Birth Control Pills And Sex Drive. Do Pills Lower Libido?

There has been a lot of speculation about the effects of birth control on women’s libido. However, scientists have come to discover that the elements that drive a woman’s desire to have sex are not compatible with scientific methods. The research into the relationship between birth control pills and sex drive has continuously produced different results.

The science on birth control pills and sex drive

An analysis of the research studies conducted on this topic shows that most women reported no link between birth control pills and their sex drive. However, there are various ways in which the contraceptives can alter your bodily functions which can cause you to lose interest in sex.

Hormonal abnormalities

Many scientists consider testosterone to be a sex drive hormone. Estrogen, which is common in many birth control pills, has been linked to a reduction in testosterone levels in the body. This is because estrogen contributes to the increase in sex hormone-binding globulin. It traps some of the testosterone in the body.

In a study appearing in the Journal of Sexual Medicine scientists found that the level of sex hormone-binding globulin in women taking birth control pills was four times higher than in women who had never used hormonal contraceptives.

Another factor that might lead to lower testosterone levels is the lack of ovulation. Most oral contraceptives work by releasing hormones into the body that mimic pregnancy. In return, this helps to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation. However, some women experience a rise in the testosterone levels mid-cycle. The increase in testosterone causes some women to experience a spike in their sexual desire.

However, since ovulation does not occur when taking birth control pills, there is no spike in testosterone. Therefore, a person might miss this rise in sexual appetite once they get on the pill.

Birth control pills can affect lubrication

One of the side effects of low-dose birth control is that it can make it harder for a woman to get wet. Although this is not a sign of low sex drive, it does affect some women’s ability to get turned on.

Challenges in research

It is really hard to pin down what low sex drive means to different people. For some, it might mean that they are not that into it. Others might be repulsed by the thought of having sex. This is one of the reasons why studies keep giving different results on the connection between birth control pills and sex drive.

What to do if your pill is affecting your libido

If you feel that there is a link between your birth control pills and sex drive, then you should switch to another pill or method. Read on for information on both.

Switch to another pill

The beauty of oral contraceptives is that they come in different varieties. If your birth control is not working for you, you can switch to another pill with the help of your physician.

Pills containing drospirenone are known to be anti-testosterone. If your pills contain it, you can switch to a pill that has levonorgestrel which is considered to be pro-testosterone.

Switch to another method

If pills just aren’t working for you, you can opt for an alternative birth control method. An IUD is a good option since it does not prevent ovulation. The copper IUD may even be better since it is not hormonal.


Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

Pill reminders – Can they help you take your pills on time?

Pill reminder and pill-tracking app is the new mantra used by researchers to improve medication adherence in patients.

A 2016 poll conducted by Popit Research Labs showed that around 40% of voters relied on their memory to track their pill usage while almost 60% used some form of external pill reminder. Also, multiple studies are suggesting the rise in medication non-adherence due to forgetfulness. There is clearly a need for an external source to keep track of one’s medication usage.

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

Popit Research Labs, 2016

Do pill reminders work?

With the rise in pill reminder solutions, the first question that pops into your mind is – Do pill reminders actually help? Can they help you take your medications on time?

According to a randomised clinical trial done in 2018, to check the impact of medication reminder apps to improve medication adherence in a Coronary Heart Disease study, adherence improvement for app users seemed to be ~7.2%. It was concluded that patients who used medication reminder apps had better medication adherence compared to those with usual care.

A study by Cochrane on interventions for medication adherence in the elderly concluded that behavioural and educational interventions along with the aid of simple strategies such as using pill reminders may lead to greater satisfaction in medication management in the elderly.

In a poll conducted by Popit, almost 50% of the users confirmed they have some kind of reminders for pills and they find these useful in tracking their pills for birth control. In a clinical pilot together with a leading university hospital, their pill reminder solution was able to reduce missed pills by over 80% and help build a solid routine around pill-taking.

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.
Popit Research Labs, 2016

Which is the most effective pill reminder?

With the internet being flooded with various pill reminders apps and medication trackers, how do you know if these are effective or not?  Does it really make sense to invest in one? If yes, then which one?

Pill dispensers are cheap, but using a pill dispenser is more or less relying on your memory. On the other hand, smartphone alarms are free, but most people end up ignoring these alarms as constant notifications can get annoying after a while.

