15 Things That Will Make Birth Control Ineffective

We talk a lot about ways to get pregnant, how to have a smooth pregnancy and how to survive motherhood, but we may be leaving out a large group of people. People who do NOT want to conceive at this point in time. Some are just not ready for children yet, and others have children and just want a break from reproducing for a little bit.

Nothing is more important to these women than birth control. Today there are implants, patches and even injections. There are countless ways to make sure that your uterus stays empty. We also all know that these are never going to be 100% effective, but they are pretty close.

The birth control pill had a rating of about 98-99% effectiveness, but only if used properly. Misuse is only one way that we can guarantee will cause a birth control to fail. On top of that, a couple should always be using another form of birth control as well. The man should still be wearing protection, this not only increases the chances of not getting pregnant, but it will also protect against illness.

What some may not know is that there are certain things a woman can do (or not do) that can make her birth control completely ineffective. Everyday things that cause your birth control to fail and can place someone in an uncomfortable situation, asking themselves what went wrong.

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15 Missing A Dose


While the numbers are declining, there are still a large amount of women out there who prefer to use the birth control pill. It is one form of birth control that has very limited side effects, and the dosage can be controlled. However, a lot of women find it very hard to remember to take the pill every day, and that is where the problem lies.

Fahimeh Sasan is an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She states that the number one reason that the birth control pill fails is because women do not take them daily. That they miss a dose. Now missing one pill does not mean that you are going to instantly become pregnant, but the effectiveness of your pill just went way down. She also states that if you miss a single pill, to just take it when you remember. However, if you miss 2 days than you should consider yourself unprotected and make sure you use other methods.

14 Women Can Have Two Uteruses. Seriously.

Through all the reasons why birth control may not work, most of them are due to usage error or environmental factors. There is one case where a woman’s own body may mean that birth control does not work. There are a number of women out there who are born with Uterus Didelphys. This means that they are born with two uteruses, two cervixes or two vaginas, or a combination of a couple of these. They have not been able to point out exactly why this happens, or how to prevent it from happening, but it can impact the accuracy of your birth control.

Your best bet for accurate birth control when you have two uteruses is to use condoms, as that stops the sperm from even entering. The birth control pill may still be effective, but it would involve a conversation with your doctor. A lot of women opt to get an implant birth control, like an IUD. This is not a preferred method of birth control for a woman with two uteruses, because they can often not fit one in each uterus, so there is still a chance of the vacant uterus creating a pregnancy.

13 Digestive Disorders

Daily Mail

A lot of the concern about ineffective birth control is all in the correct usage of the material, however it is not the only one. Those who have certain digestive disorders may have to avoid the birth control pill because it may not be as effective as it should be. Bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease and IBD (irritable bowel disorder) have the ability to prevent the body from absorbing any oral medication properly.

According to experts, anything that interferes with the body’s ability to absorb hormones or increases the rate at which they are broken down are no compatible with an oral birth control pill. Women who have one of these conditions are urged to seek other contraceptive methods to make sure that the do not get pregnant. A general rule of thumb, according to the Mayo Clinic, is that if anyone has had severe vomiting or diarrhea for two or more days should always consider themselves unprotected.

12 Late To The Game

If we are going to be talking about the birth control pill, we need to discuss another popular method of birth control; the condom. Live Science released an article about the most common condom use errors. They had reviewed 50 studies of condom use errors from around the world and they listed the mistakes that they found. Unfortunately, sex-education classes are sometimes lacking in information which can lead to incorrect usage of these products.

One of the most shocking mistakes that was found among people was that they were applying the condom way too late in the game. As much as 51.1% of people reported that they only put the condom on after sexual intercourse had already started. They were waiting until the last minute before having to put it on. This is a big mistake, and one that can lead to a woman getting pregnant if his timing is off by just a second.

11 Medications Are Always To Blame!

Medications are wonderful inventions, but they can also be a little tricky. Medication has brought a pain free life to a lot of people, and they have even helped stabilize some pretty serious conditions. However, medications are still nothing more than chemistry at work, and with chemistry comes the chance of two things interacting in a negative way. We see this happening when it comes to birth control.

There are certain seizure medications that have been proven to interfere with the birth control pill. This medication is called a “liver enzyme-inducing” medication because it boosts the rate at which the liver breaks down hormones. This means that any hormonal birth control, like the pill and the patch, will be rendered ineffective. It is always important to talk to your doctor and mention all medications you are taking so they can work out a plan that will work for you.

10 Inside Out

As we go back to the condom study, who knew there was such a thing, we find out something else that is very interesting. Up to 30.4% of people reported that they flip the condom inside out and then flip it the other way around. The problem with this is that they are potentially exposing their partner to body fluids, which can result in a pregnancy.

There is a lot of pressure on the school system to invest more time and money into sex education for teens in high school. This can make a lot of people uncomfortable, but it can be very helpful in preventing unwanted pregnancies. However, not all the responsibility should fall on the school system. It is still a parent’s job to make sure that their teen is educated in how to be safe. Both from unwanted pregnancies as well as any STI’s that they may encounter by not using protection properly.

9 Where Are They Stored?

We know that when it comes to storing food and such items, it is very important that they it is done appropriately. This is to prevent food from rotting or going bad; two things that can make you very sick when you eat them. Did you know the same goes with birth control? If birth control is stored incorrectly, then it can be rendered ineffective and might as well be thrown out.

Birth control pills must be stored appropriately. They do not belong in the freezer or anywhere that gets cold and damp. They should be always kept at room temperature. Condoms should be stored away from anything sharp. If you keep your stash in a bedside drawer or a bathroom drawer, make sure nothing sharp is near them. This can include safety pins, needles and even razors. A needle can make a hold that is small enough to avoid sight but is large enough for sperm to exit through.

