Antibiotics and Contraception: Does Flagyl Affect Birth Control Pills

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This article discusses Flagyl and contraception. Read on for more information and answers to frequently asked questions like ‘Does Flagyl affect birth control?

Antibiotics are typically potent medications used to combat bacterial diseases in the body. Generally, antibiotics can interact with various drugs, depending on the ingredients used in making them. Most antibiotics don’t impact birth control pills when used simultaneously.

However, some types of antibiotics, like rifabutin and rifampicin, are thought to affect contraception because they increase the enzymes in the body. This condition is called ‘enzyme-inducing,’ which affects hormonal contraception.

What is Flagyl?

Flagyl is a popular, potent antibiotic used to treat skin infections, mouth infections, and rosacea.

This medication is called metronidazole and is used in treating bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, skin ulcers, bed sores, and insect bites.

Furthermore, some doctors may prescribe metronidazole to prevent parasitic and bacterial infections.

This drug is available in different forms. These forms include gel, cream, vaginal gel, tablets, liquid, or a suppository. It is also available as an injection, usually administered in the hospital.

Need an antibiotic prescription?

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Does Flagyl affect birth control medications?

Some medications can interact with hormonal birth control pills and cause them to be less effective in some women. It is essential to speak to your doctor about any drug you’re using if you’re on contraceptives.

Does Flagyl affect birth control methods? Metronidazole is not known to stop contraceptives from working or becoming less effective. Flagyl’s side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Suppose Flagyl makes you have severe diarrhea or vomit for more than 24 hours; your birth control pill may not protect you from getting pregnant. You may have to use additional contraception methods, such as condoms.

Typically, antibiotics don’t affect the effectiveness of most contraceptives, so additional contraception isn’t required.

However, antibiotics like rifampicin and rifabutin are known to reduce the efficacy of contraceptives, so additional contraception may be needed with these medications.

As stated previously, even though Flagyl does not affect birth control medications, its side effects (namely vomiting and diarrhea) can reduce the absorption rate of hormonal birth control pills, making it less effective.

How do birth control medications work?

Contraceptives are used to reduce the chances of pregnancy for sexually active people. Contraception can be carried out with different methods, including the following;

  • Barrier methods
  • Implants
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Injections
  • Pills
  • Vaginal rings
  • Sterilization
  • Emergency contraception
  • Natural methods

Oral contraceptive pills block the sperm from contact with an egg, which prevents fertilization. Fertilization occurs when sperm joins with an egg.

Contraceptive pills release hormones that safely stop ovulation, which means there’s no egg for the sperm to join with and fertilize. Hence, there is no pregnancy.

In addition, contraceptive pills also thicken the mucus on the cervix, which blocks the sperm from swimming to the egg.

Which antibiotics affect birth control pills?

Generally, antibiotics do not affect contraceptives. However, antibiotics like rifampicin and rifabutin can affect the effectiveness of hormonal contraception.

These antibiotics are used to cure and prevent diseases like tuberculosis and meningitis.

Rifamycin antibiotics increase the number of enzymes in the body, which can affect hormonal contraception. Suppose you’re using these antibiotics. It would be best if you used additional contraception, such as condoms, to reduce your chances of getting pregnant.

You can also change to a different method of contraception or use your contraception differently.

Other antibiotics that are not enzyme-inducing do not affect contraception or reduce its effectiveness.

How to choose the proper birth control medication

Using birth control tablets is one of the most popular ways of contraception. Birth control tablets are easy to use and pretty effective in preventing pregnancy.

Even though there are different types of contraception pills, they can be categorized into two distinct categories to make it pretty easy to comprehend your options.

There are two significant types of oral contraceptive pills. These two include;

  • Combination pills
  • The minipill

Combination oral contraceptive pills usually contain progestin and estrogen. Progestin and estrogen prevent pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs and making hormonal changes in the cervix and uterus.

There are various combination pills to choose from when considering your options. It would be best if you considered how frequently you want to have your periods and the dose of the hormones that work best for you.

However, the minipill is distinctly made up of progestin and doesn’t offer the variety of choices that combination pills do.

In each pack of these pills, all the tablets are active and have the same measure of progestin. A minipill has more progestin doses than a combination pill.

When to see a doctor

Flagyl is a potent antibiotic that causes relatively mild side effects like nausea, diarrhea, metallic taste in the mouth, and vomiting.

It would be best if you spoke to your doctor about all the medications you are using, including contraception medications, before starting antibiotics.

Your doctor will consider your condition, medical history, and possible drug interactions before recommending an appropriate antibiotic therapy.

However, you don’t necessarily have to see a doctor or medical personnel for a prescription to get contraception pills. A qualified pharmacist may be able to get you the contraceptive you require without any fuss.

If you notice side effects that continue to worry you after 3 months of starting the pill, it would be best to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Your doctor may recommend switching to other brand names or trying a different contraception method.

However, it would be best if you did not discontinue taking the pills until you start a new method to be fully protected from pregnancy.

Read also: Does Nitrofurantoin Affect Birth Control?

Frequently Asked Questions

Birth control pills work by releasing hormones that block the sperm from fertilizing the egg in the female body.

Typically, it will take up to 48 hours from the last pill that was taken for the hormones from contraceptive pills to leave the body.

In most cases, your menstrual cycle returns to ‘normal’ within three months of discontinuing contraceptive pills. For some women, it may take up to six months.

Flagyl is also known as metronidazole. This antibiotic medication is not known to affect contraception or reduce the effectiveness of birth control medications. Sometimes, the side effects of Flagyl may include diarrhea and vomiting.

If Flagyl makes you have severe diarrhea or vomiting for more than 24 hours, it can affect the absorption rate of the contraceptives in your body.

This can render the pills less effective and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

There is no indication that metronidazole, also known as Flagyl, reduces fertility. However, speaking to your healthcare provider before starting any antibiotic would be best.

Suppose you discontinue your contraceptive pills. It can take your body a while to get used to the absence of the pill. You might notice mild effects like cramps, heavier periods, spotting, and pre-menstrual tension. New hair growth, acne, and weight loss or gain may also occur.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.