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Author Topic: Diarrhea and birth control pill
collegegirl412
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Hello! I'm taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen, a triphasic birth control pill. Just over one week ago, I started taking Citalopram to help manage anxiety, and I told my psychiatrist I was on birth control.

Since I started Citalopram, however, I've had diarrhea/loose stool. I'm worried about this messing with my pill's effectiveness, since I know diarrhea can do that. Do I have reason to be worried? If so, how long should I use a backup method?

I am in the third week of my pills; the week right before my period/placebo week. I have been on these birth control pills for over a year. Thank you!

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Heather
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So, am I understanding right that you have been having loose stools for around a week?

If so, you want to use a backup for at least as long as that is happening. If it's been going on for a week or more, I'd personally suggest erring on the side of caution and using a backup for the whole of the pill pack it occurred within.

You might also want to call back in and check with your psych about this side effect: a week of loose stools is a long time, so I'd just want to double-check they think that's okay and not a reason to try a different med for you.

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collegegirl412
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Yes, it has been just over a week.

I have 4 active pills left in my pack, then I go to my placebos. Just to make sure I understand, are you saying I should use backup for those four pills, take the placebos, then I can get rid of the backup when I start my new pack?

I'll be in touch with my psychiatrist. Thank you so much, Heather.

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Heather
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Yep!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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collegegirl412
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Thanks! I didn't know whether my pill being one with different levels of hormones throughout the month made a difference or not.
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Heather
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When it comes to something that's about you absorbing the pills or potentially not -- so, something like many days of loose stools, vomiting up a pill, having Chron's disease, etc. -- it's really all about active pills or placebos.

In other words, if any active pill, whether the pill pack is monophasal or tri-phasal -- may not have been absorbed, or may not be absorbed, that's a possible issue to back up with.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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collegegirl412
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I understand. I meant that I didn't know if, when starting my new pack, the low dose of hormones in the first week would be enough to protect without backup (after all this system upset), since my pill is one that increases in hormone levels over the month.

Thank you so much for taking time to reply, and I'm going to quit asking so many questions now! Keep up the good work.

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Karybu
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All pills save the placebos have enough hormones to ensure that you are protected from pregnancy. The shift in hormone levels throughout the active pills is a feature of some combination pills because it helps lessen the side effects for some people.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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