Having a Poo After Taking the Pill: Should I be Worried?

One night of unsafe sex and you’re all worried about a baby popping up soon. This is when the morning after pills come to the rescue! Must feel like a big crisis averted after taking a dose. 

But what if you have a bowel movement right after taking the pill? 

You must be wondering whether having a poo after taking the pill is actually an issue?

The answer might be both yes and no. Having a normal bowel movement after taking the pill is not of much concern. But, getting diarrhea can highly affect the effectiveness of the pill. However, factors like the time and frequency of diarrhea can change the answer. 

So without further ado, let’s jump into the details of this concerning issue. .

How Does the Pill Work?

Before knowing whether having a poo is going to affect the functions of the pill, you need to know how the pill works in the first place. 

As you may already know, most of the concerning places in a woman’s body are controlled by hormones! So, it must not be surprising that birth control pills also contain such hormones. 

Two hormones that birth control pills contain are estrogen and progestin. 

having-a-poo-after-taking-the-pill

These hormones prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the female ovaries. If eggs are not released, sperm can’t join with them, therefore fertilization can’t occur. And without fertilization, no pregnancy!

Another way by which birth control pills work is by increasing mucus production in the cervix. This makes the mucus lining of the cervix very thick. 

As a result, sperms can not swim up to fertilize eggs and may get stuck in this lining.

Along with these, pills can also affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to be implanted. Therefore, again preventing pregnancy.

Pills may have some side-effects that include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes

Regardless of these side-effects, pills have proven to successfully prevent pregnancy in 99% cases, if taken correctly. 

Now, there can be some situations when even after taking the pill timely, it proves to be ineffective. 

One of these situations is when you have severe diarrhea. Let’s dig a little deeper into this point in the next section.

Effects of Having a Poo After Taking the Pill

Generally, it takes 15-30 minutes for a medicine to dissolve and enter the bloodstream. A medicine can only start working on the body, if it has been properly absorbed in the blood. 

Anything that might hamper this absorption, will affect the effectiveness of the medicine. 

Severe diarrhea that lasts for days can highly affect the absorption of medicines in the body, pills being included. 

I’ve provided a table below that lists all the possible types of bowel movements and their timings and how much they would affect the pill’s effectiveness:

Normal stool right after taking the pillThis will not affect the effectiveness of the pill at all.
Diarrhea 10 minutes after taking pillThis will not affect the effectiveness of the pill unless the diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours.
Diarrhea 30 minutes after taking birth controlThis will not affect the effectiveness of the pill unless the diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours.
Severe diarrhea that lasts for 24 hours or more.This might affect how properly the pill works but has no proven evidence.
Diarrhea that last for more than 48 hoursThis will affect the effectiveness of the pill and should be considered the same as missing a pill.

Well then, this sums up how having a poo after taking the pill will or will not affect the functions of the pill.

Keep in mind that digestive disorders or bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or IBD can affect the absorption of any oral medication. So, if you have such a condition, best to discuss it with your healthcare provider before taking the pills.

Now, the question might arise about what should be done if the diarrhea affect the effectiveness of the pill. Let’s get that answered too.

What to do if You Get Diarrhea After Taking the Pill?

If you’ve looked at the table above, you should know having diarrhea for 24 hours to more than 48 hours might affect how the pill works.

What should you do then? Should you take another dose? Should you use other contraceptive protection? Or does this mean you’ll be pregnant the next day?

Calm down ladies, your answer is just a line away!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided suggestions for your problem in their report for combined hormonal contraceptives

They suggested that:

  • If you get diarrhea within 24 hours of taking any hormonal pill and if it continues upto 24 to <48 hours, then:
    • You do not need any redose
    • Keep taking the pill on the usual time 
    • Additional contraceptive protection is not needed.
    • Emergency contraception is not required but can be considered.
  • If you get diarrhea after taking the pill that continues for or more than 48 hours then:
    • Keep taking the pill on the usual time.
    • Additional contraceptives (eg. Condoms) should be used or sexual contact should be avoided until 7 consecutive days of taking the pill after diarrhea resolves.
    • Emergency contraceptives should be used if diarrhea occurs during the first week of taking the pills, and unprotected sexual intercourse has occurred during the last five days.

Regardless, it is advised to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the diarrhea after taking the pill. The doctor might judge the frequency and timing of diarrhea to give you a better and more accurate solution.

