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Reasons Why the Birth Control Pill May Fail

Updated on August 8, 2009
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Oral contraceptives are the most popular choice for women who do not wish to get pregnant. Its safety margin is perhaps what causes many women to prefer this form of birth control. With failure rates around 1% when taken correctly, indeed the birth control pill can be a great choice. However, just as many other birth control methods, the pill may not be fail proof. Following are some common scenarios which may cause the birth control pill to fail.

  • Missing pills

In order to work well, the pill must be taken every day at the same time. The blister pack in which the pills come in is very helpful to remind users to take their pills. These packs indeed come with a sticker with the days the pills should be taken. This way it is easy to notice if some pills were skipped and to keep track of the usage.

However, even with the best intentions, eventually pills may be forgotten. Generally, the more pills are forgotten and missed, the higher the chances that their efficacy may be lowered, or worse, cancelled out. Each brand of pills come with directions on what to do about missed pills. These directions should be followed carefully and back up birth control methods may be needed.

  • Drug Interactions

Any time medications are prescribed, pill users should ask their general practitioner or pharmacist about the chances of them interacting with the pill and therefore, lowering its efficacy. There have been many instances of women taking antibiotics and not knowing about their potential to make the pill fail. This is how many ''Z-pack babies were born.

This also applies to some herbal supplements such as for example St. John's Wort. It never hurts to be extra cautious and always consult with the professionals.

  • Sickness

Being affected by vomiting and diarrhea, or worse both, may lower or cancel out the effect of birth control pills. This is because the pill may be expelled from the body too fast, without being able to allow its contraceptive principles to be absorbed through the body as they are meant to be in order to be effective.

  • Obesity

There have been some studies suggesting that women with higher body mass indexes the pill may be less effective. The cause of this is attributed to the fact that contraceptive drug levels may take longer to be absorbed, reducing their effectiveness.

As seen, several things may go wrong while taking birth control pills. In some obscure cases, people claim they have taken the birth control religiously and still somehow got pregnant. However, birth control pills still remain the next most effective birth control method after sexual abstinence.


Birth Control Pill FAQ


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    • ninglie profile image

      ninglie 8 years ago

      Thank you. We have a vaginal ring here called Nuvaring.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 years ago from USA

      Thank you. We have a vaginal ring here called Nuvaring.

    • Ellandriel profile image

      Ellandriel 8 years ago from Portugal

      I don't take birth control pills, somehow I get sick and I had to change to something else.

      After testing patches and condoms and several pills I found a new method, a ring. It's awesome.

      I'll do a hub about it, don't know if it exists in the States.

      great hub!