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Do Abortion Pills Have Side Effects ? | Medical Abortion

Abortion pills are a highly and effective way to terminate an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy. The abortion pill procedure has been legal in the US since Sept. 2000.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy can be difficult and emotional, but for some women, the abortion pill is a preferred option.

While the pill is known to be effective, it can also cause side effects that range in severity from mild to severe.

It is important for women who choose to take the abortion pill to be aware of the potential side effects and to seek medical attention if they experience any concerning symptoms.

The Possible Abortion Pill Side Effects:

1. Mild to Severe pain

After taking both sets of pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) the incidence of severe pain may occur in 4 to 8% of patients that need more than Ibuprofen, Advil or Motrin to control their pain.

More than 50% of women do not need to take any pain medication during the procedure process. Most women describe the discomfort as the kind experienced during a heavy menses.

To help to reduce the discomfort, it is suggested to perform a uterine massage or apply a heating pad to the lower abdomen.

2. Cramping

Lower abdominal cramping cannot only be from the uterus, but from the gastrointestinal tract. It is not uncommon to have diarrhea as a side effect from the Misoprostol tablet.

The diarrhea and cramps associated with it is usually mild and generally stops after passage of the pregnancy tissue. If the diarrhea is severe, it can cause severe dehydration and may require IV hydration.

In some cases, severe sepsis can be a reason for diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours, the woman should follow-up with medical personnel.

3. Prolonged Bleeding

Does the abortion pill cause bleeding? Bleeding occurs when performing the abortion pill procedure 99% of the time. When there is no bleeding, one must consider a failed abortion or an ectopic pregnancy.

If the pregnancy is very early, one may not bleed at all. Bleeding normally lasts between 7 to 16 days. Approximately 10 percent of patients may bleed for 30 days and 1% may bleed up to 60 days. Heavy bleeding is defined as bleeding 2 pads an hour for 2 hours in a row.

4. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea may occur with after taking the Mifepristone tablet. Vomiting may occur in a small percentage of patients. If vomiting occurs within 2 hours of taking RU 486, the pill should be taken again.

Nausea and vomiting is more common after taking the Misoprostol tablet. If nausea and vomiting continue for more than 24 hours, that is a indication to follow-up with medical personnel.

5. Severe Headaches

There are women that experience mild to severe headaches and dizziness after consuming the abortion pills. It normally on lasts a few hours. If these symptoms last for 24 hours or longer, then one should follow-up with medical personnel.

6. Fever

Fever and chills are a very common side effect after taking the second pill (Misoprostol). The temperature rarely goes above 100.4 and generally goes away in 24 hours or less. For a temperature greater than 101.4, the woman should go to a medical facility for proper evaluation.

7. Incomplete Abortion

In 1 to 3% of cases, the medical abortion pill may not cause a complete abortion. Prolonged bleeding, cramping and low grade temperature may indicate pregnancy tissue may be retained in the intrauterine cavity.

A sonogram (ultrasound) can be performed to see if the uterine cavity is empty. If not, more abortion pills may be given or a surgical procedure may be performed to complete the procedure.

8. Failed Abortion Pills

One of the most common questions asked by women is if the abortion pills fail. Failure may occur in 1 to 3% of cases. Generally the earlier in pregnancy the abortion pill procedure is performed, the higher the success rate.

9. Foul Vaginal Discharge

A foul vaginal discharge along with diarrhea, fatigue, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and low grade temperature can be associated with a sepsis. Immediate medical attention must be sought by patients who present with these symptoms.

This may be a serious sign of infection that requires hospitalization with IV antibiotics and surgery to assure evacuation of the uterus.

10. Diarrhea

Diarrhea may occur with taking Misoprostol tablets or infection. If loose stools lasts for 24 hours or longer, medical evaluation is recommended to evaluate for dehydration or infection.

11. Dizziness

It is very common to feel dizzy after taking the abortion pills. This can be a side effect from either the Mifepristone or Misoprostol tablet. If dizziness or lightheadedness occurs longer than 24 hours, then one should be evaluated by medical personnel.


1)There are times as noted when the abortion pill does not work for some patients. The incidence of this occurring is somewhere between 1% and 4%.

2) Contraindications to usage of the abortion pill include undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, allergy to medications used in performing the abortion pill procedure, Cushing’s disease, severe anemia, clotting disorders, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, severe cervicitis and hereditary porphyrias.

3) Can Abortion Pill be free? There are places where the abortion pill may be obtained at a significant discount or even free at times. One should always be under medical supervision when undergoing the Abortion Pill process.

4) If one has contraindications to having the medical abortion procedure performed, there is still the surgical option which is highly safe and effective and has minimal side effects.

Do Abortion Pills Fail?

There are possible signs or symptoms of when the abortion pill don’t work:

1. If you haven’t bled within 12 to 24 hours after taking the pills.

2. If you are still feeling symptoms of being pregnant (nausea, vomiting, weakness, tired, fatigue, hypersalivation, no change in appetite) a few days after taking the abortion pills.

3. Breast tenderness lasting for longer than a week to 10 days after taking second pills (Misoprostol).

4. If pregnancy test remains positive after 3 to 4 weeks after taking the second set of pills.

5) If you continue to experience cramping and bleeding for more than 3 weeks after taking the last dose of medication, it possibly could mean that the medical abortion did not work. There are a few patients that may experience light bleeding off and on for 30 to 60 days.

A follow-up appointment is generally made anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks after the first visit to assure that the medical abortion procedure has been completed.

Summing Up

It is important to recognize that while the abortion pill procedure itself is relatively safe and has few immediate adverse outcomes, there can still be potentially serious complications following a medical abortion.

Pain, cramps, inflammation, infection, and excessive blood loss are some common issues associated with the abortion pill that require medical attention.

Women should take the time to understand these risks and speak with their healthcare provider about any concerns regarding possible side effects before making any decisions about whether or not to use this form of abortion.

By understanding both the positive and negative consequences associated with taking a medical abortion pill, women can make an informed decision about what course of action is right for them and receive any needed follow-up care after the procedure has been completed.

The Tampa Bay Women’s Center is Offering The One Hour Abortion Pill Procedure – 3 to 14 Weeks. Patients who qualify may receive a significant discount in the price of the procedure if they meet certain criteria.

Call The Tampa Bay Women’s Center For Same Day Appointment.

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