4 Ways That Make Birth Control Less Effective

March 19, 2020

Have you ever noticed that so many people who “accidentally” get pregnant swear they were on birth control?

The pill does its job well when taken perfectly. You could be pregnant, even if you don’t want to. Think about your lifestyle choices or daily habits — they could be the reasons your pills aren’t working.

Certain antibiotics may interfere with the efficacy of birth control pills

There’s only one type of antibiotic that will stop the birth control pill from working which is rifampicin-like antibiotic. It is a medication used to treat tuberculosis and other bacterial infections.

These types of antibiotic can increase enzymes in your body, known as being “enzyme-inducing” that can affect the effectiveness of hormonal contraception1.

Keep in mind that it’s important to be honest with your healthcare provider if you’re on the pill before they prescribe anything new to you.

Not taking birth control pill each day at the same time

Often you are busy with your life, and you may have forgotten to take your pill at the same time each day. However, the more pills you skip, the less effective birth control pill will be in preventing pregnancies2.

If you missed one, take one pill as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until the next day, go ahead and take 2 pills that day3. And timing matters! Try your best to take the pill at the same time everyday to maintain the hormone levels to have consistent effect of cycles.

Remember to use another form of birth control until you finish your pill pack. Set a reminder for yourself so you won’t forget to take the pills. Consult your doctor for instructions if you missed more than two pills.

Some herbal remedies and supplements can weaken your pill

Although birth control pills have a whopping 99% success rate in preventing pregnancies4, only if taken as directed, you need to keep in mind that certain supplements you take can get in the way on how well your pill is working.

St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal remedy to treat individuals with depression and sleep disorders. However, consuming it might take a toll on the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives5. It contains liver enzymes that quickly metabolises the medication in the body, hence reducing the effect of the pill.

Other supplements such as garlic pill, alfalfa, saw palmetto, or flaxseed could be the culprits of pill failure6. Before you decide to go on the pill, find out about the supplements you take that might affect the efficacy of the pill.

Improperly storing your birth control pills

Perhaps storing your pills in the car, at the bathroom, or in the car, is convenient for you. Yes, those might be the best possible places to keep your pills so you can get them easily when it’s about time to consume it.

Most birth control pills are sensitive to the environment. Storing your pills that expose to direct light, heat, or moisture may compromise the effectiveness of the pill7. Just like any other medication, you should keep them according to package instructions.

As long as you keep it in a consistently dry, room-temperature location8, the pill should work wonders for you for maximum protection.

Be responsible of your reproductive health

It takes more than just remembering to take the pill in preventing pregnancies. Make sure your doctor knows, or inform your doctor about what medication or supplements you take to ensure efficiency of birth control pills.

References

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/antibiotics-contraception/
  2. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw7456
  3. https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/forgot-to-take-your-birth-control-pills
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322799.php#how-effective-is-the-pil
  5. https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/st-john-s-wort-interaction-with-hormonal-contraceptives-including-implants
  6. https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/qa/what-herbal-remedies-can-affect-birth-control-pills
  7. https://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/a22518882/birth-control-pills-ineffective/
  8. https://www.verywellhealth.com/tips-for-safely-storing-birth-control-906622

 

Approval code: PP-YAZ-MY-0151-1(03/20)

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