Effect of post-coital contraceptive methods on the endometrium and the menstrual cycle

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1996 Sep;75(8):738-44. doi: 10.3109/00016349609065738.


Study objective: To evaluate the effect of treatment with ethinylesteradiol-levonorgestrel or danazol on ovarian function, gonadotrophin release and endometrial development during the time when a pregnancy may occur following unprotected intercourse.

Methods: Women with regular menstrual cycles were followed during one control, one treatment and one follow-up month. The women obtained either a combination of 0.5 mg levonorgestrel and 0.1 mg ethinylestradiol (Yuzpe regimen: n = 16) or 600 mg danazol orally and repeated after 12 hours (n = 16). The treatment was administered on either cycle day (cd) 12 or day LH +2. An endometrial biopsy was obtained once on cd LH +6 to +8 in the subjects treated on cd LH +2 both in control and treatment cycles, and morphometric analysis was performed. The concentrations of LH, pregnandiol (P2G), and estrone (EIG) glucuronide were followed daily in morning urine during control and treatment cycles.

Results: Following treatment with the Yuzpe regimen on cd 12 the LH surge was either undetectable (three subjects), postponed to cd 16 to 22 (three subjects) or cd 38 to 39 (two subjects) with lower P2G and LH levels than in the control cycle. Following preovulatory treatment with danazol, no LH peak could be detected in four subjects and in the remaining four subjects the LH peak varied between cd 13 and cd 24. The mean area under the curve for LH was significantly lower, the levels of EIG were slightly higher and the P2G levels were unaffected in comparison with the control cycle. Neither of the two treatments administered on cd LH +2 affected the hormonal pattern and only a discreet effect on the development of the endometrium was seen after the EE/LNG treatment.

Conclusion: The findings indicate that the contraceptive effect of postcoital treatment with EE/LNG and danazol is mainly due to an inhibition or delay of ovulation and insufficient corpus luteum function. The direct effect on the endometrium is limited, if any.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital, Hormonal / pharmacology*
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital, Synthetic / pharmacology*
  • Danazol / pharmacology*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / drug effects*
  • Estrone / urine
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / administration & dosage*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levonorgestrel / administration & dosage*
  • Levonorgestrel / pharmacology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / urine
  • Menstruation / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnanediol / urine


  • Contraceptives, Postcoital, Hormonal
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital, Synthetic
  • Drug Combinations
  • Estrone
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Pregnanediol
  • Danazol