A smart sensing device could be another option that you can rely on. This is the world’s first and only tracker for a pill blister that comes with built-in sensors. It can sense when you pop a pill off the blister and notifies you only when you miss a pill. Which means, if you take the pill, you don’t get the daily annoying reminders. Also, there is no manual input needed to keep a track of your pill usage.

We compiled a comparison chart so you can evaluate which solution is best for you.

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

Pill Reminders

How do pill reminders help?

Medication cannot work as intended if it is not taken as prescribed. Consistency and taking pills according to guidance play a key role in any treatment.

Some of the cases where pill reminders have proven to be beneficial include:

1. Avoiding unwanted pregnancy

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

The risk of pregnancy with a typical birth control pill use is 9% and the pill is 99% efficient only when used perfectly.

By perfect use, it means you have to take the pill every day without fail. You must also take it at the same time day after day. In a recent survey conducted by Popit, more than 1 in 12 women on the pill may have experienced an unintended pregnancy due to missing a pill.

2. Medication adherence in chronic health conditions

Medication non-adherence in chronic health conditions is a recognized public health problem. According to a study conducted by NCBI on unintentional non-adherence of prescribed medication, more than 60% of the test group forgot to take their pills on time.

3. Improved parental or caregiver medication adherence

To keep a track of someone’s medication is more challenging than managing one’s own treatment. You can easily manage this when you have an app that can notify you whenever they miss their pills.

4. Adherence in research

Patients not adhering to medications in research is one of the factors that makes medication development so expensive, and as a result, the prices so high. Taking medications correctly is essential and adherence in research enables a successful study.

So, do you need one?

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

Evolution of pill reminders

From the humble reminders such as markings on a calendar to smart sensing devices, pill reminders have evolved over the years. This also confirms the need for an external source to track pill usage apart from relying on one’s memory. Multiple studies are also supporting this claim saying it could be one of the ways to improve adherence in patients.

Pill reminder solutions are usually a one time purchase and cost less than a good pair of sneakers. They are the most reliable alternative to ensuring you take your medicines on time and stay on track. These can also be a thoughtful gift for your loved ones. For, after all, there is no greater gift that you can give or receive than to stay healthy or investing in the good health of your loved ones.

Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

5 Signs You’re On the Wrong Birth Control Pill

If you are taking the birth control pills because of PCOS, cramps, fibroids or as a contraceptive, it’s important to know you’re taking the right birth kind of control pill. We listed some symptoms that might indicate your current birth control pill is not the best one for you.

Frequent Headaches or Migraines

If you are experiencing regular headaches or worse migraines after starting to take your birth control pill, your sensitivity to estrogen might be higher than normal. The pill increases levels of estrogen in the body. Look for pills that do not contain hormones.

Lost Your Mojo

The birth control pill can lower your libido since it replaces hormones. The body is responsible for creating 50% of the testosterone when a natural ovulation occurs and testosterone actually plays a huge part in sex drive. The pill can prevent a person from ovulating, which in turn will result in zero production of testosterone hormones, necessary to keep the libido up and running. Testosterone is also responsible for increasing the blood flow to sexual organs – crucial for their sensitivity.

Low Energy

There is a proven connection between taking birth control pills and depletion of vitamin B. If you are not taking a vitamin B6 supplement, chances are that you might feel low on energy. Other symptoms can be moodiness, tiredness and nausea. If experiencing any of these symptoms look into supplementing your vitamin intake or switching the contraceptive method altogether.

If you are not taking a vitamin B6 supplement, chances are that you might feel low on energy.

Feeling Depressed

The birth control pill contains progesterone & estrogen and these can affect the brain. It is very important to find a well-balanced pill which will not put you in bouts of depression or low moods. Each pill has a different dose of these hormones so it might be a good idea to try a different pill or other birth control methods.

Not Being Yourself

If your mood and behavior have changed after taking the pill, you feel miserable and moody and most of all you don’t feel quite yourself, it might be best to look into other options. Your body knows best when something is not right and it may be that birth control pills are not the best contraceptive method for you.

Your body knows best when something is not right and it may be that birth control pills are not the best contraceptive method for you.

If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s probably a good idea to schedule a visit with your doctor to discuss options and clarify the root cause.

