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Author Topic: Confused
Spring0392
Neophyte
Member # 105356

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Hey there,
I have been taking birth control pills faithfully for the past five or six years. I had unprotected sex for the first time on Sunday morning. The next day, Monday night, about 20-30 minutes after taking my bc pill, I had a loose stool. This only occurred once, and I was fine after this one incident. I panicked, because I remember reading on this site, and a bunch of others, that diarrhea lowers the pills effectiveness, and I should treat it as a missed pill. So I immediately went to my spare pack that I purchased in October of 2012, and took a pill from there. Well, I checked the expiration date out of curiosity the next morning, and found that it was expired by a month and a half. I called three pharmacies, and asked them what they thought I should do, and they told me that the loose stool I had wouldn't affect my pill, and to just discard the expired package. They said that vomiting is what affects birth control pills, not loose stools. This confuses me greatly, especially since the three different pharmacist I talked to had the same answer. One pharmacist even told me that the pill loses effectiveness over a longer period of time after they expire, and the extra pill that I took would have still been effective, although it was not needed. I just wanted your take on this situation. Do you think I should just take an extra pill from my next pack tonight and hope that this will protect me from lowering my effectiveness of the pill? Do you think I should purchase emergency contraception? Do you think my pills effectiveness was compromised? I'm not sure if I should trust that the loose stool I had didn't affect my pills. I'm due to get My withdrawal bleed next Monday, and am very anxious, as I do not hope to become pregnant. I do not mind backing up my pills with a condom for the rest of this cycle at al, but I'm concerned about becoming pregnant from Sunday. Your insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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As we explain to users who come in with concerns like this (who are the ones saying an occasional loose stool is an effectiveness issue: volunteers and staff do NOT say that here) diarrhea isn't one loose stool: it's a pattern of very liquid stools over at least a day or more. Your pharmacist was right: loose stool won't impact your BC's effectiveness.

So, there was likely no need to back up with another pill in the first place. I also see no need for EC here.

But it sounds like you'd probably be more comfortable backing up your BC in general, no? If so, the combination of pill + condom as a habit is a great one. It both means you don't even have to sweat things like this if and when they happen AND you also get protection against infections the pill can't offer.

[ 03-13-2013, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Spring0392
Neophyte
Member # 105356

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Ok, I guess that really does make sense. I never really understood when loose stools were considered to be diarrhea. I was worried because how close the loose stool was to the time I took the pill, but that clears a lot up for me. Thank you. I just want to make sure I am doing all the things necessary to ensure my risk of pregnancy Is as small as possible. Diarrhea needs to happen more than once in order to pose a risk correct?

I definitely feel more comfortable backing up with a condom. My boyfriend and I thought we were ready to go without one, but it has clearly put us under too much stress. Needless to say, we definitely learned our lesson.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, as happens often in life, we live, we learn. [Smile] Now you know what you need. That's a good thing!

Diarrhea usually isn't even called that by medical professionals until a person has *pattern* of very loose or liquid stools, usually over a day or more, not just one loose stool.

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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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Spring0392
Neophyte
Member # 105356

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On thank you, you don't know how relieved I feel right now, I was almost certain that I was going to become pregnant from this, and I've even lost sleep over this. Thank you reassuring me. [Smile]
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Spring0392
Neophyte
Member # 105356

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Sorry to bother again, but I was wondering, in the off chance that my pill did get flushed out of my system, I would still be somewhat protected from my previous pills, and although my extra pill was expired by about a month and a half, it would likely add some protection as well right? Like I wouldn't automatically have 0 protection?

I guess when I decided to have sex without a condom, I figured I was safe because I've always taken my pill at the same time every night, bought I didn't consider the fact that Future pill mistakes could affect that incident as well.

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Allie R
Volunteer-in-training
Member # 102566

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Hey Spring0392,

In this hypothetical situation, you wouldn't have absolutely '0' protection, but that factor would decrease the effectiveness of the pill.

I'm not sure about how helpful taking a barely expired back-up pill would be in this situation, though, which maybe another volunteer could share their insight on.

[ 03-14-2013, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: Allie R ]

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AAR

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Spring0392
Neophyte
Member # 105356

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Ok thanks, and I was wondering, even if the stool was a little bit liquid it wouldn't be considered diarrhea because it only happened one time?
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Allie R
Volunteer-in-training
Member # 102566

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To iterate what Heather said, it's not really diarrhea until one has consistent loose/liquid stools, not just one. [Smile]

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AAR

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