How Effective Is the Pill? 3 Reasons Why Birth Control Failure Occurs More Often Than You Think

When it's time to get birth control, your OBGYN will likely go over your options and inform you of the success rate of each type of birth control that you're considering. You will notice that some options are clearly more effective than others. For example, the pill is considered to be 99 percent effective whereas using a diaphragm with spermicide is only 94 percent effective. The pill looks like it's the better option, but it's not really 99 percent effective all the time. There are certain factors that can reduce the effectiveness of your birth control. 

Most Statistics Don't Factor Human Error

The ideal statistics touted by your OBGYN and birth control manufacturer are usually calculated based on perfect use. Humans aren't perfect. The real success rate for the pill is about 92 percent when you factor in human error. In order to get the most out of your pill, you have to take it at the same time each and every day without fail. You also have to store your pills properly. Failure to do either of these things may result in an unplanned pregnancy. 

Some Medications Can Interfere With Birth Control

Even if you take your pill faithfully, you can still be in trouble. Certain medications, such as antibiotics and some seizure medications, can interfere with your birth control's effectiveness. These medications can interact with your birth control or change the way your liver metabolizes your birth control. If you take vitamin or herbal supplements, you may want to do some research. Some herbal remedies, like St. John's wort, can interfere with your birth control as well. 

Some Medical Conditions Can Reduce Effectiveness

If you have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, your body may not be able to absorb the pill properly. Even passing illnesses can interfere with your birth control. If you have a few days of vomiting and diarrhea, you may not be getting any benefit from your pill at all. If you have any questions about illnesses that may interfere with your birth control, be sure to talk to your doctor.

As you can see, there are several factors that can decrease the effectiveness of your birth control. For this reason, many doctors recommend that you use two forms of birth control, i.e. condom with the pill, or a fail-proof form of birth control, such as the Nexplanon implant. Talk to a doctor like those at Healthcare for Women Only about what type of birth control would work best for you.