You’ve probably heard before that you shouldn’t use antibiotics in combination with your birth control. Perhaps you’ve even read it on your birth control packaging as a warning, but is it actually a cause for concern? Do antibiotics affect birth control? Before we get to that, let’s quickly discuss what birth control is and how it works with the women body.
Hormonal contraceptives all contain a small amount of hormones including estrogen, progestin, or a combination of the two. Combination birth control pills like Alesse, Yaz, Aubra, and Yasmin are an example of this as these brands contain both estrogen and progestin. Birth control is typically taken to prevent pregnancy but there are some cases where women use it for treatment of acne, regulating heavy periods, or excessive cramping.
It’s the hormones in a woman’s body that control the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation), which occurs once a month. If a woman is not taking birth control and has unprotected sex, an egg will then become fertilized by the sperm and pregnancy will occur. But, when a woman takes birth control, the hormones in birth control actually trick the body so that ovulation doesn’t occur. Without ovulation, pregnancy isn’t possible!
Antibiotics and Hormones
So, what effect do antibiotics have on this process, and do antibiotics affect birth control and its effectiveness? Many drug interactions can change the chemical composition in your body and may cause medications like birth control to become less effective. If you have ever received a prescription from your doctor, you will know that they’re required to ask you for a list of medications your taking before you start taking another. This is standard procedure to ensure that the medication you’re taking does not counteract another.
The latest research points to a negative correlation between birth control pills and antibiotics, meaning most antibiotics don’t reduce the effectiveness of birth control. However, there is an important exception to this. There are in fact two oral antibiotics that have been reported to decrease the effectiveness of birth control; rifampin, a drug used to treat tuberculosis, and griseofulvin, to treat fungal infections.
These antibiotics have an effect on birth control because they both increase the activity of an enzyme in the liver, which breaks down hormones faster than normal. This causes the birth control to fail because the hormone levels are reduced and become less effective. Its worth noting that both antibiotics are very rarely prescribed. So, while it is possible for antibiotics to have a negative effect on birth control, it is unlikely that it will happen.
As topical antibiotics are not absorbed into the bloodstream, there is no chance of impacting the effectiveness on birth control. So, if your doctor has prescribed you an antibiotic cream, you don’t’ have to worry about it interfering with your birth control.
Common Reasons Birth Control Fails
Even when used with perfect use, birth control is not 100% effective and can result in pregnancy. There are several reasons that birth control can fail and become ineffective. The most common reasons that birth control fails are:
- Interference with other drugs / medications
- Human error – not following the instructions
- Storage temperatures – causes medication to become inactive
Using a Backup Method
Although there have been some cases reported of contraceptive failing when a woman takes antibiotics, it doesn’t happen regularly. To ease your mind while taking antibiotics, your doctor will generally recommend that a backup method of birth control is used during this time. Typically, a condom, spermicide, or a female condom are all good options to use as a backup method.
If you are taking both antibiotics and birth control at the same time and wondering do antibiotics affect birth control, you should speak with your doctor and find out how long you should use a backup method for.
Is Getting the Birth Control Patch Right for You?
What is the Birth Control Patch? If you are looking to prevent unwanted pregnanciesRead Article
There are several things good sex should leave you with; a burning vagina is not one of them.
Imagine. You’re lying in bed, legs intertwined with your significant other’s. You are gigglingRead Article
Does Ozempic Affect Birth Control | Birth Control
Oral contraceptives have provided immense value to women across America for many decades now,Read Article
Does Ozempic Interfere With Birth Control | Birth Control
99 is about as close to one hundred as you can get, and it’sRead Article
How to Get Free Birth Control in BC
Go as far west as you can in Canada, and you’ll be in theRead Article
Libido Lifter: Addyi for Premenopausal Women
A strong and healthy sex drive comes naturally for both men and women mostRead Article
Ozempic for Weight Loss After Childbirth
It’s said the rush of emotions and immeasurable love that come over a womanRead Article
Why did they have to call it Birth Control?
“Lifesaver” or “Drama eraser” would have made good candidates too. But, as they say,Read Article
Ovulation & All That Comes With It
You should be aware when your period is set to come, and you shouldRead Article
A Little Spice and Everything Nice…
Are you in a relationship that needs a little spark? A little UNF? ARead Article
Check Yourself before you Wreck Yourself
Do you know what the most desired breast shape in the world is? It’sRead Article
Mind Your Own Uterus
Beware, ladies! They could be anywhere. At the party, at the park, right nextRead Article
The Weirdest things we’ve heard about Sex
Sex always tops the list as one of the most talked-about subjects at everyRead Article