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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Absorption Time for Pill (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Absorption Time for Pill
copper86
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I'm back, again! I'm so sorry for all of these questions! I just have a quick one this time.

What is an average absorption time for the pill? I took it at 7:30 with water; and maybe 48 minutes later I went to the bathroom and had hard stools (not diaharrhea or anything like that). I'm not always "regular" so it was a random thing. Would the pill still be absorbed in my system, or would the stools have flushed it out?

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

From what I know about the digestive system (thank you grade 11 biology) the pill wouldn't even have reached that part of your digestive tract after 48 minutes.

I'm not really sure exactly how the pill absorbs into the system, or how long it takes--I'd like to know too--but a bowel movement wouldn't clear it out.

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Robin

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Onionpie
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Hi copper86. The pill doesn't get as far in your digestive system as that -- so no matter what your stool is like, it won't affect the pill. The pill gets dissolved and absorbed in your stomach, so it never goes any further than that. The only bodily function you need to worry about affecting the pill is vomiting.
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copper86
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Thank you both, so much! I truly appreciate your responses! They definitely made me calm down and think rationally!

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copper86
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I'm sorry to re-open this thread again - especially since I value Robin's and Onionpie's responses - I just want to check that I'm still okay.

I took my pill at 7:30 as usual, and close to 6 and a half hours later - 2 o'clock or so - I had diaharrhea (I will probably never know how to spell that word!). Since it was over 6 hours after taking my pill - and since it's absorbed in the stomach - my pill should still be working, right?

Thank you so much for your time! I really appreciate it!

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copper86
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I just called the pharmacist at the drugstore where I get my pills; and she said that diahrrea has nothing to do with the pills, and that it's only when and if I vomit within an hour of taking the pill is it considered a missed dose. So please ignore my question! [Smile]

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WorriedGirl11
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It says in the leaflets given with some BC pills that only 'severe diarrhoea' affects the pill- basically unless you had it 3 times a day for a few days, you should be safe! [Smile]

[ 07-13-2012, 04:37 AM: Message edited by: WorriedGirl11 ]

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copper86
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Thank you! It's never been three times a day for a few days - only once or twice max for one day or so.

I'm just really confused - there is so much conflicting information about diarrhea and oral contraceptives... But either way, even if the pill could get released like that via diarrhea, wouldn't a time frame of 6 to 6 and a half hours be enough for any medication (small in size, and always taken with water) to digest or absorb? I feel like my head will blow up.

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WorriedGirl11
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It doesn't get released. What happens is that when you have diarrhea your body isn't absorbing everything, which means that your pill might not have been absorbed properly. That's the main issue with having it- but what you could do is next time you get your pill, ask them for a spare pack. Then if you get diarrhea within 3-4 hours of taking the pill, you have an extra one you can take to ensure that it gets fully absorbed, and you'll be safer (and probably have better peace of mind, too). [Smile]

And yes. The pill is absorbed within 3-4 hours so 6 hours is definitely enough for it to have been absorbed. You're safe.

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copper86
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Thank you so much, WorriedGirl11! [Smile] I really appreciate it! I hope you are doing well!

I'm also assuming that any regular movement in the window of four hours or more of taking it is safe, as well?

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Karybu
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Yep, that's just fine.

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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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copper86
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Thank you so much, Karybu! Perhaps now I won't worry as much about the timing of these things! [Smile]

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Karybu
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I hope so! Worrying is no fun, no matter what the cause. [Smile]

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copper86
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Thank you so much, Karybu! I worry about having even normal bowel movements 1-4 hours after taking the pill; but as I know those movements are old food and liquids that have been digested hours earlier, I think I just need to stop worrying. [Smile]

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Heather
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Well, also, if you weren't digesting, you wouldn't be having those bowel movements. [Smile]

It might help to remember that there's no direct pipeline from mouth to anus. Save with certain illnesses and conditions, there's a long process of digestion with many stops along the way before a bowel movement.

