Overview

There are higher chances that taking antibiotics can potentially lower the chances of your birth control as these antibiotics have estrogens present inside them which sometimes cause the enzymes in the liver to boost the break-down of estrogens which in turn results in declining in the levels of estrogens in the body. Reduction on the level of estrogens can result in unwanted pregnancy. Therefore it is advised to take birth control pills as well while taking antibiotics or other kinds of drugs that can boost the break-down of estrogens.

The other way by which taking the antibiotics can affect the effectiveness of birth control pills is that they reduce the re-circulation of estrogens inside the body. Estrogens like ethinyl estradiol in the birth control pills gets separate by conversion in the liver to other chemicals which then gets spraed inside the in the bile that is produced by the liver. Bacteria which are present inside our intestine can easily convert these chemicals back into the active estrogen which laters get reabsorbed into the body. This entire process is being referred to as entero-hepatic cycling. There are many studies that support that antibiotics can kill the bacteria which are helpful in converting the inactive chemicals to the active estrogen, and subsequently bring changes in the effectiveness of the pills which we take for birth control pills resulting in unwanted pregnancies. Although this is not proved clearly that unwanted pregnancies happen because of this particular reason only, there are many other reasons for this as well. The companies manufacturing drug also warm the patients to use these antibiotics as they probably can lower the effectiveness of birth control pills. Since it is better to act smart and concert the doctor before taking any kind of antibiotics, also the individuals who take birth control pills are recommended to advised to use other reliable method of birth control especially when they are taking any kind of antibiotics.

How Birth Control Pills Work

Pills taken for Birth control are a hormonal contraception used to prevent pregnancy. Most of the birth control pills that are available in the market contain two hormones including estrogen and progesterone. Both these hormones help in blocking the release of eggs from the ovary, or known as ovulation. There are a few control pills like minipill that thicken cervical mucus and make it challenging for the sperm to reach to an egg which is not fertilized yet.

Is there any Connection Between Antibiotics and the Pills taken to control Birth?

Till now, the only kind of antibiotic that has proved to affect the impact birth control pills is rifampin. This kind of drug is used in the treatment of tuberculosis among many other bacterial infections which is affecting you. In case someone is taking this medicine along with taking some birth control pills, then there are higher chances that this medicine will lower the hormone levels in your birth control pills which in turn increase the chances of unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Taking this particular medicine will lower the hormone levels inside the body which in turn affect whether ovulation is prevented. In simpler words we can say that your birth control pills will becomes less useful in case you are taking rifampin. Rifampin further lowers the hormone levels in the birth control patch and affect the vaginal ring as well.

According to a study published it was revealed that the hormone levels don’t change in case we take the below-mentioned antibiotics along with taking some birth control pills:

  • ciprofloxacin
  • clarithromycin
  • doxycycline
  • metronidazole
  • roxithromycin
  • temafloxacin

Whils some kind of drugs or antibiotics that can make birth control pills less effective include few anti-HIV protease inhibitors, anti-seizure medications etc which should not be taken together with antibiotics. however, there are some birth control pills as well that make other drugs less effective, which include analgesics and blood pressure medications and in fact the effects of antidepressants, bronchodilators, and tranquilizers will be increased in case we are taking them with the pills used for birth controlling.

What are the harms of taking Birth Control Pills and Antibiotics together

Though there is not much scientific research done on the harmful side effects of consuming antibiotics with birth control pills together. Still there are some side effects of both drugs especially when both of them are taken together. Some of the harms of taking these medicines together include nausea, feeling of vomiting, diarrhea, loss in appetite, uneasiness, and sometimes headaches as well.

Not all people taking both the medicines witness similar side-effects, the side effects differ from person to person and the level of antibiotic taken. It is not that all who take birth control pills and antibiotics together bear the negative side effects. Despite many facts that support that taking antibiotics with birth control pills lower the effectiveness of birth control pills, but there are many other reasons as well that can result in birth control failure. For instance, forgetting to take birth control pills on time can also result in unwanted pregnancy or in case you vomit then you don’t get the daily dosage of these birth control pills which are needed to control the pregnancy.