Related articles

9 Things Thаt Саn Mаkе Birth Соntrоl Pills Fail
The birth control pill is very efficient with perfect use. But how to maximize birth control pill effectiveness.
Birth Control Pill: 6 Most Common Side Effects And Symptoms

Missed, Forgotten Or Late Birth Control Pill – Effects and Remedy?

The birth control pills are the most used means of contraception but can be easily forgotten to take. Birth control pills are easiest to use since they are taken orally and are effective over 99 % of the time.

Can there be side-effects to forgetting to take birth control? One quite common side-effect is spotting, but it is also possible to get pregnant because of a missed pill.

For one missed pill this isn’t a very likely scenario, but it’s better to play it safe and stay consistent.

Gynecologists prescribe birth control pills according to the requirements and needs of the taker. They are available in various packs but the most used are those which contain 21 pills and 28 pills and are to be taken on a daily basis.

But many times you simply might just forget to take the daily dose. Forgetting birth control pills is actually quite common.

Here’s a compilation of instructions from the internet on what to do if you’re on the combined oral contraceptive pill.

If you are less than 24 hours late, you can take it without any delay as soon as you remember

  1. Less than one day late:
    If you have not taken your pill and are less than 24 hours late you can take it without any delay as soon as you remember. No additional contraceptive protection or emergency contraception is required.
  2. Two days late (24h to 48h):
    Take the missed pill as soon as possible. The remaining pill should be taken according to the usual schedule as well. This means you might need to take two pills at the same time. With most birth control pills, you will not require additional contraceptive protection or emergency contraception. Read the leaflet that came with your pills to make sure.
  3. Three days late or more (more than 48h):
    Take the most recent pill as soon as possible and continue with the remaining pills at the usual time. If you are to have sexual intercourse, apart from the pill you need to make sure you use other contraceptive means such as condoms, IUD’s etc. for the next seven to ten days to be extra careful. Consider also emergency contraception.

Also, if you miss three or more pills in the third week, finish the hormonal pills in the package and discard the placebos. Start a new sheet the next day.

To sum it up:
Understand that sticking to your pill schedule is very important and measures should be taken to remember.

If by any chance you miss a pill or two, take those pills along with the ones that are scheduled.

Missing three pills usually means you may need to alter the pill routine by discarding the placebos. Also, emergency contraception might be needed.

Sticking to your pill schedule is very important and measures should be taken to remember

Don’t panic and don’t worry. Go the extra mile and use other contraceptive measures as well. Just to make sure, consult your doctor or physician for instructions.


References and useful sources for further information:


Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

Do Birth Control Pills Make You Fat?

There are many wonderful reasons for choosing the oral contraceptives as your birth control method, but it is important to remember that birth control pills are medication. So do birth control pills make you fat? Women who decide to use them may experience negative side effects.

These side effects may include nausea, headaches, decreased libido, and yes, even weight gain. Remember, not every woman who uses birth control pills suffers from these side effects. Even those who do, these problems are rarely severe.

Over time, most of these side effects will disappear or at least become less pronounced as the body adjusts to the increase of hormones.

Do Birth Control Pills Make You Fat?

Weight gain is one of the main reasons why many shy away from using oral contraceptives. Before starting many women want to know if birth control pills would bring on weight gain.

Most women do not gain any excessive weight from the pill at all.

There is not one answer for everyone. While indeed some women gain weight while on the pill, it is not necessarily a consequence of being on the pill. In fact, most women do not gain any excessive weight from the pill at all.

There are a few reasons why a minority of women may appear heavier and notice a larger number when they step on the scale. The largest amount of blame lies with a hormone known as estrogen.

Studies show that estrogen may both increase a person’s appetite and have the tendency to cause someone to retain water. However according to a large independent study from 2014 there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that the pill would cause major weight gain.

In the early days of oral contraceptives, birth control pills had much higher levels of estrogen than those which are present in today’s pills. Due to these larger amounts of estrogen in the older pills, many more women experienced negative side effects.

For many women weight gain is a normal occurrence that comes with age.

It is pure consequence why other women begin to wonder if birth control pills are causing weight gain.  It is natural for women to gain some weight during their older teen years into their young twenties and then again when they are in their mid-thirties and beyond.

These just so happen to be the time when many women use birth control pills. Therefore, it is quite natural to put the blame on birth control pills for this normal weight gain.