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copper86
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Thank you so much, Heather! I guess I'm just trying to have all my bases covered. I'm just scared it somehow didn't absorb; but since I didn't vomit or have diahrrea, I'm going to assume it was.

I have a quick question about missing a pill (though I know I haven't since I didn't have vomiting or diahrrea within 1-4 hours anyway). My instructions say if I miss pills, I need to use back-up protection for 7 days. Would that mean I would also need to have that extra back-up on the 7th day (so on the seventh day of taking the pill correctly)? Interestingly, it has no instructions for back-up after missing one pill (though I know missing a pill at the start or end of the pack requires back-up). Thank you so much for putting up with me! [Smile]

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Heather
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Since backing up one extra day or so isn't something I'd say most folks who are going to back up would sweat, I've not really been asked that before, and I'm earnestly not 100% sure.

But my understanding is that yes, you'd want to back up for a full seven days of taking the pills properly.

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copper86
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Thank you! [Smile] I just wanted to know what the exact timeframe was for the pill to be fully effective again.

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WorriedGirl11
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It depends on where you are in the pack, too, though.

I know for mine that if it's after the first week, you throw out the placebos at the end, go straight to a new pack, and don't have to use a back-up, but that might just be Yasmin.

If you google whatever you're on, it'll have a website detailing what to do for each week.(:

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copper86
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Just so I can relax, even *if* I missed a pill (which I doubt happened due to what my stools looked like, regardless of whether they occurred 3-4 hours after taking the pill), after 7 days of taking the pill consistently, my effectiveness is not compromised, correct? I just want to make sure that all my bases are covered. Thank you! [Smile]

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Robin Lee
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Your bases are covered...particularly if you and your partner are stil using condoms, which I know you've said before is something you want to be doing for genital sexual activity.

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you! Also, with less than a week left of my pills, I took one at 7:30 but since I popped it in and didn't "feel" myself swallow it, I freaked out and stripped my sheets and everything; and couldn't find it... So, I think it's taken (but the pills are so small that I'm sure it's not uncommon that people don't feel them going down their throat). And I'm sure that if I had dropped it from my hand, it would've hit my knee or my chest or something...

I had a talk with him about using condoms for anal sex, but he doesn't want to and didn't. However, he did not ejaculate; which was a comfort. But we will be using condoms for vaginal sex.

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Robin Lee
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No, it's not uncommon for people to worry that they didn't swallow small pills...of any kind. Sounds like you swallowed yours. *gentle smile*

If we've talked about this before and i'm not remembering, I apologize, but:

What is it about using condoms for anal sex that your boyfriend objects to?

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you! Since I didn't feel it hit me and it's nowhere to be found, I'm assuming it was taken properly. [Smile] Is it true that any missed pills in one's past cycle will not affect one's current cycle, as long as one starts the new pack of pills on time?

He doesn't want to use condoms for anal sex because he doesn't think it poses a pregnancy risk. I told him I knew that, but tried to talk about his ejaculate (if it ran down from the anus to the vulva, which would pose a risk, albeit indirect). He always withdraws, so that makes me feel better.

I just wish I wasn't so paranoid about whether or not I took that pill... But I'm trying to relax myself about that. [Smile] Thank you so much for your time!

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Robin Lee
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HI Copper,

Yes, it's absolutely true that your previous cycles don't impact your current cycle so long as you started the current cycle on time.

YOu know, most of the time when we eat or drink we don't focus on whether we can feel something going down our throats. We just know that it has. So, it really is safe to assume that you took your pill. [Smile]

Anal sex is much less of a pregnancy risk, especially considering that you are on the pill. I will say though that condoms make anal sex a lot neater and safer, especially if one is going to have anal and vaginal intercourse in the same encounter. When I say safer, I'm not just talking about STIs either. You likely know that anal tissues are pretty sensitive; the smoothness of the condom makes it much easier to prevent irritations or micro-tears. Okay, I'll end my anal sex mini-talk now. [Smile]

I hope you're feeling less stresed and anxious today.

