Birth Control Pills and Ulcerative Colitis connection?

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 1/12/2009 10:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm new to this forum, but not to UC.  I was diagnosis in 2002.  My flare ups were treated with Rowasa Enemas (which only occured every year to year and a half) However, since May 2008 my flare ups have been at their worst.  I am now on Lialda (4 pills a day) as well as a folic acid vitamin (whatever)  The flare ups are always intensified by the use of any anti biotic. The only thing that stops the bleeding from anti biotic use is using the Rowasa Enemas for a month's time. I have sinus problems as well. 
Ive read so much about this disease and concluded that it's all trial and error.  I stay away from coffee, leafy greens and fake sugars.
I was wondering if anyone thinks there is connection with UC flare ups and using birth control pills.  I started taking BC in April 08 and coincidently my UC has been off the wall.   I really hope not because BC  cleared up my face.  darn this all sucks  LOL

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 1/12/2009 10:16 PM (GMT -6)   
My doc seems to think there is a connection between my long term BC use (15 yrs) and developing UC.  When he gave me the diagnosis he suggested I get off of BC for good.  However, I'm sure that is not the only contributing factor.  Maybe it is the specific BC you are on, can you try a different one?

Diagnosed with UC March '07
Colazal 3 pills 3x a day
Prednisone - will never take it again!

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 1/12/2009 11:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Researchers have found the the BC pill can exacerbate symptoms for those with IBD, that said, even without taking BC pills, during our menstral cycle, the fluctuations of hormones can also exacerbate our IBD symptoms...BC pills also add to bacterial over growth so it's essential to take a good probiotic, which actually is a good idea even if not taking BC pills.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3231
   Posted 1/13/2009 12:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I never took BC pills. The women in my family have a history of getting blood clots from them. I guess it's good I never tried them. I get tons of blood clots when I'm flaring.
Joy - 47 yrs and counting

Diagnosed w/ UC Dec 06
Currently in remission


Lexapro (for stress)
Vitamins (a whole bunch of them)
Anti-inflammatory foods: turmeric, seaweed, garlic...
Avoid: anything with high-fructose corn syrup, foods high in fructose

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 1/13/2009 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Some women have flare ups while using bc's because it messes with the hormone and others don't so it's one of those things. I, personally, have always been bothered by hormonal surges. I agree that maybe you should try a different one that is less potent. And if you still have issues with flaring while on bc's then it may be that you just can't take them.
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, OA in my fingers 
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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 1/13/2009 9:05 AM (GMT -6)   
I actually feel better when taking birth control pills. I went off of them and before I was to get my period each month the "D" was bad because of all of the cramping etc. . I also think my hormone levels have something to do with it and the BC pills seem to even things out. Just my 2 cents

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 1/13/2009 9:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Many, if not all, people with UC have an imbalance of gut ecology - an overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungi and not enough of the good. In particular, candida overgrowth is often a problem and birth control pills - as well as antibiotics and steroids - can make this worse. The fact that you mention you also have sinus problems makes me suspect this may be the case with you. I highly recommend you check out the book Candida-Related Complex: What Your Doctor Might Be Missing and see if anything rings a bell.

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999.
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine.
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice. Oregano oil antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal. Long-term remission with only minor blips.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4538
   Posted 1/13/2009 10:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm going to start taking the pill again next month. I hope it doesn't cause any problems with my UC.
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day; Rowasa; Canasa; Viactiv; Metamucil wafers; multivitamin; sublingual allergy drops

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 1/13/2009 11:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm fairly certain that bc pills caused my last/current flare. I'm still angry at myself for taking them!
Female, Age 20
9 Asacol, Rowasa1000 mg Canasa, Proctofoam, Rifaximin 2/day
Digestive Advantage (Crohn's & Colitis)1 Florastor, 50 mg 6MP,1 Primadophilus reuteri, Remicade (5 infusions), 2.4 g Lialda, Forvia, 6 Colazal, 1 Anucort, Culturelle, Fish Oil, Calcium/Vit D supplement, 10 mg Prozac, VSL #3

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 1/14/2009 9:59 AM (GMT -6)   
I definitely found a connection between going off the pill and an improvement in my UC, check out this post for more discussion on this:
-Lialda (4 pills/day), canasa, Align probiotic, kefir, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 1/15/2009 10:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been on birth control on and off since college and did not see a short term correlation but I have been pregnant 3 time (the first ending in m/c) and the first pregnancy the flare started at 5 weeks, the 2nd pregnancy the flare started in the 3rd trimester ending on it's own after delivery (no diarrhea, no pressure, not cramps just "embarrasing leakage during passing gas" and "the ulcer release mucusy clumps"., this last pregnancy it started at 17 weeks and was almost hospitalized at 25 weeks after 40-50 bowels a day (diagnosis day). I know all this is uneccesary and I am rambling but I do believe that hormonal imbalances and stress are key triggers to my flare ups and maybe that small change of hormone really effects you. May consider switching to a low-dose birth control pill or going off for 3 months and see if it alleviates the symtoms a bit.
28 yr. old Mother of 2 in NY
Diagnosed in 2008. Family history: Mother with Active UC, 30+ years.
Flare-ups during pregnancies only (so far). Currently in remission.
Controlled: Prednisone, 40mg/ed. for 30 week @ time of diagnosis.
No maintenance drugs.
Supplements, Fiber, Probiotics

