Birth control pills can sometimes be a bit of a hushed topic. On the one hand, they are super important if you want to have sex but not have a baby. On the other hand, you might feel too embarrassed to talk about them with your parents or friends, which means you might have a lot of questions left unanswered. It’s okay, we’ve all been there, but it really is important to know everything about birth control when you’re on it – especially the bad stuff. You might not know this, but some things that you do every day can make your birth control less effective, which can put you at risk of unplanned pregnancy. I know it’s scary, but it’s okay! You’ve come to the right place.
When you’re having sex, you want to be able to have a good time doing it without the stress of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, which is obviously where the Pill comes in. But while doctors and the media can sometimes make the Pill seem like the perfect solution, they definitely aren’t 100 percent foolproof. When not taken perfectly, there’s still a chance of pregnancy – and I’m not just referring to taking them every day at the same time (although that’s essential too). There are other outside forces that can mess with your pills that you should be aware of. In order to ensure you’re totally protecting yourself,, learn about these common things that can make the Pill less effective so that you can be prepared.
Eating Charcoal FoodsYou know how ~trendy~ charcoal has been recently? That might not be a good thing if you're on the pill. You might have seen activated charcoal ice cream all over Instagram and while they might look cool, you shouldn't really be eating it if you're taking birth control pills. It turns out that activated charcoal pretty much absorbs anything in your system, which means it can absorb the pill's ingredients before your body can. Yikes. If you really want to try this new food trend, wait a few hours before taking your pill. Image Source: iStock
Getting SickGetting sick sucks. What sucks even more is the fact that it can cause you to throw up your pill, as if you never took it at all. If you're vomiting or have some bad diarrhea (sorry!) it can make the pill get out of your system before your body had a chance to absorb all of the hormones. If you're sick, you probably shouldn't be having sex that much anyway. Take a break! Then be sure to use a backup method of contraception. Image Source: iStock
Storing It In The Wrong PlaceI didn't know this, but I'm happy I learned it! Storing your pills somewhere super hot or cold can make your medication inactive, which sucks. If you're going to the beach or somewhere sunny, be sure to keep your pills out of the heat! Image Source: iStock
Taking AntibioticsCertain antibiotics can actually mess with the effectiveness of your pill, making you more likely to get pregnant, which isn't very fun. Certain antibiotics can contain enzymes that break down the estrogen in BC pills. If you're sick and taking antibiotics, it's best to use another form of birth control, like condoms, until you've stopped taking the antibiotics. Image Source: iStock
Certain MedicationsSome medications, like antidepressants, can alter the level of estrogen in the body, which can make the pill less likely to protect you against unwanted pregnancy. It's always best to use condoms AND the pill, just in case! Also be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications you are on, so they can decide what's best for you and your body. It's important! Image Source: iStock
Eating GrapefruitOkay, I've been telling my friends this for years but nobody believes me. It's true though! The juice in grapefruit can seriously mess with your body. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can decrease the breakdown of estrogen in your body, which could cause some issues with your pill. It can also increase the probability of getting a blood clot, so it's best to avoid drinking excessive amounts of grapefruit juice. Image Source: iStock
Taking Herbal SupplementsHerbal supplements are super ~trendy~ among fitness bloggers, but certain ones shouldn't be taken with birth control pills. St. John's Wort is a popular supplement that some people use to ease anxiety, but it can actually block the contraceptive effects of the pill. In fact, it supposedly made two women pregnant earlier this year. Definitely don't mix the two! Image Source: iStock
Missing A PillI know we say this a lot, but missing a pill or taking it at the wrong time really does screw up the pill's effectiveness. You should be taking it at the exact same time every single day in order for it to work properly. If you forget, you are supposed to take it as soon as you can. If you're only a few hours late, you should be fine. Just be careful! Image Source: iStock
Do you take birth control? Tell us in the comments!