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you so much, Robin! I'm going to try and just assume that I took it. This type of thing has happened once or twice before (where I'd thought the pill had been lost), and I think it's due to paranoia (and those pills are so small!). You're right though: when I eat and drink, it's not too often that I make note of it going down my throat. Thank you for that insight!

Thank you for your reassurances regarding anal sex. I definitely know what you mean about how sensitive the anus is; especially via eating foods that didn't agree with me. Condoms would definitely ease the entry and exit. I do experience pain sometimes with anal sex (not to the point that I'd need to tell him to stop, which I'm sure he would if I needed him to); but I found that the "deeper" he gets, the less painful it is. But I definitely agree with you regarding the safety of anal sex. Different positions seem to help with discomfort.

Safety and sanitation involving anal and vaginal sex within the same encounter is a very good point. We want to use condoms for vaginal sex, so hopefully that would keep things clean if we had engaged in anal sex beforehand. All this is making me wonder how sensitive the anal canal really is. There have been times where I've been in pain due to indigestion; and I was so afraid that tearing or ripping would occur. How long would those tears take to heal? Any minor irritations from hard stools would always go away within a few hours or a day.

Thank you so much for your concern - I am feeling a little less paranoid today. Thank you also for putting up with my often-in depth descriptions of my bodily functions! [Smile]

[ 08-01-2012, 10:34 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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HI Copper,

So glad to hear that you're feeling better.

It's unlikely that passing stools would cause anal tearing, as the body is designed to pass stools safely, even if there is some irritation. Penetration can be a bit of a different story though, since one is working against the body's natural tendencies--not a bad thing if done safely, just requires some thought and consideration. Tiny tears would heal on their own, though there might be more pain until they heal.

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you for explaining that to me, Robin! It's a relief to know that small tears would heal up on their own in time.

I'm still trying to convince myself that I took my pill; but if I didn't (which is a big "if"), how badly would my effectiveness be compromised? I know it's a huge no-no to miss pills at the beginning or end of the cycle. If I did miss which is doubtful, I would've had around 4-5 active pills left. I know he didn't ejaculate, but I just hate thinking against my own judgement calls.

How safe is it to truly have any kind of sex while on your period, or around the time of your period? I ended up bleeding for four days, spotting and then stopping for one day, and then continual bleeding for two more days. I'm assuming if any sperm got in there (not just in my case, but anyone's who is menstruating early enough that five days is still well into their bleed and they won't be ovulating for a while yet), they wouldn't really have much to do; as the uterine lining will be shed within a few hours and they can't attach themselves to anything? I've always wondered about that; though I know one can become pregnant by having sex while on their period.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

Yes, micro-tears can heal on their own, but they're not necessarily good to have, as they make the anus and rectum more prone to infection. There's already bacteria in the rectum and anus, and there can be bacteria on the penis that can get transferred. I think you've said that you and your boyfriend have been recently TESTED for STIs, but that's another consideration. Any kind of irritations or abbrasions of the anus (which can happen without anyone knowing about them or being able to see them) can make one more susceptible to STI transmission. All this to say that using condoms for anal sex is not just about reducing pregnancy risks...and not even about reducing STI risks either.

REgarding miss pills, if you haven't seen this article yet, I'd suggest giving it a read-through:

Three questions about taking the birth control pill (and plenty of answers)

When you're asking about periods, sex, and safety, I presume you're asking about pregnancy risks. First of all, if you're taking a combination birth control pill, you aren't ovulating as the function of combined hormonal birth control is to prevent ovulation from occurring.

Yes, it's possible for someone not taking hormonal birth control to get pregnant through intercourse on her period. It's less common than at other times, but given the variability of people's cycles, including that, as scientists are beginning to discover, some people ovulate more than once a month.

