Natural Health Research

Naturopathic Medicine
Health Quizzes
Birth Control Pills, Oral Contraceptives, Brevicon, Demulen, Desogen, Enovid


Birth Control Pills usually work by preventing a woman's ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). They also thicken the cervical mucus, which keeps sperm from joining with an egg.


progesterone and estrogen


contraception, postcoital contraception

Side Effects

abdominal pain or cramping, acne vulgaris, alopecia, amenorrhea, anorexia, anxiety, appetite stimulation, azotemia, breast carcinoma, breast discharge, breast enlargement, candidiasis, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, depression, diplopia, dizziness, edema, elevated hepatic enzymes, erythema nodosum, fluid retention, galactorrhea, headache, hepatitis, hepatoma, hypertension, jaundice, keratoconus, libido decrease, maculopapular rash, mastalgia, melasma, myocardial infarction, nausea/vomiting, optic neuritis, pancreatitis, photosensitivity, pulmonary embolism, retinal thrombosis, stroke, thrombosis, unusual weakness or tiredness, urticaria, vaginal bleeding, vaginitis, vaginal candidiasis, weight gain, withdrawal bleeding
Changes in the menstrual bleeding pattern or intermenstrual bleeding, such as amenorrhea (complete stoppage of menstrual bleeding over several months) absence of withdrawal bleeding (occasional stoppage of menses over nonconsecutive months) breakthrough bleeding (vaginal bleeding between regular menstrual periods, which may require the use of a pad or a tampon) metrorrhagia (prolonged bleeding) scanty menses (very light menstrual bleeding) or spotting (light vaginal bleeding between regular menstrual periods).
Up to 46% of women using oral contraceptives experience changes in the intermenstrual uterine bleeding pattern. Breakthrough bleeding occurs in 6 to 12% of women; some may require a change to a higher formulation with progestin or a change to a monophasic oral contraceptive after 3 months.

Drug-Vitamin-Herb Interactions

Negative interactions:

Androstenedione increases estrogen levels, which may increase the adverse effects of estrogen therapy.

Boron may increase estrogen levels, which may increase the adverse effects of estrogen therapy.

Dong quai
Dong quai contains beta-sitosterol, a phytoestrogen, which may increase the adverse effects of estrogen therapy. Studies, however, do not support this.

Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit juice slows breakdown of estrogen.

St JohnÕs Wort - may interfere with effectiveness of BCPs, may cause breakthrough bleeding

St JohnÕs Wort and Dong Quai - may cause sensitivity to sunlight which adds to side effects

Mixed interactions:

Ipriflavone protects bone, but may increase estrogen effect on the uterus.

Positive interactions:

Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and Vitamin D aid in bone growth.

Magnesium metabolism is enhanced by estrogen, which may result in a deficiency.

Soy contains isoflavones which may interfere with the action of estrogens (controvertial).

Vitamins B2, B6 and B12
BCPs may lower Vitamins B2, B6 and B12.

Vitamin C
BCPs depress levels of vitamin C.

BCPs may reduce levels of zinc.




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Nutritional Genetics is a fantastic resource.



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