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.
Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills And Antibiotics
There isnt much scientific research on the adverse side effects of taking antibiotics with birth control pills. In theory, similar side effects of both drugs may worsen when both types of drugs are taken together. These side effects may include:
Side effects vary depending on the person and the class of antibiotic taken. Not everyone who takes birth control pills and antibiotics experiences negative side effects.
Despite anecdotal evidence that antibiotics lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills, there may be other factors at play that lead to birth control failure. For example, you may not take your birth control pills on time or you may skip a pill or two if youre ill. You may not absorb the pill properly if youre vomiting. While it may seem that antibiotics are to blame, it may be a coincidence.
How Can You Tell If Your Pill Or Antibiotics Are Working
The Pill should be working, even after taking antibiotics but if you have had sex and you experience the following symptoms it is advisable to take a pregnancy test:
- Your period is over 7 days late
- Your period is lighter or heavier than usual
- You have any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
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Overall Recommendation For Diet And Sibo
It reportedly takes about 2 to 5 years on average for SIBO to be completely corrected.
For this reason its important to explore the different treatment options and find what works for you. Unfortunately, there is no single diet guaranteed to treat SIBO 100% effectively.
From the weight of evidence, two weeks of antibiotics is warranted first in order to deal with acute symptoms and bacterial overgrowth. A prokinetic may be required afterwards.
This should be followed by a low FODMAP diet to identify any food intolerance. The SCD diet is also something worth exploring, as is probiotic supplementation after a low FODMAP diet.
This all needs to be done under the supervision of your doctor and dietitian.
If you would like more information on how to eat for SIBO, which involves what we call a low FODMAP diet, tap the button below to download our Eat This, Not That list as well as additional resources for treating SIBO
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About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
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.
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Common Risk Factors For Sibo
Researchers suspect SIBO is caused by a combination of decreased pancreatic enzymes, bile acids and gut motility.
Consequently, certain health conditions or lifestyle choices may increase your risk of developing SIBO:
- Gastrointestinal infections: Such as post-infectious IBS
- Chronic use of antacids: Long-term antacid use reduces acid production in the stomach. Consistently low levels of stomach acid can lead to bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and small intestine .
- Immunodeficiency Syndrome: Disorders that can suppress our immune system such as AIDS and IgA antibody deficiency provide an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to thrive .
- Celiac disease:Celiac disease can disturb how food moves through the intestines, particularly if it remains undiagnosed or is poorly managed. This leads to increased bacterial growth in the gut .
- Aging: In general, older people are at increased risk for SIBO because our digestive tract gets weaker with age. This is thought to be caused by reduced physical activity, weight gain, ongoing medication use and general weakening of the gastrointestinal tract .
- Alcoholism: Chronic alcohol consumption appears to increase risk of SIBO .
- Gastroparesis: There is a strong overlap between symptoms, and it seems those with gastroparesis are more likely to have SIBO .
Summary: Your risk of SIBO is greatly increased by several conditions and factors, most often related to reduced function and efficiency of the intestines.
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Is It Safe To Take The Pill Together With Antibiotics
In most cases it’s not a problem usually when you have an infection or are ill your doctor will prescribe standard antibiotics and there is no real need to worry about interactions between these and your Pill. Both the progestogen-only and the combined contraceptive pill can be taken with broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Antibiotics can indirectly affect the Pill if your antibiotics cause you to vomit or to have severe diarrhoea then this can stop your Pill from working. If you have vomited or had diarrhoea within 2 hours of taking your Pill, it may not have been absorbed in time and you may need to take another contraceptive tablet, or depending on the type of contraceptive, may even need to take further protective measures. You should always read the patient information leaflet with your medication to ensure you are using your medication correctly.
Make sure to mention your other medications during your assessment if your doctor is going to prescribe you with antibiotics, let them know that youre on the Pill. Tell them which one you take or if you can, take the box with you to your appointment, so your doctor can check for any possible interactions. They should then advise you about how to prevent pregnancy, based on your current contraception method.
There are two antibiotics which are known to affect the pill directly they are:
These antibiotics are not prescribed often and are used to treat and prevent tuberculosis , meningitis and MRSA.