Again, though, if you're taking combined hormonal birth control you're not ovulating, so the time of your cycle doesn't apply.

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you so much for that article, Robin. I read through it, and it made me feel better. I know that I don't ovulate while taking the combined pill, so I guess by starting this new pack on time, I should not ovulate as it is. I read somewhere that missing any of the last week of pills is bad because there might not be enough hormones to suppress ovulation. But I can remember having that pill in my hand and swallowing, so I'm not going to count that as a missed pill. It's gotten to the point that I sometimes get out of bed, turn on the light, sit on the floor, and take my pill then. It could also be that I take my pills early in the morning, so I'm awake but still a little tired, you know?

Anal tearing sounds like something one should really avoid. I can certainly understand how tearing can pose a threat for infections and not just STI's. Thank you for what you said regarding menstruation. I was referring to pregnancy risk, but I was also curious as to what sperm would even do in the body, with no egg to fertilize. I know they can only live inside the body for up to five days; but I've wondered what they'd do during menstruation or withdrawal bleeds - or right before bleeds. I started my bleed 11 hours or so after engaging in anal sex, so I admittedly had a moment or two of panic wondering what would happen if any got in there.

But your "Buddy System" article keeps popping up in my head; and my paranoia over my pills is probably exactly why it's great to back up with a second method, just in case. [Smile] . I find it kind of creepy that a woman can ovulate more than once in a cycle; but I guess that makes sense, due to the ovaries potentially having two eggs that can be released maybe twice instead of only one time a cycle.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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copper86
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I have good news about my paranoia! After moving my bed and lifting my mattress and still seeing no pill (I had some time on my hands and rearranging my room is a little fun! [Smile] ), I'm finally trying to register that I did take my pill. I don't think my paranoia has to do only with the birth control pill... I think it's just who I am sometimes. Once something gets in my head, I overthink it and analyze it to death. But I'm trying to convince myself to relax. I also read in that article that missing one pill, though dangerous, does not compromise your effectiveness by a boatload (I know it does compromise it a little, but the wording of the article made it sound like, though you should be careful, your effectiveness isn't reduced dramatically). I know it also depends on how far into your cycle you are.

I'm trying to figure out why missing a pill at the end of the pack is so dangerous. I understand that missing a pill at the beginning of the pack is not good as your body can ovulate with the hormones withdrawal; but is missing a pill from the last week of the cycle dangerous since your body will be withdrawing from those last active pills' hormone for a week, and early ovulation could be triggered? I know that a regular menstrual cycle will only go through ovulation after a period has completed, but I was just unsure of the risk there. I'm sure the answer must be somewhere on this site; and I do not mind searching for it at all - I was just wondering about it is all.

[ 08-03-2012, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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You know, I don't know the answer to that. I'll do some searching of my own. [Smile]

I'm glad to hear that you're feeling less anxious. I'm wondering: Since you know this about yourself, that you tend to grab onto ideas and not be able to let them go too easily (I'm the same way, by the way), is this something you'd like to be able to mittigate so you don't get tofeeling so stressed?

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copper86
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It's a question that I have been pondering over lately. I find birth control fascinating (and scary when my thoughts fly around like this!); and I really want to know as much about it as I can.

Thank you so much. Yes, I would love to be able to manage them more logically. I'm trying to think of when I first started to feel paranoid; but I think the first strong incidence of when I felt that way sounds too "typical." When I was 14, I had an older boyfriend and when things were not going well between us towards the end of our relationship, he started ignoring me and not talking to me at all (in person, over MSN and email). I began to get frantic, wondering if he was mad at me or if he was going to break up with me. That was a very bad time in my life, and I remember feeling very helpless. When he did dump me, we had an awkward discussion once about maybe getting back together later; so I held onto that notion for a long time and got desperate. I don't want to blame my own issues on him - we're good friends now and I have forgiven him (and I was young and foolish as well, thinking that random things meant that he was mad at me) - but maybe that could be why I'm always paranoid about my partner not returning my texts and just about other things in my life. I'm also a perfectionist, so maybe that's also why.

