Although taking birth control is quite common, there’s still an endless list of questions that women ask while they’re on the pill. Being knowledgeable with what occurs at a physiological level when you miss a pill can allow you to take the safest and most effective action—which can start with using a pill management app.
How Often Does Missing a Pill Occur?
While there is no universal answer to this question, any woman on the pill has probably forgotten to take her daily dose at least once. This is usually followed by a wave of panic, confusion, and concern. There’s so much that is already known about periods, pregnancy, and birth control, but there’s also still plenty of hearsay that hinders people from getting accurate and helpful information.
By clearing the air on exactly what happens in the body when one skips a pill, the expected impact on contraception, and the recommended protocols if or when you miss a dose, you can stay level-headed in the event that you miss taking a pill.
What Happens in the Body When a Pill is Missed?
Although most women on the pill already know this, it’s worth remembering that the pill is most effective when taken at the same time every day. There is always a chance of contraception failure when a pill is missed, along with a few side effects, which is why a birth control pill reminder should be used to prevent missed pills.
The pill works by using a combination of two hormones that prevent pregnancy hormones from being released. These include the luteinizing hormone and the follicle-stimulating hormone that is released by the pituitary gland to signal the brain. These two hormones work to prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy by developing the egg released by the ovaries and readying the uterus to house the developing embryo.
The pill prevents these two hormones from being produced, so the preparation that typically goes on in developing the egg for release and preparing the uterus to be a suitable environment for pregnancy never happens. Skipping a pill is risky because it can suddenly cause these pregnancy hormones to activate, leading to a momentary lapse in protection! Missing your pill can also lead to mood changes and breakthrough bleeding, among other symptoms.
The Number of Pills Missed Matters
While it might be a relief to know that missing one pill will generally not decrease the entire pill pack’s effectiveness, two or more consecutive pills will require backup birth control for at least a week. The rest of the pills in the pack should also be taken to prevent pregnancy. Having a medication log app will help you keep track of what pills you have and haven’t taken to maintain the proper birth control measures with the rest of your pack.
If you have a gynecologist, then it’s best to consult them on how your specific pill type should be taken if you miss a dose. Not every pill pack is the same, so every action plan to prevent pregnancy after missing a certain number of pills will differ. While you can find some of this information online, it’s better to be safe and book an appointment with your gynecologist.
What to Do If You Miss a Pill
The first and most important thing to do when you miss a pill is to remain calm. Try not to panic, and take the missed pill the second you remember. Continue with the rest of your birth control pack as it’s scheduled, even if you have to take two pills that day. Any more than one pill missed means you need to consult with your doctor.
Knowing what happens in your body is extremely valuable when it comes to using birth control pills. While effective, it can be easy to become lax with your pill usage, from taking it late to completely missing it until the next day. Understanding how your hormones ‘wake up’ when you miss a pill is a reminder to take it correctly and keep you protected until you’re truly ready to be pregnant.
Using a form of med log tracking is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent missing your pills and other daily medications. Here at My Medication Log, we provide a medication management system for both patients and caregivers to ease the task of medicine management. Download our app from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store today!