11:52 am - 10/09/2008

Diarrhea and Birth Control

Hi everyone!

I am posting in regard to a very charming and lovely subject, diarrhea with oral contraceptives! I've already read the FAQ about oral contraceptives and the warning about vomiting and diarrhea, and just have a few questions about it.

A few weeks ago I had a bout of diarrhea (loose, watery stool, stomach cramps, gas) and was taking birth control (while having sex with my monogamous partner). It lasted six days, but I was never dehydrated, nor did it get to the point where I had to rush to the bathroom. I would have diarrhea about one to three times a day, but I wouldn't consider it "severe" or "acute."

Each source I have read about diarrhea/vomiting has been different as far as using backup birth control. One source said I needed to use it two days after my diarrhea had begun, another said I should do that only if it was severe, one said I should use backup only if I had diarrhea within two hours of taking the pill, and another said I needn't worry about it at all! Anyway, I just recently found all of this out and, of course, have been having regular and unprotected sex throughout the entire episode.

Has anyone experienced diarrhea while on birth control? Has anyone gotten pregnant? I should start my withdrawal bleeding next week, but I don't want to waste a week waiting for it if I am pregnant now. I have not been experiencing any symptoms of pregnancy, but I am still worried (as anyone would be). How high would you say the chances are of me being pregnant?
queensugar 9th-Oct-2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
If you have long-term diarrhea (i.e. it isn't a one-day sort of thing), then the sources we used to compile the HBC Vulvapedia entry recommend using back-up until you've taken seven active pills post-diarrhea.

That said, it sounds like yours may have sort of been in a grey area, since it wasn't severe or urgent diarrhea. So I don't think your chances of pregnancy are particularly high.

If you're worried, rather than stopping active pills (which would compromise your protection), why not just take a home pregnancy test? If it has been a few weeks since your bout with diarrhea and the potential risk, you can expect it to be accurate by now.
loveofdaisies 9th-Oct-2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
I had a few instances like this (including a stomach virus) and I never got pregnant. you should be fine. for the future, I would just rely soley on the literature about your specific brand of birth control because all are different (depending on if you're on a monophasic or triphasic pill). I wouldn't stress too much though. a pharmacist once told me it only takes about 30 minutes for the pill to absorb, so if the diarrhea never occured in that time frame I'd say 100% that you're fine.
pushi5236 9th-Oct-2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
Whew, that took a load off. Thanks for the consolation. I am on a combination monophasic, and take it pretty perfectly (I take the pills no more than ten minutes from exactly 24 hours apart).

Yeah, I couldn't see how that would really matter unless I was having diarrhea every hour, not to mention I didn't suffer any other symptoms from the diarrhea that would lend to me not absorbing my food (no weight loss or even dehydration).

I feel much better, thanks!
loveofdaisies 9th-Oct-2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
you're welcome! I definitely know how it feels to be freaking out about a situation like that, so I'm glad to be able to put your mind at ease. :)
dayglow 10th-Oct-2008 03:28 am (UTC)
I have the diarrhea type of IBS. So, I poop a lot. I've been relying on pills only for over 2 years now and no pregnancy scares yet. :) (Although to be fair, on days where it's really bad, I don't feel like having sex anyway. :P)
threnody 10th-Oct-2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
Mmm. As a fellow IBS-er, I can definitely say there are times when you do not want to be caught thinking 'THAT WAS NOT A FART!'.
dayglow 10th-Oct-2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
I've got my IBS mostly under control now, but I definitely had years of my life (and still some times in public situations) where I am terrified to fart, not because farts are smelly and awkward - after all, everybody farts - but that it won't be JUST a fart. But I'm so aware of what's going on now that I can generally accurately predict days that will likely be a problem, and I have immodium at the ready of even the slightest 'that is not just a regular gas' gurgle.
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