Do birth control pills make me fat? Highly unlikely, according to science.

What Can You Do If You Gain Weight While Using Oral Contraceptives?

If you are among the small percentage of women who continuously gain weight even after a few months of being on the pill, you should know that there is hope. Your first step is to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your concerns over gaining weight.

Your weight gain may just be a coincidence and have no link to your birth control at all. For weight gain due to birth control pills, a doctor may be able to help.

Not all birth control pill brands have the same impact on your body.

Not all brands of birth control pills use the same dosage level of estrogen. Your doctor may want to try a prescription with a lower estrogen level to determine if that corrects the problem. Alternatively, your  doctor may put you on a progestin-only pill.

These pills are sometimes known as POPs or minipills because they do not contain any estrogen at all. A recent study that analysed 22 earlier studies found little evidence that POPs would cause weight gain.

One thing to note with POPs is that getting the same contraceptive efficiency as with combination pills will require you to be extra careful with timing. Missing a pill here and there will increase your risk of unwanted pregnancy more than with combination pills.

After you change to a new pill, you should not expect any immediate changes, It generally takes up to three months before most women will notice a reduction in their weight.

As for any other medication, women should ask their doctors questions to understand all the possible side effects birth control pills may cause.

Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

9 Things Thаt Саn Mаkе Birth Соntrоl Pills Fail

Amоng all the mаnу forms оf соntrасерtіvеs available today, the birth соntrоl ріll is one of the most predominant but many things can make birth control pills effectiveness to fail. Birth соntrоl, оffісіаllу knоwn as thе combined oral contraceptive ріll, wоrkѕ by rеgulаtіng hormones іn thе uѕеr, рrеvеntіng оvulаtіоn аnd thеrеbу аvоіdіng соnсерtіоn.

The Pіll іѕ nоt mаgіс, so if іt’ѕ not taken аѕ directed, it’s nоt gоіng to dо its job wеll. Many things can interfere with thе Pill’s level оf effectiveness, causing it to fail оr lеаd tо unрlаnnеd рrеgnаnсу. The following list provides some of the most common causes for why birth control pills fail.

1. Forgetting can make birth control pills fail

blank

Forgetting is the most common reason why birth control pills fail. The Pill in perfect use can be almost 100% effective. However, when life gets in the way and you miss an occasional pill, the efficiency drops by 9% to about 91%.

The fact is that 1 in 10 women experience an unintended pregnancy every year due to forgetting the Pill (read more about how to make sure pills work as intended). In fact, our study in the US with 500 women yielded similar results.

2. Bаd Timing

Timing mаttеrѕ! Aim to tаkе your ріll аrоund thе same time dаіlу because thіѕ helps thе hоrmоnеѕ tо hаvе thе mоѕt соnѕіѕtеnt effect оn your body аnd cycle.

Tаkіng thе ріll within a fеw hours of the same tіmе еасh dау will provide the best protection. This applies especially to the minipill, which contains only one hormone, progestin. For this reason, it is also known as a progestin-only pill, or POP. The minipill should be taken within a 3-hour window every day.

3. Inflammatory bоwеl dіѕеаѕе or оthеr dіgеѕtіvе disorders

Bowel соndіtіоnѕ lіkе Crohn’s dіѕеаѕе and IBD mау prevent thе bоdу frоm аbѕоrbіng аnу oral medication соrrесtlу, іnсludіng the Pіll. Anуthіng thаt interferes wіth thе body’s ability to absorb thе hоrmоnеѕ or іnсrеаѕеѕ the rate аt which thеу metabolize, can dесrеаѕе thе effectiveness of birth соntrоl ріllѕ. Chrоnіс diarrhea can аlѕо impede absorption. In fасt, іf уоu’vе hаd ѕеrіоuѕ dіаrrhеа оr vomiting for two оr mоrе days, уоu ѕhоuld act as thоugh you’ve mіѕѕеd a pill. It is also advisable for women wіth сhrоnіс bоwеl іѕѕuеѕ to сhооѕе a nоn-оrаl method of contraception.

4. Stоrаgе Tеmреrаturе Changes

blank

Stоrіng bіrth control ріllѕ іn a bag that can overheat іn thе car оr іn уоur bаthrооm can mаkе thе pills іnасtіvе or lead to reduced efficacy. It’s best to stоrе your bіrth соntrоl ріllѕ іn a сооl place, іdеаllу undеr 75F/25C to maintain high product quality.

