Can Sulfa Antibiotics Ie Bactrim Affect Oral Birth Control
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Foods Herbs And Supplements That Can Make Your Birth Control Less Effective
You might not realize that there are certain foods, supplements, and other things you consume that can be getting in the way of how well your birth control works. It sounds crazy, but its actually really easy to stop contraception in its tracks, so make sure its not happening to you by keeping these 14 things out of your diet:
Licorice Its delicious as a snack, but avoid too much of it if youre on the birth control pill. Licorice can boost your blood pressure which isnt a good thing since oral contraceptives do the same thing. It can also effect your reproductive hormones, which could make you fall pregnant!
Grapefruit Its a healthy, tasty fruit, but it can affect your intestinal enzymes that control how your body absorbs certain medicines. Grapefruit also decreases how much estrogen gets broken down by the body, which boosts the hormones presence. It could therefore potentially cause your contraception side effects to be increased.
St. Johns wort This is a herbal remedy people use for treating depression, but it can decrease how well your birth control works, according to Brown University in Rhode Island. Be sure that any liquid extracts, pills, or herbal teas you consume dont contain this flowering plant.
Red clover If youre suffering from bad PMS symptoms, you might reach for red clover to treat it but dont. It contains isoflavones that act like estrogen, so it can increase the estrogen-related side effects of your birth control.
Early Signs Of Pregnancy
If a person is concerned about contraceptive failure and the possibility of being pregnant, they should speak to their doctor. However, there are also some early signs that can indicate pregnancy:
- Bloating. While bloating is often a symptom of premenstrual syndrome, it can sometimes also be a sign of early pregnancy.
- Breast tenderness. Raised levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause breast tenderness early in pregnancy. Some women may also experience symptoms, such as tingling, heaviness, or feelings of breast fullness.
- Light spotting. A small amount of bleeding or spotting can occur when an egg attaches to the uterine lining. If spotting occurs outside of an expected menstrual cycle, it may be an early symptom of pregnancy.
- Unexplained fatigue. Hormonal changes that occur in the body during pregnancy can make a person feel tired, even during the early stages.
- Urinating more often. Hormonal changes can increase a womans need to urinate during early pregnancy.
Anyone who thinks they could be pregnant may wish to take an at-home pregnancy test. These tests have become more sensitive to a persons hormone levels and better at detecting pregnancy in its earliest stages.
However, at-home pregnancy tests still may not reliable if an individual takes it too early or does not follow the instructions correctly. According to the United States
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Can You Take Both Antibiotics And Birth Control At The Same Time
You get an infection, and the doctor tells you to take antibiotics. But what if you’re on birth controlwill the pill still work?
Top researchers say that most women who take antibioticsexcept for one called rifampinshould expect their birth control to work as expected. Planned Parenthood says the same thing more directly: antibiotics “won’t change the effectiveness of your birth control.”
But it’s not always that simple. Researchers at Harvard Medical School haven’t found enough evidence to say for sure that antibiotics don’t affect birth control. Therefore, they have to say that taking antibiotics might affect birth control, just to be on the safe side. The paper insert inside your birth control pack might say that too.
The short answer is you probably won’t get pregnant, but you can ask your doctor or health care provider to ensure that the antibiotics won’t interfere with your birth control pills.
And if you’re in a spot where you can’t ask your provider for advice, or if you’re just unsure, the best option would be to use a backup method like a condom when taking antibiotics.
What The Research Says
Research indicates that most antibiotics do not have an effect on oral contraceptives.
And while earlier data reported that, in extremely rare circumstances, amoxicillin, ampicillin, metronidazole, and tetracycline have caused contraceptive failure, most researchers consider these studies to be too small to be conclusive.
The bottom line: Its safe to use most antibiotics with most birth control.
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Antibiotics Can Make Birth Control Less Effective
Drug interactions are the Achilles heel of both medicine and pharmacy. Thats because research on this complicated problem is often lacking. In addition, physicians and pharmacists rely on databases that may be inaccurate or outdated, not to mention confusing.
Sometimes one drug cancels out the benefits of another. Other times a combination leads to unanticipated complications. Such is the case with antibiotics and oral contraceptives.
Several women have written to us that they were not warned about the possibility of an interaction between their antibiotic and their birth control pills. Here are a few examples:
I went to urgent care for a bad sore throat last night and was diagnosed with strep. They very carefully noted relationship status and birth control in my freshly created record. I was prescribed penicillin for 10 days. At no point was I told the antibiotic might interact with my birth control. With considerable effort, this reader discovered for herself that there was the possibility of an interaction.
Another reader didnt find out until it was too late: I am pregnant, and I believe it is because of an antibiotic my doctor prescribed. He says that is impossible and that I must have skipped a pill. I am extremely conscientious about my birth control pills. It makes me mad that he is treating me like an airhead.
