To prevent pregnancy, women use birth control pills, a very common form of contraception. Meanwhile, to treat infections, people are prescribed with antibiotics to help them get better. Caution must be observed when taking in both birth control pills and antibiotics. Studies have shown that women who take both drugs simultaneously have an increased chance to get pregnant.
Taking birth control pills is one of the most effective methods to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Such pills contain hormones like estrogen to prevent ovulation. On the other hand, antibiotics are used to kill bacterial infections. When toxic substances enter the body, antibiotics act by eradicating disease-causing bacteria. Generally, these medications come in several agents, including amoxicillin, penicillin and tetracycline.
The concurrent use of birth control pills and antibiotics can cause health problems, or perhaps increase the risk of suffering from medical concerns. First, some antibiotics such as rifampin can lead to the breakdown of natural substances including estrogen. With low estrogen levels in the body, a woman can increase her chances of becoming pregnant.
Second, when birth control pills and antibiotics are taken together, the liver breaks down estradiol. This is a form of synthetic estrogen found in birth control pills, and when it is broken down, it is secreted into the intestines. The normal bacterial flora present in the intestines convert estradiol into active estrogen, a process known as enterohepatic cycling. When antibiotics are taken, however, the good bacteria in the intestines are also killed, which disrupts the process of converting estradiol into estrogen. Like the first scenario, low levels of estrogen can increase the chances of pregnancy. Generally, though, these problems depend on every woman’s hormonal and liver function, but the type of antibiotic taken must also be considered to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
When prescribed with antibiotic therapy, it is recommended to look into other forms of contraception, particularly barrier methods like condoms or diaphragms to ensure pregnancy will not occur. Patches are also not encouraged because it works around the hormones like birth control pills do. After all, antibiotics usually last for 14 days only, so a woman can revert back to birth control after consuming the antibiotics. Ultimately, when using drug combinations, it is best to seek advice from an obstetrician-gynecologist to ensure that no harm for the woman’s health can arise.