What are the methods by which we can take birth Control Pills in a right way?

When we are taking birth control pills and antibiotics in a right way as prescribed by our doctors, there are higher chances that we can prevent our pregnancy successfully. Most of the pills available in the market to control the birth need to be taken daily for 21 days on and seven days off. Also, there are a few birth control pills which you have to take for 28 straight days and remaining for 91 days. Pills differ in colors which indicate the levels of hormones and for few days you will be asked by your doctor to take those pills that have no hormones while some other days, you will be taking birth control pills with hormones. Pills without hormones are given to the patients so that they can develop an habit of taking the pills on a regular basis without missing them even for a single day as well otherwise it can result in unwanted pregnancy as well.

Also you should not start taking birth control pills on your own without consulting a doctor, in fact your doctor will let you know when is the right time to start consuming these pills. The starting day of the pills is mostly the first Sunday after your menstrual cycle starts or in some cases, you are asked to start taking these pills from the first day of your menstrual cycle. Pills must be taken at the same time each day without any delays, and in case you are not following your doctor’ advise and giving a time-gap in between your pills, then there are higher chances that you might become pregnant in the future. You need to select that Birth Control Method which is right for you and in this you need your doctor advise who are highly experienced and specialized in letting you know which is the right pill for you.

Some other options

Besides taking birth control pills there are many other kinds of birth control options as well which you can consider in case you are not planning pregnancy in the future. Some other options include shots, rings, condoms, diaphragms among many other popular options which are trusted by people across the world. Some of the questions which you can ask yourself to know the best option for you:

  • Do you plans to start a family in the future?
  • Are you facing any kind of medical problems?
  • What is the frequency of having sex with your partner?
  • How many sex partners you have?
  • Will you be able to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by consuming birth control pills?
  • Will you take your daily dosage of pills?
  • Any kind of side effects linked with taking these pills?
  • Are you able to take these pills without any kind of difficulty?

Choosing the best way to control pregnancy can become daunting and confusing, especially when there are so many options available. Not every woman can take the same kind of birth control pills, it is your doctor who is the best person on the Earth to advise you regarding taking these birth control pills. In case you are above 35 years and is a regular smoker with a history of heart disease then these birth control pills might not be a perfect choice for you. Also, in case you are taking heavy dosage of antibiotics that can weaken the impact of birth control pills, then you must consider some other option as you might have an unplanned pregnancy in case consuming both antibiotics and birth control pills together.

Choosing the right way for birth Control is important

Birth control pills are just among the few options that are available in the market. Rather than taking birth control pills especially when you are taking antibiotics as well that can lower the effectiveness of the birth control pills, you can rely upon many other options as well like shots, condoms, implants among many other options. Some contraception methods which don’t get affected by rifampicin or other kinds of antibiotics include progestogen-only injection, an intrauterine device (IUD) etc.

In case you are consuming rifampicin or rifabutin antibiotics from last more than 2 months and still have to continue using the same hormonal contraception, then you need to talk to your doctor regarding the same. You must discuss your problem with your doctor who will surely understand you and will come up with the gest solution. Your doctor might ask you to consume this contraception differently and use condoms as well to stay protected. Once you are done with the antibiotics, you need to start taking birth control pills for 28 days post finishing the antibiotics.

Another option available for the women who have a contraceptive implant and want a short dosage of rifampicin is taking a single dose of the progestogen injection. The implant will remain at its position while you will be covered by the injection.

Conclusion

You and your doctor need to have a detailed discussion regarding your existing condition before coming up with any kind of conclusion, you don’t need to use additional contraception on a regular basis in case you are taking antibiotics other than rifampicin and rifabutin as the pills other than the mentioned antibiotics will not lower the efficiency of these pills. But in case the antibiotics or you are taking is causing diarrhoea or vomiting, then continuing using contraceptive pill will impact there efficiency which results in unplanned pregnancy as well.

So talk you your doctor about taking birth control pills especially when you are consuming antibiotics like Rifabutin or some other that can make birth control pills less beneficial.

References

  1. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cjidmm/1999/539376/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28694152
  3. https://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12978-015-0037-4
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