It's small but effective: birth control pills are the safest way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. But what if a drug in your body satisfies alcohol?
Is their effect guaranteed at all? We explain how the pill works and what you should definitely remember when celebrating.
This is how the pill works
With a "pearl index" of a minimum of 0.1 to a maximum of 0.9, the pill is considered to be the safest contraceptive on the market.
The index, named after American biologist Raymond Pearl, indicates how effective or reliable the contraceptive method is. The lower the value, the safer the method.
The pills, taken daily, intervene in the female hormonal cycle, protecting her from unwanted pregnancy.
"Due to the estrogens and progestins found in the preparation, the concentration of the two hormones in the blood increases and the body fakes pregnancy and ovulation no longer occurs," explains a urology specialist. Axel-Jürg Potempa from Munich.
Although alcohol combined with other drugs can lead to multiple interactions, this is not the case with pills. The body takes over sober, but also under the influence of alcohol, the active ingredients of the pill as well as the doctor.
However, taking pills combined with too much alcohol is not completely harmless.
Pills and alcohol: these dangers lurk!
If you consume alcohol and protect your pill from pregnancy, you should consider the following aspects.
After a long celebration, fatigue suddenly prevails over us and we just want to go to bed.
When drunk, the danger is that the blister on the nightstand is overlooked and the tablet is forgotten.
However, to ensure optimal contraceptive protection, the tablet should be taken at the same time each day.
If you wake up the next morning, you can take most of the pill supplements later. However, the time frame should never be longer than twelve hours. Make sure by looking at the instruction manual!
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Vomiting and diarrhea
From a scientific point of view, alcohol is poisonous, which is why our body tries to excrete substance.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to diarrhea or make us sick – but in this way we not only lose alcohol, but in most cases the active ingredients of the pill.
If the contraceptive pill was taken four hours earlier, the protection would remain because the body could already absorb the hormones contained in the pill.
However, if it lasted less than four hours, its effectiveness was limited.
"If a woman vomits too much alcohol or gets diarrhea, it makes sense to take another pill to maintain protection," Dr. Axel-Jürg Potempa.
Play it safe
To be on the safe side, a condom should be used during sex after a night of sleep, an expert recommends.
This not only protects against unwanted pregnancy, but also against sexually transmitted diseases.
Final expert advice, for those who don't want to take the risk: "I generally recommend taking the pill in the morning so that the active ingredients can be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract during the day and in the evening in the bloodstream."
Otherwise: just leave out the alcohol! Nevertheless, you play it safe – and live healthier.