You should also keep the medication in its original packaging, which is the blister. Using a pill dispenser or a box with compartments might be convenient, but it will also expose the medication more easily to moisture, oxygen, light and heat/cold. All of these are known to reduce medication efficacy and the blister packaging has been designed to function as a first barrier.

5. Mеdісаtіоns

Certain mеdісаtіоnѕ hаvе аlѕо bееn fоund to have an impact оn thе effectiveness оf ѕоmе соntrасерtіvеѕ. Before prescribing new birth control pills your doctor will ask about whether you are currently on any medication. This is not because he would be nosy, but because some medications just don’t work well together.

Antіdерrеѕѕаntѕ ѕuсh аѕ Prоzас (also known as Sarafem, Rapiflux & many more) and Zoloft, аѕ well аѕ dіаbеtіс mеdісаtіоnѕ like Avandia have bееn lіѕtеd аmоng thоѕе that limit thе еffесtіvеnеѕѕ of mоѕt contraceptives.

If уоu’rе tаkіng anti-HIV mеdісаtіоn, the effectiveness of hоrmоnаl birth control pills mау be compromised. At least the following HIV treatments may interfere with the Pill:

  • Lopinavir/ritonavir (trade name Kaletra)
  • Nevirapine (Viramune)
  • Darunavir (Prezista)
  • Efavirenz (Sustiva)

Also, some anti-fungal medications may have issues with birth control pills and vice versa. According to some researchers, the risk is low, but best to still watch out for at least medications containing griseofulvin and ketoconazole.

With anti-seizure meds, it’s a one-way street. They increase the breakdown of hormones in the pills (possibly making them less effective), but the birth control pills do not have an impact on the seizure medication. Look out for at least these substances if you are on the Pill.

  • Carbamazepine (trade names e.g. Carbatrol, Epitol)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • Felbamate (Felbatol)

Sleep treatment medication, more specifically drugs containing modafinil (like Provigil). If your doctor prescribes you with this drug, it may be advisable to seek an alternative contraceptive method for the duration of the treatment and also sometime after it.

For all of the above, do check with your doctor if you are unsure of the compatibility of your current oral contraceptives and any new medication you are about to take. Any time you start or stop a medication you should also have your pharmacist run a drug interaction screen.

6. Antibiotics

Should you use a backup contraceptive method while taking antibiotics? At least the latest research points to a negative correlation between antibiotics and birth control pill efficiency, meaning that antibiotics do not reduce the Pill’s efficiency.

There is one important exception: anti-tuberculosis drug rifampin. Rifampin lowers birth control pill effectiveness by decreasing the hormone levels in women who are on the Pill. If you need to undergo rifampin treatment, use of diaphragm, copper IUD or condom is recommended.

blank

7. Fооdѕ

Some hormone-affecting fооdѕ prevent оrаl contraceptives from functioning рrореrlу and can make birth control pills fail. Sеvеrаl соmmоn foods, іnсludіng lісоrісе, уаm, soy, and dаіrу products, саn іmраіr thе еffесtіvеnеѕѕ of оrаl contraceptives. But whеn уоu eat nоrmаl аnd mоdеrаtе amounts оf fооdѕ, thеу аrе unlіkеlу to іntеrасt wіth рrеѕсrірtіоn birth control ріllѕ. Like with many other things in life, moderation is key.

8. Cіgаrеttеѕ

Whеn уоu соmbіnе thе еffесtѕ оf nісоtіnе wіth those of birth control pills, уоu have аn іnсrеаѕеd сhаnсе оf ѕtrоkе and hеаrt аttасk. Thаt’ѕ bесаuѕе nісоtіnе саuѕеѕ the blood рrеѕѕurе to rіѕе and hеаrt rаtе tо ассеlеrаtе. Thе ріll adds mоrе ѕtrеѕѕ tо the blооd vеѕѕеlѕ because of the еxtrа еѕtrоgеn.

Smоkіng, while taking bіrth соntrоl ріllѕ, саn increase уоur risk оf a hеаrt attack аnd іt can also lead to соntrасерtіvе ріll failure. Latest generation birth control pills have however been shown to possibly be safer for smokers.

