Posted: January 21, 2016 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY

5 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Birth Control

Those of us on birth control know the importance of having those little pills in our daily lives. Whether for pregnancy prevention or for other health reasons, following directions for use is imperative when it comes to the pill. Even if you are the self-proclaimed poster child for perfect oral contraceptive use you might unknowingly be sabotaging the efficacy of the pill!

Take a look at these 5 common ways you may be hindering your birth control from working as intended.

  1. Storing Your Pills in Areas with Inconsistent Temperatures 
    The bathroom cabinet might sound like the ideal place to store your pills, but when you take that hot morning shower you could unwittingly be overheating your medication, rendering it inactive over time. The same goes for storing your pills in your glove compartment or any other area where high and low temperatures fluctuate. Ideally, a storage area should be under 75 degrees.
  2.  Eating Grapefruit
    This one may have you scratching your head, after all, isn’t fruit supposed to be healthy? While it does have great nutritional benefits, grapefruit can change the way your body metabolizes the active ingredients in birth control. Additionally grapefruit can block estrogen from breaking down properly. Can you eat a grapefruit now and then? Of course! But if you are eating more than one a day or drinking more than two glasses of grapefruit juice at a time, you could be messing with your birth control.
  3. Taking Your Pill at Random Times
    You may have the best intentions when it comes to taking your pill at the same time daily but throughout the course of the day you get side tracked. It may seem innocent enough to simply take the pill when you remember, however, taking it at the same time is the best way to ensure that the hormones are reacting consistently in your body.
  4. Throwing Up
    Stomach bugs happen, but keep in mind when you throw up you aren’t just losing your dinner. If you had your pill recently you are losing that as well. Even if you haven’t just taken your birth control before an episode, bad diarrhea or frequent throwing up  can mess with the absorption of your birth control. If you have taken the pill within a few hours of getting sick, you should treat this as a situation where you haven’t yet taken the pill that day. If you end up missing a dose, it’s important to use a backup method of non-oral contraception for a week in order to avoid pregnancy.
  5. Taking Antibiotics
    Whenever you start taking antibiotics, ask your pharmacist about the potential for interaction with your birth control pills. Several antibiotic types will either decrease the amount of estrogen in the body or kill the bacteria responsible for changing certain inert chemicals into active estrogen.
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