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 7/25/2010 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I came across this forum after googling "birth control pill + ulcerative colitis", but it is because I believe my BC pills have kept me in remission. I was diagnosed with UC in 2007 and found out I was pregnant less than a month later. My UC was horrendous during pregnancy and I was hospitalized around 22 weeks (over Christmas 2007) because I couldn't get my flare in check even with 50mg of prednisone daily. My daughter was born prematurely at 33 weeks, but had intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) so she was very small (2lbs 15oz). She was very healthy, however, and has had NO health problems since birth. She's now a happy and healthy 2.5 yr old.

Anyway, my reason for posting is that I have been symptom free since I went back on the pill a year ago. However, we've decided to start trying for another baby this fall. My OB wants to test me for clotting disorders before we start trying and so I went off the pill two weeks ago. On Thursday I woke up to cramping, diarrhea, and blood. Great. I sobbed for half an hour because my OB said to definitely NOT get pregnant again if I was flaring. Guess that's good for another topic though.

Point is, my experience has been symptom-free ON the pill and flares OFF the pill. Crazy how everyone's experiences are so different!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 2103
   Posted 7/25/2010 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
My period gave me really bad D while I was flaring so I started BC to manage my hormones and it really helped me.
It's different for everyone, and its up to you whether you want to risk it or not. My primary wanted me on a small dose so he put me on ortho tri cyclen lo and I haven't had any problems with it.
21 year old college student
Diagnosed in March 2005 at 15. Flared for almost two years. Got into remission in Jan 2006 through a bowel rest. Got bad case of mono in Feb 2006 from being on 6-mp but went back into remission in Mar 2006. It's been FOUR blissful years!!!
Meds: 3 750mg Colazal 2x, 25mg Elavil, 75mg Effexor XR for GAD, ortho lo
"It is not the strongest speices that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change"
Charles Darwin

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 7/26/2010 1:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Otho tri cyclen Lo has been better than the regular for me. The regular ortho made me very nauseous after taking it for a decade. When I switched to Lo it really helped. I had UC for 5 years before I started the pill and even being on the stronger ortho didnt do anything UC wise to me.
Diagnosed over 14 years ago.
Started mild but now pancolitis.
Apriso, Rowasa, SCD, probiotics, tumeric, vit. d, biotin, fish oil.
Ortho, Claritin, albuterol, Celexa.
Found Rowasa and SCD through this site and am looking back on my worst flare ever. So thankful to feel almost normal again!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 389
   Posted 7/26/2010 8:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I took BC pills for about 15 years, from adolescence through my late 20's.  Then I went off BC because I wanted to get pregnant.  I was off BC for about 7 yrs before I developed UC.  I wonder if that would still be a connection, since there was such a long time between BC use and UC?
Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed April 2010, age 37
I'm still pretty new at this but wanting to do what I can without medication.
Trying the "Specific Carbohydrate Diet" to manage symptoms, so far it seems like it might be working... Started SCD in June 2010

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2012
   Posted 7/27/2010 8:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Birth control helps some and hurts others. My period's uncomfortable, but birth control made me start a mild flare (low inflammation and blood). I wish I could take it! You could try something like Mirena or that copper one... Paragard?
20yr old female diagnosed with UC (pancolitis) in 2005 at age 15
125mg Azathioprine 1xday / Rowasa 1xday
500mg Vitamin C 1xday / 1000IU Vitamin D-3 1xday / 400IU Vitamin E 1xday
1000mg Turmeric (w/black pepper) 2xday / 500mg Cat's Claw 3xday
450mg Boswellia 1xday / Align 1xday
Also: asthma, acid reflux, and Raynaud's Syndrome

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 7/28/2010 3:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, bc pills caused me to flare big time. Before I started them, I was in remission with 6 Asacol/day. After I started bc pills and stopped them, I flared for almost a year and almost had surgery. Luckily, Remicade eventually kicked in. I will never take bc pills again.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 971
   Posted 7/30/2010 8:37 AM (GMT -6)   
I recently got off the pill..this is my third period not being on it and things are great so far..i do not notice any increase in symptoms and actually i was still able to kick a flare that started in may while getting off the pill at the same time.
I agree with the other poster who said its different for everyone..
28 yr old female
Pancolitis since Aug 2006
HUMIRA JUL2008- JAN 2010
Salofalk 12 pills a day (upped from 9 on May 15/2010)
Salofalk 12 pills a day
Salofalk 4g Enemas every 2nd night, started Jul 9/2010, Salofalk suppositories every 3rd morning , started May 5 2010
Fish oil, VSL1 packets per day, Vit D, Vit C, Vit B12 3x weekly , Ultimate Floral Critical Care X 2 caps a day
Current Status: IN GOOD SHAPE!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2012
   Posted 7/31/2010 8:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I was so in remission I like, totally forgot I had UC basically and didn't even consider it when going for bc... it reminded me... lol
20yr old female diagnosed with UC (pancolitis) in 2005 at age 15
125mg Azathioprine 1xday / Rowasa 1xday
500mg Vitamin C 1xday / 1000IU Vitamin D-3 1xday / 400IU Vitamin E 1xday
1000mg Turmeric (w/black pepper) 2xday / 500mg Cat's Claw 3xday
450mg Boswellia 1xday / Align 1xday
Also: asthma, acid reflux, and Raynaud's Syndrome