We heard from another woman:
Anticonvulsants / Mood Stabilizers
If you have epilepsy or bipolar disorder, make sure you speak to your doctor about your medications possible interaction with hormonal birth control. Barbiturate medicines commonly used as anticonvulsants, sleep aids, and mood stabilizers have been known to interfere with birth control these include felbamate, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, and primidone. Other medicines for treating seizures and nerve pain, like oxcarbazepine, carbamazepine, phenytoin, and topiramate, are also known to make birth control less effective. Unfortunately, these negative interactions are a two-way street, meaning they weaken the effects of birth control and birth control weakens their effects too. In any case, if you are on a mood stabilizer or anticonvulsant and want to prevent pregnancy, talk to your doctor about your options.
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The Claim: Antibiotics Cancel Out Birth Control
If you use birth control, a widely shared post on Facebook claims you should avoid antibiotics.
PSA: Antibiotics will cancel out your birth control and your doctor will f—ing forget to tell you that, reads a shared more than 83,000 times.
The post was published in October 2018, but it continues to gain traction on Facebook. And the post’s claim is misleading.
Experts say most antibiotics do not interfere with the effectiveness of contraceptives. The only exception is rifampin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis.
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.
Which Antibiotics Can Interfere With Birth Control
Rifampin is the only antibiotic that’s been proven to make hormonal birth control unreliable. Also known as Rifadin and Rimactane, it’s usually used to treat tuberculosis and other bacterial infections like meningitis.
To clarify, when we talk about hormonal birth control, we mean any type of birth control that uses hormones to keep you from getting pregnant. Note that you may hear birth control being called “contraception” or “contraceptives,” which are the medical terms.
A list of different birth control methods that put hormones into your body are:
- Birth control pills
- Birth control patches
- Birth control shots
- Vaginal rings
- Intrauterine devices
- Birth control implants
If you use the pill, the patch, or the ring, taking rifampin can make your birth control less effective, meaning there’s a chance that it may not stop you from getting pregnant.
If you start taking rifampin, you should also use a backup birth control method to lower your chances of getting pregnant.
Fortunately, most other antibiotics shouldn’t affect birth control at all. For example, this 2002 study, published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that these antibiotics aren’t likely to interfere with hormonal birth control:
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What To Do If Youre On A Medication That Might Affect Your Contraception
If youre on medication that can change how effective your hormonal contraceptive is, its important to take other steps to avoid an unintended pregnancy. This means using a barrier contraceptive like a condom or diaphragm.
Dont try to cancel out the antibiotics by doubling up on birth control pills the way the medications interact in your body is complicated and unpredictable, so taking a bigger dose of contraceptives doesnt work.
It isnt always clear how long antibiotics continue to affect hormonal birth control, so doctors usually recommend continuing to use a barrier method or alternative to hormonal contraception to prevent pregnancy for at least seven days after the end of the antibiotic course. This can be a nice time to try other ways of having sex or being intimate.
How Antibiotics Might Affect Birth Control
Some types of antibiotics have the potential to affect birth control because they can alter the bodys hormone levels. Hormonal birth control methods that these antibiotics might impact include:
- The pill
- The ring
- The shot
All four of these birth control methods contain the hormones estrogen and/or progestin which thickens the mucus in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg, and thin the lining of the uterus to reduce the chance of getting pregnant. The methods that contain estrogen also prevent you from ovulating, while progestin-only methods stop ovulation but not consistently. Certain antibiotics can lower the levels of estrogen and progestin in your body, potentially to the point of affecting your birth control.
Theoretically, antibiotics might also reduce your birth controls efficacy by interrupting the recirculation of estrogens in the body a process called enterohepatic circulation. They do this by killing the bacteria in the small intestine that help break the hormone down and redistribute it within the body.
For these reasons, many manufacturers have historically placed warnings on antibiotic labels to inform women about this risk. Over the years, scientists have done many studies on various types of antibiotics effects on hormonal birth control to determine which ones you should and should not take at the same time.
What Other Types Of Drugs Can Alter Birth Control Effectiveness
Other drugs besides rifampin or the rifamycins may affect birth control reliability. Other drugs that induce enzymes can affect hormonal levels of your birth control and may lower its effectiveness.
Therefore, always have your doctor or pharmacist complete a drug interaction review any time you start or even stop a medication. This includes prescription medicines, as well as over-the-counter drugs, vitamin and herbal or dietary supplements.
- The antifungal medicine griseofulvin may lead to lower levels of birth control hormones and reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
- Certain seizures drugs can also lower the effectiveness of combined birth control pills, for example the anticonvulsant medications such as:
- and barbiturates like phenobarbital
If youre taking any of these drugs use condoms as a backup method. Talk to your doctor about switching to a different nonhormonal method of birth control if youll be on these interacting drugs for a long time.
