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

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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

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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.

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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

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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. )

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Popit Develops Research Tool for COVID-19 Treatment

The telehealth startup’s platform streamlines the global effort of finding a treatment for COVID-19.

HELSINKI, FINLAND, MAY 7TH, 2020

Finnish MedTech and telehealth startup Popit has released a research extension that makes its platform an efficient tool for finding a treatment for COVID-19. The new enhancement called POPIT INSIGHTS™ provides unprecedented real-time data on how the medications being researched are taken. At the same time data quality is improved, since patients in the study take their medications more consistently thanks to Popit’s clinically validated adherence improvement impact. The new tool basically reduces missed pills and makes studies faster. Popit already has partners for the new product and is kicking off with first studies.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the world’s scientific community has come together in an exceptional way. New studies to chart out possible treatments are constantly starting. Today, on May 7th, there are nearly 800 listed COVID-19 studies either starting or already active around the globe.1

Getting patients to take the study medications in a timely manner is highly important for research success.

On average each study has over 500 patients, biggest ones having over 40 000 participants. Getting all these patients to take the study medications in a timely manner is highly important for research success – and also for the patients themselves to benefit from the treatment. Considering the gravity of the matter it is surprising that only 43% of study patients may be adherent.2 Reminding the rest of the patients to take their medications and simply having data on if those medications were actually taken or missed have not been a part of the researchers’ toolbox.

Popit is now changing that with POPIT INSIGHTS™, an extension to the company’s existing medication adherence platform already used by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, such as Novartis and Pfizer. The new solution offers a way to monitor how medication is being consumed, remind the patient if necessary, and gather study data remotely and in real time. On top of that the deployment is easy and quick.

The researchers were struggling with the same problems we already had a tool for.

Teemu Piirainen, Popit’s CEO explains further: “The company and our initial product were created on the foundation that we want to make medication connected. When the COVID situation escalated, we started to think of ways to refine our existing solution already used by pharma to serve the research community as well. The researchers were struggling with the same problems we already had a tool for: how to get the patient to take medications better and a sophisticated way to remotely and securely get data on if the medication was taken or not.”

First partners who sign up get the tools at a zero cost.

“It just seemed like something we had to build. And now it’s available. Anyone who is starting a medication study right now should get in touch with us. We want to contribute and the first partners who sign up get the tools at a zero cost. This is our way of pitching in and we’re already starting on different continents”, continues Piirainen.

Important request

While in some parts of the world the pandemic is starting to be more controllable, Popit requests to take extra care not to miss personal medications at this time, as up to 10% of hospitalizations are due to missing regular doses3. The admissions resulting from this poor adherence cause needless burden on the already heavily strained healthcare system. Medication can only work if it’s taken.

 

About Popit:

Popit is a pioneer in improving patient adherence through smart consumer devices. The Company is dedicated to improving adherence by digitizing medication, a major opportunity that offers benefits for patients, healthcare payors and pharmaceutical companies. Popit works with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

Media contact: Timo Heikkilä, Co-founder

Email: timo popit io

Web: https://popit.io/popit-adherence-kit-for-medication-research/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/popitmed

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/popitmed

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/popit-ltd/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/popitmed

 

References:

1. https://covid-trials.com/
2. Osterberg L, Blaschke T. N Engl J Med. 2005;353:487–97
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29666309

Seedi Solutions Agency invests in Popit

Finnish startup company Popit has received a significant investment from corporate management consulting firm Seedi Solutions Agency. Popit has previously raised funding from Butterfly Ventures, business angels and Business Finland.

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.

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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.

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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.

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What Is In The Birth Control Pill?

Birth control is something that a lot of people consider. It saves you the trouble of worrying about the consequences and allows you to live your life the way you want to live it. There are many different types of birth control methods available in the market but the most common and safest one for women is to take the birth control pills. Not only are these pills safe but they also help women in keeping their internal cycles regular too.

These birth control pills may be made of a combination of female hormones or may have only one hormone depending on their type. They are taken orally (ingested through the mouth) and the amount of dosage required depends on the type of pill being used. The characteristics of the two main types of birth control pills are described as follows:

  1. Combination Pills: The most common type of oral contraceptive. These types of pills are usually a combination of two female hormones: estrogen and progestin. They help prevent pregnancies in the following ways:
  • By thickening the mucus in your cervix
  • By suppressing the process of ovulation in your body
  • By thinning the lining of your uterus.

These are the pills that are more commonly used as compared to so-called mini-pills, which we will get to in a moment. Combination pills help improve your menstrual cycle as well as reduce the cramps associated with them. This in turn reduces the chances of anemia. They also help clear up skin acne which is an added benefit for them. The combo pill may also reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Have a look at some of the other side-effects here.

