Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) are one of the most popular and reliable methods of preventing unwanted pregnancies. Contraceptive drugs contain substances that are analogs of female sex hormones, are combined (contain estrogens and progesterone) or monopreparations (they contain only progesterone).
The mechanism of action of contraceptive pills is based on suppressing the maturation of eggs, as a result, ovulation does not occur, the egg does not enter the abdominal cavity and cannot be fertilized.
Birth control pills must be taken daily, and women often wonder if alcohol can be drunk with birth control pills . Let’s take a look at this difficult issue.
When studying the instructions for common oral contraceptives, you will not find mention of the interaction between the contraceptive and ethyl alcohol, but at the same time, the Internet is replete with conflicting scarecrows claiming that such an interaction exists.
The good news is that alcohol consumption does not affect the effectiveness of birth control pills. BUT, provided that you have not missed the pills while intoxicated. Skipping or not taking birth control pills on time can lead to ovulation still occurring and fertilization of the egg with subsequent pregnancy becomes possible.
Therefore, there are two tips that will save you from unwanted pregnancy if you are taking hormonal pills and enjoy drinking:
- take contraceptives always in the morning, so you will avoid evening forgetfulness due to champagne;
- drink alcohol in amounts that are safe for your health.
Side effects of combining alcohol and birth control pills
However, hormonal contraceptives have side effects that increase when combined with alcohol abuse, calling into question their compatibility.
So taking birth control pills leads to a slight increase in triglyceride levels. Frequent consumption of alcohol or drinking in excess of safe doses also leads to an increase in triglyceride and cholesterol levels. High triglyceride and cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
If smoking is added to taking birth control pills and drinking, then the risk of developing vascular pathology in a woman increases significantly: arterial hypertension, stroke, varicose veins, vascular thrombosis. For women over 35 years old who smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day, hormonal contraceptives are, in principle, contraindicated.
It has been scientifically proven that taking hormonal contraceptives is associated with a decrease in the content of B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid and zinc in the body . B vitamins are vital for the normal functioning of the human nervous system. Therefore, with oral contraception, women are advised to take vitamin and mineral complexes that eliminate this deficiency.
Alcohol abuse for several days leads to a violation of the intestinal flora and the inability to absorb B vitamins from the intestines, which leads to a pronounced deficiency of vitamin B1 in alcoholics at the end of the binge. Deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1), in turn, is one of the leading pathogenetic factors in the development of such severe complications of alcoholism as alcoholic psychosis (“delirium tremens”) and Gaillier-Wernicke encephalopathy. Both of these complications, if medical care is not provided, lead to the death of the patient.
Thus, in women who abuse alcohol, taking hormonal contraceptives increases thiamine deficiency and increases the likelihood of complications when coming out of binge drinking.
For the treatment of alcohol dependence , including in women, drugs such as carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine (elimination from hard drinking) and topiromat (reduction of cravings for alcohol) are used. These drugs cause the induction of microsomal liver enzymes, resulting in an increase in the clearance of sex hormones, and as a consequence, “breakthrough” uterine bleeding and a decrease in the contraceptive effect of the tablets are possible.
Thus, contraceptive pills and alcohol when consumed by “drinking” women are dangerous due to:
- skipping the next pill and as a result of pregnancy;
- decrease in the effectiveness of contraception and the occurrence of uterine bleeding;
- increasing the risk of complications from the cardiovascular and nervous system.
For patients with alcohol dependence, it is better to consider other methods of protection.