8 Mood Disorders (Not The Actual Disorder!)

Mood disorders themselves do not have any impact on the effectiveness of the birth control pill, but how you treat it can play a large part. Depression and anxiety are two common mood disorders that affect millions of people. They can be challenging, and they should be treated to ensure someone can live their best life. There is a push in the world to turn to more natural treatments, and to try and avoid prescriptions. This means that a lot of people are turning to natural remedies, and one of the recommended treatments for anxiety and depression is an herb called St. John’s Wort.

According to the National Institute of Health, this herb can interfere with your pill because it may increase the breakdown of estrogen. When estrogen in the body is broken down it can render oral contraception ineffective. Make sure you speak to your healthcare provider about this from of treatment and birth control combo.

7 Yes, They Expire!

We tend to only take expiry dates seriously in certain situations. When it comes to milk or eggs, we would never dream of consuming them if they were way past their date of expiry. We don’t tend to feel as strongly about expiry dates when it comes to our birth control. Condoms have an expiry date on them, and yes, it is usually a while before they need to be replaced, they still need to be discarded. Condoms that are past their expiry date should be considered faulty and should not be used. It is not worth the risk.

Even when we discuss medications, such as the birth control pill, they also have a shelf life. Common over-the-counter medications have dates on them, however, it does not mean that they are necessarily bad or harmful, they are just less effective. This may be fine when it comes to Tylenol or Advil, but less effective is definitely something you don’t want your birth control to be.

6 Not One-Size-Fits-All!

We know it is uncomfortable to stand in a store in front of the condom section. Most people just want to grab the first box they see and run out of the store. They don’t normally consider some very important information, like the size. Condoms come in different sizes, and they do for a reason as it is very important to make sure your have the right size for your guy (or yourself). If you don’t want to stand in the store trying to figure it out while the old lady stares at you, do some online research at home.

The reason this is important is because a condom that is too tight has the potential to rip during intercourse from all the friction. If it is too big, then there is always the chance that it will fall off at some point, making your partner vulnerable to exposed body fluids.

5 Patch It Up, Properly!

Another popular method of birth control is the patch. A lot of people are steering away from the ‘traditional’ pill and condom team in search of different methods of birth control. The pill can be a hassle because you must remember to take it every day, and at the same time or else you are not protected. Women want something easy, they want something that they don’t have to think about. Which is why a lot of them are leading towards implants, needles and the patch.

The problem with the birth control patch is that a lot of women are not placing them on their body correctly. They are not placing them where they should be, because they do not think that it is that big of a deal. It is: placing a patch in an incorrect spot can render it ineffective. It is best to follow your doctor’s orders exactly on where to place the patch.

4 Double Up

Let’s talk about something that may increase the effectiveness of birth control, and that is doubling up. No, I do NOT mean wearing two condoms; that is a big do not do! Couples who do not wish to become pregnant should always use two methods of birth control. If a woman is on the birth control pill, then the male should really use a condom as well. Especially if there is a chance she has missed a dosage or taken them at different times.

This not only increases your chances of not conceiving, it will help protect you against STI’s. This is especially true if you and your partner are not exclusive or have not been together long. Many think that birth control is a big pain, and a lot of hassle. They are right. However, having to deal with an unwanted pregnancy and make hard decisions is a lot more uncomfortable.

3 Bootea?!?

There is always a new fad or trend when it comes to our bodies, especially when it comes to diet. One such trend has the ability to render your birth control ineffective. There is a popular detox tea, Bootea, that has been linked to women’s birth control failing because it has a laxative effect. The brand’s website now has a warning that states the potential danger that may come to consuming their beverage when you are taking birth control; mainly the pill.

It states that in order to be safe, the pill should be consumed no less than four hours before consuming the drink. This gives your body time to absorb the hormones in the pill. If you believe in being safe rather than sorry, you should avoid these drinks all together. If you must drink them, make sure you use a back-up method of birth control in the mean time.

2 Are You Sick?

We all get sick, it is only a matter of time. Some get sick more than others, but everyone has found themselves hunched over a toilet or other basin. Whether it be a stomach bug or food poisoning, be wary if you are sick and on birth control. This mainly applies to the pill, because when you have an illness that involves a lot of throwing up, there is always a chance that you are not getting everything you need from the pill. It is best to consider yourself unprotected at this time.

Other illness may play a factor as well, and those are illnesses that involve taking certain antibiotics. Antibiotics can interfere with birth control as well. If you find yourself in a doctor’s office being prescribed antibiotics, make sure you make your medical provider aware of what you are using for birth control and see if there is an alternative, or if you need to abstain until you are better.

1 Lack Of Education

The biggest thing that can render any birth control ineffective is the lack of education on safe sex. Most of my high school life is a blur now, which is a good thing, but I do recall that the health class where we discussed safe sex was very minimal. We learned how to place a condom on a banana, which is a great skill, but safe sex and birth control are so much more than that.

It is an uncomfortable conversation to have, and parents tend to shy away from it. If you are uncomfortable talking to your teen about this, make an appointment and have your doctor talk to them. As an adult, we must take it upon ourselves to do our own research and be responsible and aware in the choices we make. The information is all out there, we just all must find it.


NetDoctor: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/sexual-health/news/a26780/things-that-make-the-pill-less-effective/

Cosmopolitan: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a12463573/uterus-didelphys/

SELF: https://www.self.com/story/7-things-that-can-make-birth-control-pills-fail

Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/18661-14-common-condom-errors.html

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