Stress can affect the body in many different ways and may cause medications to react differently in your body. Many women have experienced menstrual irregularities due to stress, and these may also impact your contraception. Prevent an unwanted pregnancy by understanding the potential interactions between your physiology, stress and your birth control choices.
Stress can impact your menstrual cycle, causing early, late or even skipped periods. While stress is less apt to effect your period when you take hormonal birth control, you should be prepared for the possibility of erratic periods when highly stressed. Stress may be responsible for breakthrough bleeding, especially if you take a continuous birth control pill. Hormonal birth control methods may also cause menstrual irregularity, including breakthrough bleeding, spotting, and lighter or heavier periods, so stress may not be to blame. While stress does impact your hormones, it will not make your hormonal birth control ineffective, assuming you take it as prescribed.
Skipping Birth Control
Stress may cause you to be forgetful or careless with contraception, regardless of the contraceptive you prefer. You may need to be especially careful not to miss pills or forget to use a condom. If you live an especially high stress life, consider a contraceptive that requires less daily thought, like the birth control ring rather than the pill and ask your partner to help with consistent condom use. In the case of nearly every contraceptive method, a failure to use the product correctly is responsible for higher actual failure rates.
Stress and Fertility Awareness
If you use the fertility awareness method (FAM), natural family planning (NFP) or the rhythm method to prevent pregnancy, you should be especially aware of the possibility of stress affecting your birth control. Watch your fertility signs carefully to be aware of the impending signs of ovulation. Stress can cause you to ovulate early or late; however, you will be able to see signs of fertility before ovulation occurs. Changes in the menstrual cycle due to stress occur in the first half of your cycle, before ovulation.