If antibiotics have been prescribed, you may be worried about how it will affect your birth control. Learn more about antibiotics that affect birth control.
Discovered in the 1920s by Scottish doctor Alexander Fleming, antibiotics have become one of the pillars of health by helping the immune system fight off infections. However, if your doctor has already prescribed antibiotics, you may have been told that it can make birth control pills less effective.
Many antibiotic information sheets come with warnings to suggest the same thing. In common, the answer is no, most antibiotics do not affect birth control, but it is important to know that antibiotics do not interfere with your birth control and consult a doctor if you have questions. Let’s take a closer check at antibiotics and birth control.
What are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are a type of medication designed to nullify bacteria through any of the following:
- To kill definitive bacteria
- Prevent bacteria from multiplying and spreading
- To hinder the vital processes that are necessary for the maintenance of bacteria
Different antibiotics work on different types of bacteria. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, which include amoxicillin, gentamicin, and levofloxacin, are designed to impact a wide range of bacteria. Penicillin, azithromycin, and other narrow-spectrum antibiotics impact only a few specific types of bacteria.
How do Antibiotics work?
Different antibiotics have different mechanisms to work with. Some affect the way bacteria operate, while others can break down bacterial cell walls. It is important to remember that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. This means that it is useless against viral and fungal infections.
You should never take antibiotics to treat the common cold and the flu, stomach flu, and other infections caused by a virus. Overuse or misuse of antibiotics can create “superbugs,” resistant to conventional bacteria.
In addition to viral and fungal infections, antibiotics can be used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections and diseases, including:
What is the Birth Control Pill?
Birth Control Pill? Birth control pills are a form of medication that can be taken once a day to prevent pregnancy. The pill comes in a variety of forms, from various brands, offering an easy, convenient, and affordable way for contraception.
When used perfectly, the pill is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, although, in real-life applications, the pill will prevent pregnancies from 91 percent of the time, which is still an effective value.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work?
For information, Birth control pills work directly on a woman’s hormones to stop ovulation, which is the process where an ovary releases the ovum. Without ovulation, there is no egg for a sperm cell to fertilize, so that you can not get pregnant. The pill also contains hormones that thicken the cervical mucus. Thicker mucus from the lining of the cervix becomes more difficult for sperm to swim up an egg.
Birth control pills usually come in two forms. Combination pills contain estrogen and progesterone hormones and work by disrupting ovulation, thickening of the cervical mucus, and thinning of the cervical mucosa. Combination tablets come in packs of 28 to 21. In both cases, only 21 tablets are active, which means they contain hormones. With 28 days of packs, the additional seven tablets contain hormones but are designed to help you preserve the habit of taking one tablet a day.
Combination pills have different amounts of estrogen and progesterone types. Monophasic pills have the same number of hormones for each day throughout the month. Other tablets, such as triphasic tablets, vary the hormone dosage and concentration throughout the month.
Progestin-only pills have been designed for women who are sensitive to estrogen. They work by a thickening of the cervical mucus and thinning of the uterine mucosa. They do not suppress ovulation as combined pills, but they are still as effective. Progestin-based pills also come in packs of 28, but all 28 pills are active and contain progesterone.
Does Using Antibiotics Affect Birth Control?
Yes and no. Antibiotics definitely have the potential to make birth control less effective. Another antibiotic can cause enzymes in the liver to break estrogens faster by lowering the level of estrogen in the body and decreasing the effects of birth control pills.
Antibiotics can also potentially reduce the recirculation of estrogen throughout your body. Estrogen is broken in the liver and converted into other chemicals that are then dispersed in your intestines. Bacteria inside your intestines carry these chemicals and reform them in the active estrogen, which is reabsorbed in the body. In theory, antibiotics can neutralize bacteria that convert chemicals back into estrogen, but studies have yet to prove that this can lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
To date, the only antibiotic that is known to decrease the effect of birth control pills is rifampicin, which is generally prescribed as a treatment for tuberculosis and infections that can lead to meningitis. Rifampicin can lower estrogen levels in your birth control pill by reducing the pill’s ability to suppress ovulation.