  1. Mini-pills: Mini-pills, which are sometimes called Progestin-Only Pills (POP), are made up of only one type of female hormone known as progestin. These pills help thicken your cervical mucus and cause thinning in the walls of your uterus. Sometimes these pills may also act as ovulation repressants but that is usually a rare case. This is normally advised when you have shown sensitivity to estrogen.

Just like the combination pill, also the mini-pill is effective if taken daily at the same time. It is safe to use in case you are at a risk of a heart disease or stroke or are a heavy smoker. It is also safe to use in the case of breast-feeding women. With mini-pills you have less flexibility with the timing (should not be late more than 3h), and if you forget or exceed the buffer time you should use a backup contraceptive such as a condom for at least the next 48h. If you’re on the mini-pill and find it difficult to take around the same times, have a look at our recommendations on how to jog your memory.

Related articles

Birth control pill is 99% effective in the perfect use BUT only 91% in a typical use. Read this article to understand why sometimes 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

Open position: iOS & Android developer

Well hello! We are looking for an experienced iOS & Android mobile developer to join our team.

Actually “mobile developer” is bit of an understatement. You will be doing a lot more than that by being part of the team. Additional tasks include, but are not limited to: providing feedback to oddball marketing ideas, telling some ideas just plain suck and making sure the UX is top notch. So basically a gal/guy who doesn’t mind stepping outside her/his comfort zone to build a great product with the rest of the team. This is a great opportunity to improve the lives of many and make an impact on healthcare worldwide!

About the role:

At Popit you would:

  • Produce fully functional mobile applications by writing clean code
  • Design UX / UI to improve user experience
  • Work with users to understand their needs and build an app they love

As a person you are/have:

  • Passion for improving the lives of patients worldwide
  • Independence, creativity and passion for building scalable products with great user experience
  • Self-guided, self-starter
  • Highly motivated in finding new solutions to engage users
  • Capable of taking responsibility of the whole app development process

Tech requirements:

  • You have proven experience in Swift and/or Kotlin/Java
  • You have preferably released several apps on iOS and/or Android. The awesomer, the better.
  • You have excellent skills in UI development and understand a thing or two about UX
  • You understand MVC development patterns

We offer:

  • An opportunity to revolutionize traditional medication treatment globally and improve the lives of people
  • Independence and responsibility over your work
  • Full time employment with competitive salary
  • A versatile bunch of people to work with, who support you in finding solutions to all issues

We also provide the possibility to travel for work, if that is something you’re into. If not, the world is a better place with less jet exhaust emissions.

About us:

Popit was established in 2015 and is a pioneer in improving patient adherence through smart consumer devices. We are dedicated to improving adherence by digitizing medicine, a major opportunity that offers benefits for pharmaceutical companies, consumers and healthcare payors. We work by constantly iterating and testing, guided by the data we generate. At the start of 2018 Popit was listed by Silicon Republic as a top-20 health startup in Europe.

Our customers – consumers and the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies – are almost entirely outside of Finland.

Our office is located in Espoo, right next to Otaniemi and close to its metro station.

Sound interesting? We can’t wait to hear from you! Send your application to teemu [at] popit.io or call CEO Teemu Piirainen +358 44 222 6666.

First Time Starting The Birth Control Pill? Here’s What To Expect

If you wish to enjoy your sex life without having the trouble to worry about getting pregnant, then opting for birth control pills is the most common solution undertaken by most women. There are some things to expect if you are just starting birth control pills.

These pills are known to increase the amount of estrogen and progesterone so the process of ovulation doesn’t take place. The quantity of these two hormones is heightened so much by these contraceptives that they do not allow the production of other hormones that are required to ripen the egg. Hence, during the time that you take these pills, the menstruation cycle doesn’t occur at all.

It is true that none provide immediate protection against pregnancy from day one.

All modern pills have the same very good safety profile, but it is true that none provide immediate protection against pregnancy from day one. It is ideal to use additional protection for the first 14 days and then you will be safe after this.

Pregnancy risk is 9% if pills are forgotten every now and then.

It is, however, essential to bear in mind that occasional forgetfulness will cause the pill’s contraceptive efficiency to be much lower. Research highlights a pregnancy risk of 9% if pills are forgotten every now and then (vs. a perfect use risk of 0.3%). That is a 30x increase! The fact is that 1 in 10 gets pregnant while on the pill (read more about how to make sure pills work as intended). If you are on the so-called mini pill (progesterone only pill, POP), it is even more important to be on time.