I'm sorry, I know you didn't ask for my life story! But I am trying to get to the root of my fears... But yes, I would like to somehow manage them better. Even trying to rationalize things in my head doesn't really hold much against my feelings! I'm glad that I am not alone in feeling this way; but I am sorry that you go through that, too!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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HI Copper,

It doesn't sound to me as if you're blaming your ex-boyfriend. You're seeing the situation for what it likely was, two people not sure how to handle things and making a bit of a mess of it. Sometimes it really is things that seem small from a logical standpoint that can trigger or precipitate our fears.

I'm not sure what your interests or beliefs are, but sometimes people find that when the facts don't help slow the brain down, other things like yoga, meditation, or even just conscious breathing can help. Are these things you've ever explored or had an interest in?

If this is something that you feel is really interfering with your life, you another option is to explore the possibility of finding counselling.

I've also been wondering, looking back on this thread and others, if you might find another birth control method, one that you don't have to practice daily, would ease some of your fears. What do you think?

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin,

I've sometimes wondered if that situation has made me turn into a bit of a worry wart; but it's strange, because when other people come to me with their problems, I act rational and give them sound advice... Yet with my own thoughts, I can't stay too rational for long.

I am a Christian, and I often find that praying helps. Just talking to God about what's on my mind is good. But I've also thought about something like yoga or meditation - knowing that that won't interfere with my belief system - and think that I would like to try that.

I've kind of thought about counselling, but to be honest, I did talk to the Chaplain at my university once or twice every few months, just to talk about whatever I needed to. I loved doing that, and I really miss having that neutral, third party to share my thoughts, worries, and fears with. Also, I had a health services centre right on campus; so doctors and nurses would just tell me I was fine and I'd feel better. Maybe I'm still adjusting to not having those kinds of services at my fingertips, like I used to (not to mention free birth control).

I know it might sound weird for me to say this, but I actually really enjoy using the pill as a contraceptive method. I usually feel good about taking it on time; and these occasional flare-ups of "what if I didn't take it or it didn't absorb?" happen randomly. This month was odd for those happenings, but it's usually a smooth process and I don't even think much when I take it - it's a very normal part of my life now. I don't mind paying out of pocket for it (I don't want it on my parents' insurance, and as it is, I think I can't even be on their insurance now, since I've graduated from university and am not legally a "dependent" since I am not a student); and I find it generally easy to access (though going to walk-ins now will be a bit annoying).

I actually thought about or considered an IUD a couple of weeks ago; but immediately shied away from it because I had read somewhere on here that it was very costly. I don't even know if my university practised inserting those or not; and to be honest, I didn't even know those existed when I was looking up birth control options two years ago. Again, I like taking the pill and can usually be okay about it as far as my fears go. I know I wouldn't want to insert a ring or a patch, so I'm pretty happy with my method right now. I also think that an IUD has to be inserted and worn for at least five years, correct? Part of me wonders if I'll even want kids at some point (I think I do, but it wouldn't be for a long time), but I'd be 28 or 29 by that time, depending if I were to get it, so I was wondering how removal worked, as well. That's the only method I can think of that I wouldn't have to practice daily... I know the ring is just something you insert and take out, but I'm not comfortable with inserting something like that and hoping it was in properly.

I truly think I am happy with the pill, it's just that I sometimes worry way too much over it. Again, most months are usually fine when it comes to me taking it and knowing it had absorbed before any bowel movements and stuff... Maybe since I didn't engage in any sex until right before my period, my mind decided to latch onto a few things so I wasn't completely worry-free. [Smile]

Thank you for all of your help! I might look up some yoga or breathing... I've been fascinated by that kind of stuff.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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