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Does Azithromycin Affect Birth Control

does azithromycin affect birth control


For this reason, many doctors will recommend using a back up form of birth control (such as condoms) while you are taking birth control pills. Azithromycin is not one of the antibiotics that is most likely to cause this interaction, but you should still check with your doctor nevertheless to get their opinion.

Do Antibiotics Affect Birth Control?

Discovered in the 1920s by Scottish physician Alexander Fleming, antibiotics have become a mainstay of healthcare, helping your immune system fight off infections. However, if your doctor has ever prescribed antibiotics, you may have been told that it may make birth control pills less effective.

In fact, many antibiotic information sheets come with warnings suggesting the same thing. In general, the answer is no, most antibiotics do not affect birth control, but it's important to know which antibiotics do interfere with your birth control and to consult with a physician if you are unsure. Let’s take a closer look at antibiotics and birth control.

What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are a type of medication designed to neutralize bacteria by either:

Killing bacteria outright

Preventing bacteria from multiplying and spreading

Hampering vital processes that are necessary to sustaining bacteria

Different antibiotics work on different types of bacteria. Broad spectrum antibiotics, which include amoxicillin, levofloxacin, and gentamicin, are designed to affect a wide range of bacteria. Penicillin, azithromycin, and other narrow spectrum antibiotics affect only a few specific types of bacteria.

How Do Antibiotics Work?

Different antibiotics have different mechanisms of working. Some affect how bacteria operate, while others may break down bacterial cell walls. It’s important to remember that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. That means it is ineffective against viral and fungal infections.

You should never take antibiotics to treat the common cold and flu, stomach flu, and other infections caused by a virus. Overusing or incorrectly using antibiotics may create “superbugs” that are resistant to conventional bacteria.

Aside from viral and fungal infections, antibiotics can be used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections and diseases, including:

  • Strep throat
  • Meningitis (swelling in the spinal cord and brain)
  • Whooping cough
  • Dental infections
  • Certain ear and sinus infections
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis)
  • Kidney infections
  • Urinary tract infections

What is the Birth Control Pill?

Birth control pills are a form of medication that can be taken once a day to prevent pregnancy. The pill comes in a variety of forms from different brands, offering an easy, convenient, and affordable option for contraception.

When used perfectly, the pill is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, though in real life applications, the pill will prevent pregnancies 91 percent of the time, which is still an effective amount.

How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

Birth control pills work directly on a woman’s hormones to stop ovulation, which is the process wherein an ovary releases an egg. Without ovulation, there is no egg for a sperm cell to fertilize, so you can’t get pregnant. The pill also contains hormones that thicken cervical mucus. Thicker mucus lining the cervix makes it more difficult for sperm cells to swim up to an egg.

Birth control pills generally come in two forms. Combination pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin and work by stopping ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and thinning the lining of the cervix. Combination pills come in packs of 28 or 21. In both instances, only 21 are active pills, meaning they contain the hormones. With 28-day packs, the extra 7 pills contain no hormones but are designed to help you keep up the habit of taking a pill a day.

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