We recently did a study where we asked 1694 women of all ages if they knew about the heightened risk related to occasional forgetfulness. The results were quite surprising: 54% heard about it for the first time.

Pill Pregnancy Risk Poll

The first three months of using birth control pills can be difficult. It often takes time for your body to adjust, and most women experience at least a few negative (minor) symptoms. Mostly during the first month adjustment bleeding is common. With change bleeding, it is common to see some unexpected spotting even if you aren’t technically on your period. Alternatively, the opposite can occur – some women will stop menstruating altogether. Finally, many may also experience nausea, breast tenderness, weight gain or loss, mild headaches, dizziness, or breakthrough bleeding (spotting) and turbulent emotions during their first few days on the pills.

It often takes time for your body to adjust, and most women experience at least a few negative (minor) symptoms.

Those symptoms normally stop within the first 3 months of taking pills. If these signs continue after three months, return to your clinic or doctor for a follow-up. You may be given instructions to switch to a different type of pill.

You may also need to stick it out for a few months to understand how your body will react to the pill. Of course, if you are experiencing symptoms like extreme and overwhelming nausea or severe weight gain within a few days of taking first pills, contact your doctor.

In general, however, by the third month, emotional fluctuations should be relatively unsubstantial and nausea should no longer be a part of daily living.

Breast tenderness should also disappear although you may experience increased breast fullness.

Another thing to take into consideration is that certain medications and supplements can make the pill less effective (read more about what can make birth control pills fail).

Whether you’re just getting started on the pill, or you’ve been taking them for a while, it’s a good idea to fill your doctor in whenever you add something new to your routine. When in doubt, use a backup method of birth control (and even when not in doubt, the pill doesn’t protect you against STDs). And there’s no way to be delicate about this fact: vomiting and diarrhea can also keep the pill from working. So, you know, use a condom.

If you’ve already started taking pills and have been mysteriously symptomless? That’s perfectly okay too! You’re simply one of the lucky ones out there. No need to worry but keep in touch with your doctor.

(In a clinical pilot – DOI: 10.15761/COGRM.1000217, 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, it was concluded that an on-demand reminder system increases adherence of birth control pill users. More details regarding this study can be found here. )

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This Is What Your Blood Pressure Readings Mean

If you have ever been to see a doctor, then you have had your blood pressure taken, usually by a nurse before your appointment begins. You might have to remove your arm from a bulky sleeve and sit with your legs uncrossed in front of you. The healthcare professional then places a cuff around your upper arm and inflates it. As the arm cuff slowly deflates, he or she will listen to your pulse with a stethoscope while watching a gauge on the cuff which measures the pressure inside your veins in a scale of units called millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Home blood pressure measuring devices and those at pharmacies use the same basic principles to measure blood pressure.

When finished, you will have your blood pressure reading given to you as two numbers, for example 120/70 mm Hg (read: 120 over 70 millimeters of mercury). To understand what your blood pressure readings mean, you need to know a little anatomy, the difference between the two numbers and also which readings would be considered low, normal or high.

What’s What? Understanding Systolic and Diastolic Numbers

When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries and veins, delivering the oxygen and nutrients your body’s cells need to function. Respectively, the systolic and diastolic numbers record the amount of pressure your blood exerts onto the walls of your arteries when the heart pumps and when it relaxes between beats.

  • The Top Number: Systolic pressure, measured on the heartbeat
  • The Bottom Number: Diastolic pressure, measured between beats

With age, a person’s systolic blood pressure will steadily rise due to the long-term build up of plaque, large arteries which begin to harden and the increasing frequency of age-related cardiovascular disease. A high systolic number is usually considered more serious than a high diastolic number. Both, however, can be serious and should be addressed. According to the American Heart Association, “the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.”

How Does Your Reading Compare?

On its own, your blood pressure reading doesn’t mean much. To understand how it relates to your health and if you have low, normal or high blood pressure (hypertension), you must compare your reading to a chart. The American Heart Association recognizes the following four blood pressure categories:

  1. Normal – Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  2. Elevated – 120 to 129 mm Hg systolic and below 80 diastolic
  3. Hypertension Stage 1 – 130 to 139 mm Hg systolic or 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic
  4. Hypertension Stage 2 – 140/90 mm Hg or higher
  5. Hypertensive Crisis (requires medical attention) – Readings exceed 180/120 mm Hg

Before you can categorize your blood pressure, take a range of readings, using an at-home device to measure blood pressure at different times of day, after different levels of activity and before and after mealtimes. Now that you understand what blood pressure readings mean, talk with your doctor about steps you can take to lower your blood pressure and prevent future heart problems.

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