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On-line version ISSN 1029-3019


OLIVEROS RIVEROS, Lina María. Use of emergency contraception and knowledge about its harms on Colombian female university students. MEDISAN [online]. 2023, vol.27, n.5  Epub Oct 30, 2023. ISSN 1029-3019.


Sexual and reproductive education can prevent or reduce any physical or mental harm, or both, caused by risky sexual practices and inadequate use of contraceptive methods.


To describe the use of emergency contraception among female university students and their awareness regarding the harms of these methods for their health.


A descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted, from April to October 2021, of 372 women over 18 years of age, enrolled in universities located in Medellin, Colombia, who were selected through non-probabilistic sampling. The information was obtained through a survey, which included variables related to the use of emergency contraception and the awareness of its harms.


In the series, 67.7% of the young women had used emergency contraceptives, of whom 8.7% reported consuming up to 3 levonorgestrel pills per month and 0.8% more than 10 during a year, while 97.8% considered that this type of method affects their health. Among the main adverse effects were irregular periods (65.8%), nausea (31.7%), vomiting (31.7%), migraine (3.2%) and mood changes (25.4%).


Although most of female university students who used emergency contraceptives were guided by medical recommendations, a small group did so inappropriately, which was associated with a low perception of the health harms of this method.

Keywords : contraceptive agents; postcoital contraceptives; postcoital hormonal contraceptives; contraceptive effectiveness.

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