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Herbal Supplements And Vitamins
St. Johns wort is a supplement that people take to help with symptoms of depression, insomnia, or anxiety. Soy isoflavones is from a soybean plant and may reduce menopause-related hot flashes or help maintain strong bones. Research has shown that supplements like these may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
There is some thought that St. Johns Wort, typically used to help with symptoms of depression, contains ingredients which may speed up the breakdown of estrogen, rendering birth control less effective, Dr. Torres says. Vitamin C, often taken to boost immune function, can interact with birth control as well. Estrogen can cause increases in vitamin C levels, which could potentially be problematic.
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Im On Hormonal Birth Control Can I Get Pregnant If I Take Antibiotics
In most cases, no, as long as you continue to use your hormonal contraception as prescribed you are safe from pregnancy even if you are on antibiotics.
It is a myth that all antibiotics will interfere with the efficacy of your birth control pill.
There is however, one class of antibiotics that is the exception: rifamycins .
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I Need To Take These Medications What Are My Options
If you are already on hormonal birth control and are about to start taking one of these medications, your provider will discuss birth control options with you to make sure your medications dont interact. The birth control shot, IUD, or implant may be your best bet.
If you are interested in starting hormonal birth control, be sure to let your provider know about your existing prescriptions. If you are taking one of the medications above and decide to stop, be aware that it could take up to 28 days after stopping before any hormonal birth control will be fully effective. In the meantime, you will need backup contraception.
Either way, your prescriber will be able to advise you on the safest birth control for you depending on what other meds you take or are about to start.
Oral Contraceptive Steroid Pharmacokinetics
The estrogens most commonly found in oral contraceptive preparations are ethinylestradiol and mestranol, a prodrug which is metabolized to ethinylestradiol. After metabolism via the first pass effect, ethinylestradiol has an oral bioavailability of 40% to 50% . Hydroxylation is the main metabolic pathway for ethinylestradiol, whereas conjugation is considered to be a minor pathway in most women, resulting in sulphation or glucuronidation of the original estrogenic steroid. Glucuronide and sulphate conjugates reach the small intestine by way of the bile duct. Hydrolytic enzymes of intestinal bacteria break the conjugates down, resulting in the release of free, active estrogenic hormone. The active hormone is then available for reabsorption and undergoes enterohepatic cycling, which is responsible for plasma estrogen levels necessary for contraception.
The progestins present in oral contraceptive pills also undergo conjugation. Hydrolysis of conjugates leads to the formation of inactive metabolites because the parent molecule cannot be directly conjugated. Progestins are not thought to undergo extensive enterohepatic cycling and are, thus, less likely to be involved in drug interactions with antibiotics than ethinylestradiol .
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What Antibiotics Are Known To Interfere With The Birth Control Pill
There are dozens of antibiotics on the market that are prescribed for different infections. Some infections can be so aggressive that a person may need to try several rounds of antibiotics before getting better. Also, antibiotics can be called by different names, although they are the same drug. Its crucial that patients on the pill ask their doctor if the antibiotic they are getting can interfere with their birth control pill, ring, or patch.
Only 2 antibiotics have been shown to have an effect on birth control pills: Rifampin and Griseofulvin.
Rifampin is a drug used to treat tuberculosis, so it is fortunately not commonly prescribed in the U.S.
Topical antibiotics do NOT interfere with birth control pill effectiveness.
A study from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology states that pharmacokinetic evidence demonstrates that levels of oral contraceptive steroids are unchanged with combined administration of antibiotics, showed the following antibiotics do NOT affect birth control pills blood levels of birth control hormones = they are OK to use with birth control pills.
Peppermint And Other Essential Oils
Enteric-coated peppermint oil has proven to be effective in reducing symptoms like bloating in patients with IBS .
In this study, the researchers found that peppermint oil decreases the production of hydrogen, a bacterial byproduct in patients with SIBO.
Other essential oils including oregano, tarragon, frankincense, wormwood, and clove oil may also lend some relief.
Do know that these oils can be potent. Before starting any essential oil regimen, check with a skilled practitioner to help you determine exact dosing.