And remember, the main reason women get pregnant when using the pill is because they do not take it correctly.
What Other Kinds Of Medication Can Interact With Birth Control
Rifampin may be the only antibiotic proven to lower the effectiveness of hormonal birth control, but it’s not the only drug that can do so. These medicines can also increase your chances of getting pregnant while taking hormonal birth control:
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How Do Antibiotics Impact The Birth Control Pill Birth Control Ring Birth Control Patch
There are two different ways that antibiotics can interfere with the birth control pill, birth control patch, birth control rings effectiveness. Mainly, antibiotics can decrease the level of estrogen hormones in your blood and how the liver processes these hormones. The estrogen in most birth control pills and in the birth control patch, and the birth control ring is a synthetic hormone called ethinyl estradiol. Estrogen helps prevent ovulation and subsequent conception from occurring.
The liver processes everything a person puts into their body, including the hormones in birth control pills, birth control patches, birth control rings, and other medications. When someone takes specific antibiotics, these antibiotics increase the livers ability and speed at which it breaks down the estrogen hormones in the pill, patch, and ring. If someone is taking the pill, using the birth control patch or ring and one of these antibiotics at the same time, the estrogen in the pills/patch/ring that helps prevent pregnancy will be decreased. An unintended pregnancy can result from this process.
Q& a: Antibiotics And Birth Control
I have heard that taking antibiotics can make the birth control pill not work. I recently had a bladder infection and had to take antibiotics. Do I need to be using another method of birth control and for how long?
This is an excellent question as there are definitely misconceptions about how other medications may affect the birth control pill. The most commonly used birth control pills are a combination of estrogen and progesterone. A birth control pill may also consist of progesterone alone, this is often referred to as a mini-pill.
The most common medications that can increase the livers activity are actually anti-seizure or anti-convulsant medications. According to the World health Organization women taking the anticonvulsants phenytoin , carbamazepine , barbiturates, primidone, topiramate or oxcarbazepine should not rely on a birth control pill for contraception. A birth control pill is not harmful to these women but its effectiveness may be decreased and the woman could experience an unplanned pregnancy. There are other effective methods of birth control for these women including depo-provera, nexplanon and intrauterine devices. Interestingly, birth control pills may actually reduce the effectiveness of the anticonvulsant lamotrigine by increasing the livers clearance of that medication. Anti-convulsants that do not seem to affect the birth control pill include gabapentin , levetriacetam , and tiagabine.
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Will Emergency Contraception Like Plan B Work If I Am On These Medications
Emergency contraception like Plan B may not work if you:
Weigh over 165 pounds
Take anti-seizure medications, antibiotics for TB, HIV medications, or St. Johns Wort
Have recently used anti-seizure medications, antibiotics for TB, HIV medications, or St. Johns Wort
In these cases, the best method of emergency contraception is the copper IUD, for example, ParaGard. This will need to be inserted by a trained healthcare professional within 5 days of having unprotected sex. For more information about emergency contraception, see our blog post here.
Can Antibiotics Cause Irregular Periods
Antibiotics don’t typically have any effect on your menstrual cycle. If you notice irregular periods around the time you’re taking antibiotics, it’s likely to be caused by illness or stress. They may not affect your period, but some antibiotics can make you more at risk for a yeast infection.
For more information, take a look at the pill package insert. It might say that women have had “contraceptive failure and breakthrough bleeding” after taking antibiotics like ampicillin.
Drugs like Rifampin interfere with birth control pills at the hormonal level. To understand why you need to know how birth control pills affect your hormones.
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Medications That Interfere With Birth Control
Birth control failure is much more serious than a Tylenol that hasnt quite cured your headache. If your birth control doesnt work, then you risk an unwanted pregnancy. So, its important to be aware of any medications that may interfere with your contraceptions effectiveness.
Before you take any new medication consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see if the medication could interfere with your birth control pills.
Is It True That Antibiotics Can Make Birth Control Stop Working
I was watching tv, and they said that if your on birth control and taking antibiotics the birth control will stop working. Im on the pill right now, and Ive had to start taking antibiotics because of a kidney infection. Is it true that the birth control will stop working? and if it does how long after I stop taking the antibiotics will the birth control work again?
No. You can take the antibiotic youve been prescribed for your kidney infection and your birth control pill will keep protecting you. Only one antibiotic is known to make the pill less effective. That is rifampin, a special medication used to treat tuberculosis. The brand names include Rifadin and Rimactane. Other antibiotics do not make the pill less effective. There are medications that can interact with the pill and decrease its effectiveness. Also, the pill can decrease or increase the effectiveness of some medications. Thats why its important to be honest with your health care provider and let her or him know if youre on the pill. Always let providers know about all the drugs and medications you take prescription, over-the-counter, recreational before they prescribe anything new for you.
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