Rifampicin can also impact hormone levels in vaginal rings and birth control patches. So, If you are on birth control and are prescribed rifampicin, consider asking for an alternative or make sure you use a secondary form of birth control, which is not affected by hormonal changes like condoms.
In addition to rifampicin, you shouldn’t have any problems taking an antibiotic while on birth control.
Another thing That Can Reduce The Effectiveness Of Birth Control
Birth control is mainly affected by forgetting to take it every day, although diarrhea and vomiting over a period of 48 hours can also decrease the efficacy of the pill. Another medications and supplements that can potentially reduce the effectiveness of birth control include:
- The wort of St. John, an herb, often used as a treatment for depression
- Some medicines used to treat HIV
- Some anti-seizure medicines
- Griseofulvin, treatment for fungal infections, including ringworm and athlete’s foot
The Benefits of the Birth Control Pill
The greatest benefit of the contraceptive pill (besides effectively preventing pregnancy) is its convenience. It is non-invasive (that is, you do not have to undergo any type of surgical procedure), and the small size of the packs means you can take your pills. As long as you take the pills correctly, you are protected from pregnancy all day long.
If you decide that it is the right time to have children, you can simply stop taking the birth control pill. While it may take a some months for the return period to your previous cycle used the pill, you can still get pregnant once you stop taking the pill.
Birth control pills can also help with your time, making them more regular and simpler to predict. The hormones in birth control pills can also help relieve the pain and discomfort of periods by reducing menstrual cramps and making your periods lighter.
Combination pills can also help reduce or even prevent:
- The premenstrual syndrome.
- Anemia (iron deficiencies).
- Infections in the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
- A weakening of bones (osteoporosis or osteopenia).
- Cancer of the endometrium and ovaries.
- Cysts in the ovaries and breasts.
While birth control pills offer a wide range of benefits, they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. This means that you should still use a condom during intercourse and take appropriate measures to reduce your risk of getting an infection.
How to Get Antibiotics
A doctor may only prescribe antibiotics, but the process is quite simple. When you get sick, visit your doctor in person or online. Your doctor will perform a physical examination, ask about your personal health history, and consider the symptoms that you may be experiencing. That is frequently enough for your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and order antibiotics online or in person.
However, if your doctor needs extra information to make a diagnosis, they may require laboratory tests. These tests allow you to identify the specific bacteria infecting your body and prescribe the most effective antibiotic to neutralize the bacteria.
How to use Antibiotics
Most antibiotics come in the form of tablets or capsules that are taken orally, but some are injected while others are topical and applied directly to the impact body part. You should feel the impact of antibiotics on an infection within the first few hours, and the symptoms usually get better on the first day.
Another antibiotics should be taken on an empty stomach, usually about one hour before meals or two hours after meals. Another antibiotics should not be consumed in conjunction with certain foods and beverages. For example, you should not consume dairy products while you are taking tetracycline as dairy products can affect how the antibiotic is absorbed. You should also stop drink alcohol if you are taking metronidazole.
Most significant, make sure you take the full course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor to totally eliminate the infection. Even if you feel better, you may still have bacteria in your system, which may eventually grow and re-infect your body, which leads to more serious symptoms.
Early stopping also increases the chances of breeding bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotics, forcing you to carry more powerful antibiotics that can have more serious side effects. Even worse, you can potentially spread these antibiotic-resistant bacteria to other people by expanding the population of hard-to-kill bacteria.
Another things to remember about taking antibiotics:
- Do not take more antibiotics than your doctor has prescribed.
- Avoid keeping remaining antibiotics for another hour.
- Do not share antibiotics with other people. They can be infected by a different type of bacteria, which can lead to resistance to antibiotics.
- Familiarize yourself with the side effects of antibiotics.