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Is Plan B Right For You
There are some cases in which Plan B or other morning-after pills are less effective, such as in people who are overweight . The drug also may not be as effective for people who take certain medications. These include anticonvulsant drugs, antibiotics, the tuberculosis treatment rifampicin, the antimicrobial drug Mycobutin , Grifulvin V for treating certain skin infections, and St. Johns wort, a dietary supplement sometimes used to treat depression.
People who have abnormal vaginal bleeding or may be allergic to any of the pill’s ingredients shouldn’t take Plan B. And if you know you’re already pregnant, you should not take Plan B. However, don’t worry if you take the drug and then discover that you’re expecting it won’t harm your pregnancy.
How Effective Is Plan B One
A levonorgestrel morning-after pill like Plan B One Step, Take Action, My Way, Option 2, Preventeza, AfterPill, My Choice, Aftera, and EContra can lower your chance of getting pregnant by 75-89% if you take it within three days after unprotected sex.
You can take Plan B and other levonorgestrel morning-after pills up to five days after unprotected sex. But sooner is better the longer you wait to take it, the less effective it is.
These types of morning-after pills may not work if you weigh 155 pounds or more. If thats the case, the copper IUD or ella are better options for you. Our handy quiz can help you figure out which EC is best for you.
Though there are many different brands of levonorgestrel morning-after pills, they all work the same way. All brands have the same amount of medicine and the same effectiveness, no matter how much they cost.
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Antibiotics And Birth Control: Does Medication Affect Hormonal Contraceptives
Youve probably heard that some medications may affect the way birth control works. But what about antibiotics? Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, and its important to take the full course when theyre prescribed. Dive into this article to find out how birth control and antibiotics work together and what to do about it.
First Line Of Treatment: Sibo And Antibiotics
Diet alone will not rid of SIBO, so youll need antibiotics or herbs as your first line of treatment.
Conventional treatment for unwanted bacterial growth is antibiotics .
Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, which is why they are prescribed when you have an infection.
The usual antibiotics used are rifaximin, ciprofloxacin or metronidazole.
Rifaximin is the most well-studied antibiotic for SIBO, with a success rate of about 50% after 1 week. A combination of rifaximin and other antibiotic, neomycin, has been shown to be around 85% effective after 10 days .
Here is the recommended therapy, according to information from a SIBO symposium in 2014:
- Patients with a positive hydrogen breath test: 550 mg rifaximin 3 times per day for 14 days .
- Patients with a positive methane breath test: 550 mg rifaximin 3 times per day + 500 mg neomycin twice a day for 14 days. Alternatively, 550 mg rifaximin 3 times per day with 250 mg metronidazole 3 times per day for 14 days.
- Antibiotics treatment should be followed by a pro kinetic for 3 months, a repeat breath test and then a low FODMAP diet .
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Alternatives To Plan B
If you’re considering using emergency contraception, there are more effective options than Plan B and similar morning-after pills. These include having a ParaGard IUD inserted within five days or getting a prescription for Ella , which also must be taken within five days after having unprotected sex but is as effective at that point as it is on day one.
Where Can I Get The Plan B Morning
You can buy levonorgestrel morning-after pills over the counter without a prescription at drugstores and pharmacies. It doesnt matter how old you are and it doesnt matter what your gender is. Sometimes the morning-after pill is locked up or kept behind the counter, so you may have to ask the pharmacist or store clerk for help getting it but you dont have to have a prescription or show your ID.
You can also get the morning-after pill at many family planning or health department clinics, and Planned Parenthood health centers.
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The Connection Between Antibiotics And Birth Control Pills
To date, the only antibiotic proven to impact birth control pills is rifampin. This drug is used to treat tuberculosis and other bacterial infections. If you take this medication while using birth control pills, it decreases the hormone levels in your birth control pills. This decrease in hormone levels can affect whether ovulation is prevented. In other words, your birth control becomes less effective. Rifampin also decreases hormone levels in the birth control patch and vaginal ring.
Other drugs may make birth control less effective, such as:
- some anti-HIV protease inhibitors
- some anti-seizure medications
- the antifungal drug griseofulvin
Birth control pills may make other drugs less effective, such as analgesics and blood pressure medications. The effects of antidepressants, bronchodilators, and tranquilizers may be increased when you use them with birth control pills.