OBG(why)N: Things That Can Affect Your Birth Control
Many of us use birth control, but few us consider things that can affect birth control – and certain things absolutely do affect how effective your birth control is. While the birth control pill can be up to 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy, its efficacy depends on certain behaviors or situations. That means understanding precisely what factors can affect your birth control pill. Trust us when we say some of the items on the list below surprised us, so read on to see what things do and don’t affect your birth control, so you can keep taking the pill like the expert you’re soon to be.
6 THINGS THAT AFFECT YOUR BIRTH CONTROL
1. BOWEL DISEASE
If you are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or Chron’s, birth control may not be as effective if you have severe diarrhea. Talk with your doctor if you have one of these diseases, but often the recommended course of action if you have a severe diarrheatic episode is to behave as if you missed the pill.
2. SEIZURE MEDICATIONS
Some seizure medications control hormones that are also related to a woman becoming pregnant. Certain seizure medications can make hormonal birth control less effective because they break down those hormones responsible for inhibiting you from becoming pregnant on birth control.
Antibiotics break down and decrease the amount of estrogen in the body. Because birth control pills contain estrogen, your birth control may not be as effective if you are taking antibiotics.
4. ST. JOHN’S WORT
If you are taking St. John’s Wort, your birth control may not be as effective because of a chemical in St. John’s Wort called hyperforin. Hyperforin breaks down the birth control pill faster in the body, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy.
If you’re on a progestin-only pill, you need to adhere to a strict, every-24-hours-exactly schedule when you take the pill. Because progestin pills don’t prevent ovulation the way combination birth control pills do, even delaying taking your progestin pill by a few hours can put you at greater risk for pregnancy.
6. STORAGE OF THE PILL
Storage of the pill is important for effectiveness. Avoid extreme temperatures (aka don’t store your birth control in your car) and be aware of its expiration date.
3 THINGS THAT DON’T AFFECT YOUR BIRTH CONTROL PILL
Probiotics and birth control work separately in the body. Probiotics do not have an impact on any of the female hormones. Probiotics are designed to help the body with digestion, pH balance, and immunity.
2. LENGTH OF USE
Taking the pill will be effective from puberty to menopause – it will not decrease in effectiveness as you age.
Breastfeeding is not birth control – it doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Certain birth control pills (those progestin-only pills we mention above) do not have an effect on breastfeeding and can be a preferred birth control method for breast-feeding moms. IUDs are also a safe option for new moms.