Birth Control And IBS

Could there be a connection between birth control and IBS? After all, women develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome more frequently than men.

Hormones play a major role in our bodies and none more so than estrogens in women.

Estrogen is the main hormone used in the OCP or oral contraceptive pill along with progesterone or progesterone alone.

We know in pregnancy, constipation often worsens whereas diarrhea sometimes improves.

Equally in women without IBS, constipation is more common too.

Birth Control and IBS

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So, could the OCP be having an effect on you?

Oral Contraceptive Pill And Irritable Bowel Syndrome

As of this moment, there is very little evidence from studies to draw any conclusions on this. There was a study with the progesterone, drospirenone (found in the OCP’s Yasmin, Yaz, Gianvi) which showed an increased frequency of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in women taking it (1).

That is the only study I have found, so it is an area that needs exploring further.

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Anecdotal Evidence About Birth Control And IBS

There is quite a lot of anecdotal evidence, by looking on the internet and from women I have talked to, that the oral contraceptive pill seems to worsen women's Irritable Bowel syndrome.

It has to be interpreted with caution, but if you are experiencing a worsening of your symptoms on the pill, you might like to consider alternative contraception methods.

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What About Other Forms Of Contraception?

You have to remember that other forms of contraception use spermacides and also latex. Latex allergy or sensitivity is not uncommon and should be considered if your symptoms worsen.

Also, sensitivity to the spermicide, commonly Nonoxynol-9, should be considered to.

There is currently not trial evidence on this subject.

References:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome And Drospirenone-Containing Oral Contraceptives; A Comparative Study

Bird, ST et al. Curr Drug Saf. 2012 Feb;7(1):8-15.

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