Sexual health and emergency contraception
If you miss a contraceptive pill, delay a contraceptive injection, or have a condom failure you may be at risk of unplanned pregnancy. Please don’t hesitate to seek emergency contraception in these circumstances. The morning after pill can reduce your risk of unplanned pregnancy. You should take it as soon as possible for it to be most effective, and within five days (three days for some medicines).
Please make a phone appointment with the nurse if you think you need the morning after pill. Emergency contraception is free in the UK.
At certain times of your cycle, or if it is more than five days since you had unprotected sex, your only emergency contraception option will be the copper IUD (copper coil). We cannot fit these as emergencies at Bridge Street, but you can get one fitted at the Lime Tree iCaSH (Integrated Contraception and Sexual Health) clinic.
Missing a pill
Information about what to do if you miss a pill can be found here – please note the guidance is different depending on whether you’re on a combined pill (two hormones, often with a break between packets to allow a period); or the ‘mini-pill’ (one hormone, taken every day). More information about the names for different pills can be found at the Sexual Health Hub.
What to do if you’ve missed a combined pill (eg Mercilon, Gedarel, Milinette, Loestrin, Marvelon, Yasmin, Lucette, Femodene, Rigevidon, Cilest): NHS - Missed Combined Only Pill
If you’ve missed a mini-pill (eg Cerazette, Cerelle, Zelleta, Micronor, Noriday, Norgeston): NHS - Missed Progestogen Only Pill
If you have had a condom failure, or if you are not using condoms and have a new partner, you are also potentially at risk of sexually-transmitted infection. Infections such as chlamydia are common and often have mild or no symptoms; you or your partner may not know that you are infected. The Lime Tree clinic offers postal chlamydia and gonorrhea tests, or you can come in at any time to pick up a swab from BSMC reception – just ask for a 'QUICK CHECK TEST'. The instructions are in the packet; be sure to label the sample and you can post it back through the letterbox if preferred. We will contact you by text message if there are any positive findings.
Worried about vaginal discharge?
Some vaginal discharge is normal; your natural discharge will vary through your cycle, with wetter and dryer days; and it may alter if you are pregnant, perimenopausal, or taking hormonal contraception.
A change in discharge is usually due to common causes like thrush or bacterial vaginosis.
These are not sexually-transmitted infections, and are easily treatable with over-the-counter medications which are available at any pharmacist.
If you’re not sure what is going on and would like a swab for thrush or BV please ask reception for a ‘black swab’, and they can give you a swab to do at home and bring back. This is a vaginal swab that you carry out yourself – instructions are in the packet. We will contact you by sms if your swab shows any thrush or BV.
Learn more about the copper coil
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