We’ve seen how the use of antibiotics can potentially reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills if taken at the same time. In this continuation, we’ll take a look at other medication that can have an impact on the effectiveness of your contraceptives. When you take 2 or more medicines at the same time, the possibility that the effects of 1 medicine are altered by another are increased. This is known as an interaction.
Speak to your doctor about your medicine interaction with hormonal birth control if you are taking anything for epilepsy or bipolar disorder. Medicines commonly used as anticonvulsants, sleep aids, and mood stabilizers have been known to interfere with birth control.
Other medicines for treating seizures and nerve pain, like oxcarbazepine and carbamazepine, are also known to make birth control less effective. Unfortunately, the negative interactions between meds mean they weaken the effects of both birth control and the other medication. A double whammy. In any case, if you are on a mood stabilizer or anticonvulsant and want to prevent pregnancy, talk to your doctor about your options.
The two main antifungal medications to watch out for, which have been known to interfere with birth control are:
Nystatin – Which is used to treat yeast infections.
Griseofulvin – Which is used to treat fungal skin infections like jock itch, athlete’s foot and ringworm. This is mainly used when other anti-fungal medication has been ineffective.
Scientists have stated that anti-fungal meds affecting your birth are a low risk factor, but they do encourage checking with your doctor.
Scientist have shown that using an antidepressant together with your birth control will not disrupt its effectiveness. This is to say if you’re on the pill and you start taking Prozac, this will not diminish or increase your chances of getting pregnant. Since antidepressants affect your hormone levels, you might suffer from side effects which only impact your mood or anxiety, with the level of interaction differing from person to person.
A number of these don’t function well with birth control pills. Some that you should avoid:
St. John’s wort is a herbal supplement used to treat mild to moderate depression and insomnia. Studies conducted showed that women who took hormonal birth control pills and St. John’s concurrently, had higher rates of breakthrough bleeding and a high breakdown of estrogen in their bodies, which is indicative that the contraceptives might not work as well as they should.
Other herbal remedies that may affect how well your birth control pills work are:
Saw palmetto – Mainly used by people to cure hair loss.
Alfalfa – Is used for kidney, bladder, and prostate problems.
Garlic pills – These are. Taken to combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other heart diseases.
Flaxseed – Is used for digestion problems like severe constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Marie Stopes South Africa offers a wide range of different contraceptives for women. Whether you’re interested in a monthly option like the pill (oral contraception) or patch; or a long-acting method like an implant or IUD, we can help you find contraceptive method that suits your lifestyle.