9. Herbal Remedies Or Supplements

blank

Many herbal remedies or supplements are surprisingly strong and may have unexpected consequences. These are some of the herbal remedies that can cause birth control pills to have a reduced effect:

  • St. John’s wort – Taken for sleep disorders and depression.
  • Garlic pills – For CVD, high cholesterol and to boost the immune system
  • Alfalfa – For prostate, kidney, bladder problems
  • Flaxseed – For constipation and IBS
  • Saw palmetto – For hair loss
  • Soy isoflavones – For menopause and stronger bones

Luсkіlу, nоt аll factors thаt affect bіrth соntrоl ріllѕ rеndеr іt tоtаllу ineffective, but іt’ѕ good tо know which things can make birth control pills fail.

(A clinical pilot – DOI: 10.15761/COGRM.1000217, was conducted by a team of doctor’s including Henna Kärkkäinen, MD, Ph.D, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Heikki Matero Ph.M, Janne Sahlman MD, Ph.D at the Kuopio University Hospital.  The study concludes that an on-demand reminder system increases adherence of birth control pill users. More details regarding this study can be found here. )

Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

How Birth Control Pills Work

The hormonal birth control known as “the pill” has gained its reputation firstly because it can simply be taken by the mouth. Secondly, when taken correctly, the birth control pill can be up to 99.7% effective, i.e. not resulting in pregnancy. Read further for a quick rundown on how birth control pills work.

Birds and the bees

Biology has taught us that a woman conceives when an egg released from her ovary is fertilized by a man’s sperm (one of the millions swimming toward the egg). This fertilized egg then attaches to the inside of the woman’s womb (uterus). Here, the egg gets nourishment and develops into a baby over the course of nine months. It is the hormones in the woman’s body that control the release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation).

How birth control pills work?

The pill and other hormonal contraceptives (the patch, the vaginal ring etc.) contain synthetic oestrogen and progestin hormones in minute amounts. The function of these hormones is to inhibit the woman’s body’s regular cyclic hormones and thus prevent the woman from getting pregnant.

Nonetheless, there is a combination of factors that can be attributed to preventing the process of conception. Generally, the hormonal contraceptive stops the body from releasing of the egg from the ovary (ovulating). Additionally, these contraceptives modify the cervical mucus so much so that it is difficult, nearly impossible (if you are lucky) for the sperm to make its way through the cervix and find itself an egg to fertilize. Moreover, hormonal contraceptives also avert the occurrence of pregnancy by altering the lining of the womb (where the baby should rest), so that the chances of the implantation of the fertilized egg are brought down significantly.

It must, however, be noted that the risk of pregnancy is MUCH less for women who take the pill properly. And properly means every day, at about the same time.

Also, it is better to not just and only rely on the pill. Using condoms (male) is strongly recommended to decrease the risk of STDs (and pregnancy, of course).

Pros and cons

Advantages of birth control pills:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Cheaper than other birth control methods
  3. Combination pills might even offer other benefits; easing menstrual cramps, reduced blood loss during menstruation, reduction in acne, even stronger bones! Using them is also known to reduce the risk of some cancers (those affecting reproductive organs).

There are also some side effects that come along:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Occasional nausea
  3. Mood swings (due to hormonal activity)
  4. Lighter blood flow during menstruation
  5. Sore breasts
  6. Spotting

The lesser common yet serious side effects that may be indicators of bigger problem like liver damage, gallbladder disease etc. are as follows:

  1. Chest pain (sign of stroke)
  2. Severe headaches (migraine)
  3. Stomach/abdominal pain
  4. Blurred Vision etc.

Nevertheless, birth control pills are the most widely used and safest of all methods – just as long as you remember to take them on time.

For this purpose it is best to rely on a routine or any of the reminders available on the market.

Related articles

9 Things Thаt Саn Mаkе Birth Соntrоl Pills Fail
The birth control pill is very efficient with perfect use. But how to maximize birth control pill effectiveness.
Birth Control Pill: 6 Most Common Side Effects And Symptoms

How to Maximize Birth Control Pill Effectiveness

Oral contraception pills are a popular birth control method for avoiding unplanned pregnancies. Combination and mini-pills have a cycle of dosage and need to be taken on prescribed schedule in order to maximize birth control pill effectiveness.

