The decision about whether or when to have a child is an important one. Unlike women in years past, women today have many choices of birth control methods; however, any birth control method has a failure rate – even sterilization may fail in 1 out of 100 women, according to WomensHealth.gov – so it’s important to know about things that may affect your birth control method.
Birth Control Methods
Birth control methods range from abstinence to oral contraceptives to injections to devices or substances placed in the vagina. In addition, there are birth control patches and male condoms. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Abstinence methods have no side effects, but timing is critical, and they do not allow for spontaneity. Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, must be taken each day; they can have serious side effects such as high blood pressure, heart attack, blood clots and stroke.
Caffeine and Birth Control
Caffeine has been found to interact with two forms of birth control: oral contraceptives and Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive. Both of these methods use natural or synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilization and/or implantation of the fertilized egg. Oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progestin. They are usually taken every day. Depo-Provera contains only progestin and works by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs.
Oral Contraceptives, Minerals and Caffeine
Caffeine increases the body's excretion of a number of minerals. In a study reported in the February 2003 “Journal of Nutrition,” researchers noted that oral contraceptives decreased caffeine’s ability to cause minerals to be excreted in the urine. Women on oral contraceptives were found to have significantly lower excretion of several minerals after a high dose of caffeine. Calcium excretion was the most notable, with a nine-fold decrease in calcium excretion after caffeine intake.
Oral Contraceptives and Caffeine Metabolism
Interactions between oral contraceptives and other substances can either impair or enhance the effectiveness of the contraceptive, neither of which applies to caffeine. Oral contraceptives can also interfere with the metabolism of other drugs, and that is the case with caffeine. An article in the June 1990 issue of “Clinical Pharmacokinetics” reports that oral contraceptives can decrease the body’s ability to metabolize caffeine. Oral contraceptive users may find they need to decrease their caffeine intake to prevent negative side effects such as restlessness and anxiety.
Considerations and Warnings
According to Drugs.com, caffeine may cause an increased chance of side effects when used with Depo-Provera, and users should not drink large quantities of caffeine. Caffeine is unlikely to affect most forms of birth control, but if you use either oral contraceptives or Depo-Provera and also use any form of caffeine, consult with a health care professional for any questions or concerns.
- “Journal of Nutrition”; Use Of Oral Contraceptives Blunts The Calciuric Effect Of Caffeine In Young Adult Women; M.A. Ribeiro-Alves; February 2003
- Drugs.com; Depo-Provera
- “Clinical Pharmacokinetics”; Pharmacokinetic Drug Interactions with Oral Contraceptives; D.J. Back and M. L’E Orme; June 1990
- Mayo Clinic; Caffeine: How Much Is Too Much?; March 2011