Does Smoking Affect Birth Control & Do You Need to Quit First?

smoking and birth control

When you’re thinking about birth control, it’s important to consider how your lifestyle choices might affect it. One big question is whether smoking makes birth control pills less effective. Let’s explore this to understand how smoking and birth control are connected.

Does smoking affect birth control pills?

Yes, smoking can make birth control pills not work as well. These pills contain man-made hormones called estrogen and progesterone. These hormones team up to manage your menstrual cycle and stop pregnancy by stopping ovulation, thickening the mucus in your cervix to block sperm, and making it hard for an egg to attach to your uterus.

But smoking puts a lot of harmful stuff into your body, like nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide. Nicotine, especially, can mess with how your body handles estrogen, which is one of the main hormones in birth control pills. This messing around can mess up your hormone levels, which might make the pill not as good at stopping pregnancy.

Plus, smoking can make you more likely to have health problems like heart issues and trouble breathing. And when you smoke while taking birth control pills, which already have a tiny risk of making blood clots, smoking makes that risk even higher. These blood clots can be really serious and even life-threatening.

How does smoking affect it?

When you smoke tobacco, your body gets hit with lots of bad stuff, like nicotine. Nicotine is strong and tightens up your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow. This tightening can mess with how your liver breaks down estrogen, a hormone in birth control pills. Normally, the liver breaks down estrogen, but nicotine can speed up this process, getting rid of estrogen faster. This might mean there’s not enough estrogen left to do its job in the pill, making it less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Also, smoking makes blood clots more likely, and birth control pills with estrogen can already increase this risk a bit. When you smoke, your blood vessels get even tighter, making it easier for clots to form. This combo of smoking and birth control pills can raise the chances of getting blood clots.

Apart from messing with estrogen and blood clotting, smoking can also mess up your health, causing heart problems, lung issues, and even cancer. So, when thinking about birth control pills, it’s essential to consider how smoking can affect them and your overall health.

Does this include using a vape or cigar?

Yep, whether you’re puffing on a regular cigarette, vaping with an e-cigarette, or enjoying a cigar, smoking can mess with how well your birth control pills work. They all have one thing in common: nicotine, which can throw off your hormones and cause problems when mixed with birth control.

Even though vaping is often seen as a safer choice compared to regular smoking, it still exposes you to nicotine and other not-so-good stuff. Vapes heat a liquid containing nicotine and flavors, turning it into a mist you breathe in. While it might not involve burning tobacco like regular cigarettes, vaping still carries risks because of nicotine. This nicotine can still mess with your hormone levels, making it harder for birth control pills to do their job.

And don’t forget about cigars! Even though they’re not as common as cigarettes or vapes for daily smoking, cigars also contain nicotine and other harmful substances. Lighting up a cigar can have similar effects on your hormones and heart health as smoking cigarettes. So, whether you’re smoking cigarettes, vaping, or puffing on a cigar, the concern about how it affects your birth control remains the same.

How long should I wait after quitting before taking birth control?

If you’re thinking about starting birth control pills, it’s smart to quit smoking first. This helps lower the risks and makes the pills work better. But how long should you wait after quitting before starting birth control? Well, it depends on you and what your doctor suggests.

Usually, it’s best to wait a few weeks after quitting smoking before starting birth control. This gives your body time to get used to not having nicotine and other harmful stuff from cigarettes. Waiting helps reduce any potential problems and makes the birth control pills work their best.

Quitting smoking is a big change, and your body needs time to adjust. During this time, it’s important to focus on staying healthy by exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. These things can help you feel better overall and make the birth control pills work even better.

It’s also essential to talk to your doctor about quitting smoking and starting birth control. They can give you personalized advice based on your health and history. Your doctor can help you come up with a plan to quit smoking and decide when it’s best to start birth control to keep you safe and healthy.

Are there exceptions to this?

It’s usually a good idea to stop smoking before starting birth control pills to lower the risks and make them work better. But sometimes there are exceptions, depending on your situation and what your doctor advises.

  • Medical Factors: Your doctor will look at your overall health and medical history to choose the best birth control for you. In some cases, starting birth control pills may be okay even if you smoke, especially if you have certain health conditions that require birth control.
  • Trying to Quit: If you’re actively trying to quit smoking and making progress, your doctor might consider starting birth control pills while supporting your efforts to quit. Quitting smoking is still important, but starting birth control might be okay if it’s the best choice for you.
  • Other Birth Control Options: If you can’t or don’t want to quit smoking, other birth control methods without estrogen might be better for you. These include the mini-pill, hormonal IUDs, implants, or injections.
  • Assessing Risks: Your doctor will assess the risks of smoking and using birth control pills for your health. They’ll also check in with you regularly to see how you’re doing and make any necessary changes to your birth control plan.
  • Personalized Care: Everyone’s situation is different, so your doctor will work with you to find the best birth control option that fits your needs and keeps you healthy and safe.

In the end, while quitting smoking before starting birth control pills is usually the best choice, your doctor will consider many factors to decide what’s right for you. It’s important to talk openly with your doctor, make informed decisions, and get ongoing support, especially if you’re trying to quit smoking.

Smoking affects birth control

Smoking can mess with how well birth control pills work and might make them less safe. The stuff in tobacco, like nicotine, can mess up how your hormones work and make blood clots more likely. To stay safer, it’s a good idea to quit smoking before starting birth control. Talk to your doctor to figure out what’s best for you and find other birth control options that fit your needs and lifestyle.

Scroll to Top