How effective are birth control pills?

When consumed in perfect fashion (no forgetting at all, taken according to prescription), birth control pills have a 0.3% failure rate. However, research shows that with typical use (occasional forgetting) the failure rate goes all the way up to 9%. This means an average of 9 women out of a 100 using the pill experience an unwanted pregnancy.

Proper use really is the key here. Pills should be taken diligently, but because of a busy lifestyle or other factors that may be very difficult.

Forgetting is actually quite common. Our own research has shown almost 80% of women forget the pill at least once per year.

How to Maximize Birth Control Pill Effectiveness?

Timing:

Timing is the most important factor to ensure the effectiveness of the pill. You must take the contraceptive pill at the same time every day. This doesn’t need to be “on the dot” if using the combination pill, but if you’re on the mini-pill you should keep a very close eye on your schedule.

Timing is the most important factor to ensure the effectiveness of the pill.

Take the pill either in the morning or before you go to sleep. You can also mark the days on your calendar or set an alarm on your smartphone. For more tips on how to remember, check our earlier blog post on this very topic.

An American Accreditation Healthcare Commission approved research by the University of Maryland also stated that the perfect time for contraceptives to be used is right after intercourse occurs.

Consumption and digestion of foods and drugs:

To have a proper effect the pill should be absorbed by the body entirely. This can, however, be impacted by vomiting or diarrhea, which can expel the pill out of the body before it has had the chance to be absorbed (usually takes 1-2 hrs).

To have a proper effect the pill should be absorbed by the body entirely.

Also if you are having other drugs on the same day as the pill, they may interfere with the oral contraceptive. Medications of this sort include for example a certain type of antibiotic, seizure medications and antifungal treatments. Here is a more thorough listing of things that can cause birth control pill failure.

It is also possible that laxative supplements such as psyllium may have an adverse effect on pill absorption. If you are using such supplements, ingest them a few hours after taking the pill to make sure and maximize birth control pill effectiveness.

Speaking of supplements, a much discussed topic has also been how some foods and herbs and the phytoestrogens they contain interfere with the pill. Phytoestrogens are dietary estrogens that mimic the estrogen in the body.

For example soybeans, nuts and oilseeds have relatively high concentrations, but more research is still needed to draw any solid conclusions whether eating these in moderation interact with pill efficiency.

Limit alcohol use:

Alcohol doesn’t influence the pill’s effectiveness, but it can affect your ability to remember to take it. If you take your pill and then throw up within a few hours, whether from illness or alcohol consumption, you may need to take another pill.

What if I miss a pill?

With a busy schedule and a lot on your plate, it’s easy to not remember the pill. Or sometimes you just, well… forget. Here’s what to do in those cases to maximize birth control pill effectiveness:

If you have missed one pill or took your first pill from the pack late:

  • Take the pill even if it means taking two on the same day and then go on with the dosage cycle as you normally would.
  • Take the reminder pills (dummy pills) to stay on track with the cycle.

If you have missed more than one pill between packs:

  • In case the number of pills left is more than seven, finish the pack and take the inactive pills accordingly before you start a fresh pack.
  • In case the number of pills left is less than seven, skip the inactive pills and start a new pack.
  • If you are about to have sex, use an additional contraceptive method such as a condom.

When you have missed a mini-pill:

  • If you’re more than 3 hours late, have the pill immediately. Take only one pill even if you have missed more than one pill.
  • The next pill must be taken as scheduled (even if it means taking two on the same day)
  • Use condoms for the next 48 hours or do not have unprotected sex if you have missed a pill.
  • If you have unprotected sex within the 48 hours, you may have to use emergency contraceptives.

It is important to note that a medical professional must be consulted with before using birth control pills and any issues must be reported immediately to ensure health and safety.

Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

References:

http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/birth-control-pills
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/miss-progestogen-only-pill.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/miss-combined-pill.aspx


Morning After Pill And Its Options

We all know the morning after pill, but there are a range of emergency contraception options available to women whose other contraception has failed, who are not on birth control, or who did not use contraception during sex. Even if you are on birth control, you may still need emergency contraception after having sex if you did not take the birth control pill on time. What types of emergency birth control methods exist and when should you take them?