Notice how it is not mentioned anywhere to take redoses of the pill if you have diarrhea. This is because doubling up the pill dosage has its own side effects.

Well then ladies, now you know the effects and what to do about it if you’re having a poo after taking the pill. 

So if you’re still wondering if loose stool after taking birth control is a problem, then you know the answer depends on the frequency and duration of diarrhea. 

So, if you are having diarrhea exactly at the same time when you were planning to take pills, what’s the alternative? Certainly, you should go for other birth control options. The next segment will guide you with this. 

Alternative Birth Controls

Since orally taken birth control pills may be affected by vomiting or diarrhea, it might be time to consider other birth control processes. 

Sounds like a different universe, does it?

Many alternative birth controls exist with varying effectiveness. Let’s look at some of them:

Condoms 

Condoms are one of the most common birth controls. While you must already know what they are, let me state a proper definition.

condoms

Condoms are balloon-like tubes made of latex. They’re worn over a man’s penis during sexual intercourse to prevent sperms from entering a woman. 

That being said, allow the condoms to serve their purpose by using them instead of or along with contraceptive pills. 

Yes, the experience of your and your partner’s moment might be reduced, but better safe than sorry! 

Condoms also reduce the risk of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases (STD), so that’s like getting a two birds with one stone situation for you!

Diaphragm 

This is a dome-shaped device that is placed in a woman’s vagina. It prevents sperms from reaching the cervix, helping avoid pregnancy.

diaphragm

Diaphragms are often coated with spermicides for better protection. 

Contraceptive Injections

These are hormonal injections that prevent pregnancy the same way as pills. 

The only difference is that these are not taken orally, so pooping right after taking birth control is not an issue here.

These injections are commonly known as ‘shots’. They must be taken every 3 months to work effectively.

Contraceptive Implant

Commonly known as ‘the implant’ is a small, plastic rod that is inserted by a healthcare professional into the upper arm. 

It works by releasing hormones that prevent pregnancy in its own ways. This device stays effective for 3 years.

Implants like Nexplanon can also affect your period flow and menstrual cycle.

Intrauterine Devices

Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a device that is fit into the uterus by a healthcare professional. These devices provide long term prevention of pregnancy.

IUD

There are 2 types of IUD:

  • Hormonal:  These work by thickening the muscles of the cervix, thus preventing sperms from entering the uterus.
  • Non-hormonal or copper: These create a toxic atmosphere for the sperms. 

Both these types prevent the sperms from reaching the egg, avoiding fertilization. Also, they can both be used safely.

Although, one side effect of using IUD is the effects it has on your skin. Hormonal IUD like Mirena can lead to cystic acne formation around the chin and jawline. 

Now wait up, don’t get scared already! Because skin care routines for IUD acnes and cure for Mirena acne are available

Once an IUD is fit into the uterus it can stay effective for upto 10 years, depending on the type. It can be removed too if a woman wishes to conceive. 

That’s it then.

These are some of the common birth control alternatives to oral pills. They are highly effective and are not affected by diarrhea or vomiting. 

Thus, having a poo after taking the pill is not an issue anymore, if you consider these better, safer alternatives.

FAQs

Can I take laxatives while on birth control?

Answer: It’s best not to. Since laxatives are medicines that help cause a bowel movement, they might not allow the pill enough time to get absorbed. It’s best to contact a healthcare professional to discuss this matter. Regardless, laxatives will not affect other forms of birth control, so they’re worth trying out.

Can you poop an hour after taking birth control?

Answer: Yes, of course you can. Having a normal bowel movement after taking a birth control pill is not a problem at all. 

Can drinking too much water affect birth control?

Answer: Nope, drinking too much water has no effect on birth control pills.

Does alcohol have any effect on the pill?

Answer: No, consuming alcohol does not affect the effectiveness of the pill. However, regular drinking and staying drunk may cause you to forget your doses.

Take-Away

Now then, should you be worried about having a poo after taking the pill?

Not at all! To sum up, the only time you should be worried is if you’re having a loose bowel movement or diarrhea that lasts for more than 48 hours. 

But hang on.

This article has provided answers for this problem too. That leaves you with nothing to worry about!

Sumaiya Hasan

Sumaiya Hasan

Hello readers! I'm Sumaiya, an enthusiastic microbiology student from North South University. I love to read & learn about anything new, especially if they're related to health. I believe people should be better educated about their health, and I'm proud to be able to contribute to their knowledge earning process.

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
Logo