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 463
   Posted 7/31/2010 9:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I wonder which hormone it is that causes the flare - is it the estrogen increase or progesterone? Just curious since I'm on hormone replacement after having ovaries and uterus removed (endometriosis). I'd love to know which exacerbates the UC and I'll decrease that one to the minimum!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2012
   Posted 7/31/2010 9:29 PM (GMT -6)   
I watched a tv show saying progesterone spikes at ovulation and at the beginning of menstruation so maybe it's that one, but don't quote me on it.
20yr old female diagnosed with UC (pancolitis) in 2005 at age 15
125mg Azathioprine 1xday / Rowasa 1xday
500mg Vitamin C 1xday / 1000IU Vitamin D-3 1xday / 400IU Vitamin E 1xday
1000mg Turmeric (w/black pepper) 2xday / 500mg Cat's Claw 3xday
450mg Boswellia 1xday / Align 1xday
Also: asthma, acid reflux, and Raynaud's Syndrome

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/28/2010 5:53 PM (GMT -6)   
brand new member here.  i just got the diagnois at 8 weeks post pardom with my second child.  I really think that my hormones had something to do with it. 
I went back on BC at 6 weeks PP and took it for 3 days, my D which had started to lessen, came back full force and a day or two after stopping the pill it got a little better.   I also had someone tell me that had UC before pregnancy have no problems at all while pregnant, so I think it does effect everyone differently! 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 8/29/2010 7:28 AM (GMT -6)   
I never had increased symptoms while on the pill, but I was never very good at taking it correctly (as evidenced by my 2 adorable kids!). I've had a para-guard IUD for the last 5 years, and I LOVE it. This is the type of IUD that DOESN'T have any hormones in it. I recommend it to anyone who wants to be protected, doesn't want extra hormones and doesn't want to worry about daily BC pills. My insurance also covered it, which was a huge bonus for me!
UC dx in 1998 (age 18) - proctosigmoiditis, possible CD (untested)?
Allergic to Sulfa
1998-2009 Asacol 2 pills 2X daily - very sketchy about taking it...pretty much drug-free for a long time.
Aug 2009 - small flare - Mesalamine enemas for 2 weeks and 4 Apriso pills 1x daily...still a bit sketchy about taking the Apriso once the flare was done
August 2010 - Flaring again -taking Apriso every day!

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/8/2013 10:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all... I found this thread when searching "Birth control and Ulcerative Colitis connection" , as well. I was diagnosed with UC in 2009 while on birth control but had been in remission since around May 2010.

I had been on BC since 2005 and went off of it last September (accidentally). Since going off of BC I've been in my most severe flare yet. In addition to the terrible flaring, I have not had a period since October (7 months). I'm not pregnant and both my Gyno and GI keep telling me that not getting a period while in a flare is normal.

Has anyone ever experienced this before or heard of this connection? Although my gyno keeps telling me not to worry, I'm obviously concerned. I also dont want to just go back on BC to regulate my period because i'd like to get to the bottom of the issue myself.

Although going back on BC could help my symptoms since i know i did well on it in the past....

Any thoughts??
26 YO
Ulcerative proctosigmoiditis - Diagnosed 2009

Current Medications:
Canasa twice a day
Uceris - 9mg
Apriso - .375 g 4 pills 2x/day
Hydrocortisone Foam

Dairy and gluten free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 9088
   Posted 5/8/2013 1:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a guy so can't give you any personal experience but UC is considered to be an autoimmune disease and many autoimmune diseases seem to have a hormonal link in a lot of women. The link and other possible causes is very much not understood. More women than men get most autoimmune diseases, however UC seems to be a 50/50 proposition. Many report that hormone levels have some kind of relationship with disease activity although, just as diet is, there is no stereotype or one size fits all.
Asacol 400mgs 2 pillsX3; VSL#3 112.5mgs 1 pillX2; Prescrip Assist Probiotic 1 pill X 2;Vitamin D3 5000 ius 1 pillX2;Bentyl;DAO;Folic acid

Discontinued: Robinul; Natural - peppermint oil, Inflaguard (Boswellia), Pepto Bismol, Omega 3 fish oil, Imodium, Beano, Lactaid;Zymactive, Renew Life Probiotic 80 billion, Florastor, DGL, Monolaurin, slippery elm;black cherry concentrate
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