Hormonal – The Morning After Pill

The first type of emergency contraception is hormonal. These pills are often referred to as the “morning after pill” and usually contain a mixture of estrogen and progestin (or, in some cases, just progestin). The sooner after unprotected sex these pills are taken, the more effective they will be, though some are effective up to five days afterwards.

There are 2 types of morning-after pills:

  • A pill with ulipristal acetate. Ella is the only brand providing this.
  • A pill with levonorgestrel. There are multiple brands offering this like: AfterPill, My Way, Plan B One Step, Take Action etc.

Where to get the morning after pill?

Hormonal emergency contraception is usually available over the counter, from a pharmacy, without a prescription. In the past, a woman would have to speak with her doctor before being able to get one of these pills. Today they are more readily available.

The two brands on the market are Levonelle (take within 72 hours of sex) and ellaOne (120 hours). Even though the manufacturers have established maximum times, it is always best to take the morning after pill as soon as possible after sex.

IUD

The second type of emergency contraception comes in the form of a copper IUD. If you have an IUD inserted less than seven days after unprotected sex, it can be very effective at preventing pregnancy. What this method does is to make the uterus completely unreceptive to sperm. If inserted before ovulation, it will kill off the sperm before it can meet an egg. If inserted after ovulation, it will make it impossible for a fertilized egg to actually implant itself in the uterus.

This is the most effective type of emergency contraception, but usually has to be inserted at a doctor’s office that has a qualified medical professional and access to the IUD. The IUD is the most effective type of EC — it works 99 times out of 100. Read here about the the pros and cons of having an IUD.

When Can I Use Emergency Contraception?

Some women will use emergency contraception in the place of more traditional contraception like condoms or birth control pills. Emergency contraception is actually not as effective as birth control and other contraception methods, making it very important for a woman not to rely expressly on that as her only method of preventing pregnancy. Emergency birth control should definitely be used if you’ve forgotten to take the (combination) pill more than two days in a row (with mini-pills already after 3 hrs), if a condom broke or leaked or if no birth control was used at all.

Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank

What Is The Best Day To Start The Pill?

You may have already decided that the pill is the best birth control option for you, but you probably still have a lot of questions. One of the most common questions women have before using this type of birth control is what is the best day to start the pill?

There are many choices and most people have their own point of view on this topic. The best thing for you to do is to understand all the possibilities and then speak with your doctor to make a final decision.

The Best Day to Start the Pill Depends on Which Pill You Choose

The answer to the question when is the best day to start the pill is a personal preference. A lot depends on which type of pill you and your doctor decide to use.

There are two common birth control pills: Combination pills which contain estrogen and progestin, and the progestin-only pills which are commonly called minipills or POPs.

The Combination Pill

There are three different approaches for choosing the best day to start a combination pill.

  1. The first option is to take the pill immediately. Women who choose this option still have the capability to conceive for the first 7 days after taking the pills. To prevent an unwanted pregnancy, it is important for couples to use a form of backup contraception, such as a condom with spermicidal gel.
  2. The second option is to begin the pill during the first day of menstruation.  Women who to start taking the pill on this day do not have to worry about using any additional forms of birth control.
  3. Finally, many women prefer to take combination birth control pills on the first Sunday after the beginning of their periods. Women who use a Sunday as the starting time are more likely to avoid having to suffer menstrual pain during the weekends when it can be more disruptive to an active lifestyle.

The Progestin-Only Pill

For women who choose to use the minipill every day is the best day to start the pill! It’s recommended to use additional birth control protection for two days afterward. However most experts suggest women should first take the pill on the initial day of their menstrual cycle to avoid having to use any backup birth control method. Many women switch from the combination pill to the minipill. These women can take the progestin-only pills the day after they finish their last combination pill.

Other Things You Should Know About When to Start the Pill

All birth control pills work best when women take them at the same time each day, but it is critical for the minipill to function properly. Forgetting to take a pill is easy. That is why most women like to link the time they take their pills to an everyday activity like eating lunch. It is best not to choose an activity which is too early in the morning or too late at night. Read here for tips on 6 effective ways to remember the birth control pill.

A couple more tips for timing birth control pills are writing down the first day you start each new set of pills on the calendar. Don’t forget to write a reminder to get next month’s supply to avoid running out.

This advice is only a guideline. Speak with your physician for more personalized information.

Related articles

blank
Morning After Pill And Its Options
blank