or unusual discharge
    • changes to your appetite and sex drive
    • hot flushes
    • anxiety or agitation
    • trouble sleeping
    • sleepiness
    • migraine
    • visual disturbances
    • acne
    • itchy skin

    Though many of these side effects are unpleasant, none of them should be cause for great alarm. They should also last for a short amount of time.

    The side effects of any medicine are always available in the patient information leaflet that comes in the box.

    Can ellaOne delay your period?

    The morning after pill can affect your period, making it earlier, later or more heavy than usual. If your period is more than seven days late, extremely light or heavy, or you experience abdominal (stomach) pain, breast tenderness, vomiting or nausea, you may be pregnant and you should do a test.

    Find out more about the effectiveness of the morning after pill.  

    Treating ellaOne side effects

    If you experience some of the more common ellaOne side effects you can manage these at home. If you experience any serious side effects, like an allergic reaction, speak to your doctor or visit A&E.

    Managing common side effects of ellaOne

    The most common side effects after taking ellaOne are feeling sick and being sick. If you are sick within 3 hours of taking ellaOne you need to speak to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. You may need to take another dose.

    If you’re feeling sick, you can ease symptoms by:

    • Eating smaller meals
    • Eating more frequently
    • Avoiding spicy, fried or greasy foods
    • Not lying down straight after eating
    • Drinking sips of water or ginger tea
    • Getting fresh air or going outside
    • Distracting yourself 

    If you get a headache you should:

    • Try to rest
    • Limit screen time
    • Take paracetamol  

    When to seek a doctor after taking ellaOne

    You should speak to a doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects, even if the side effects are not listed here. Side effects can include:

    • Sickness
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Dizziness
    • Allergic reaction
    • Diarrhoea  

    In rare cases, some people who take ellaOne have an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the tablet and require immediate medical attention. If you have a reaction like this you should call 999, 111 or go to your local A&E or urgent care centre. 

    You can find out the ingredients in ellaOne and check whether you might be allergic to it by reading the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine. 

    How do you know if ellaOne has worked?

    You will know if ellaOne has worked when your next period arrives. A 2017 review estimated that around 1 to 2% of women who take ellaOne after unprotected sex will become pregnant.

    If your period is more than 7 days late, unusually light or heavy, you experience symptoms such as abdominal (stomach) pain, breast tenderness, vomiting or nausea, you may be pregnant. You should do a pregnancy test right away.  

    Where can I get ellaOne?

    You can get ellaOne from sexual health centres, GP surgeries, pharmacies and contraception clinics. Alternatively, you can order it online from discreet, confidential health services like LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. Click here to learn more about ellaOne or make an order through our safe online clinic.


    Taking ellaOne can cause side effects, however many of these are manageable at home. It’s Important to read the patient information leaflet carefully and speak to the healthcare professional who gave you ellaOne if you’re worried about any side effects.  


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