By Rachel Strysik
One of the most common questions we get is, “Can I take this supplement with my medication?” And while we are not medical professionals, we’d love to dive into that here, so you can make the best choice for yourself. As always, we encourage you to seek the opinion of your doctor before starting any supplement.
It should be noted that while things like herbs and foods are natural, it doesn’t mean they are always safe. And even if they are on their own, it’s important to note any serious interactions they could have with medications you take.
Why you need to carefully consider what supplements you pair with your medications
Herbal medicines tend to be mixtures of multiple ingredients, while synthetic drugs typically contain a single chemical entity. This increases the chances of herb-drug interactions versus drug-drug interactions because there are simply more ingredients to consider in a herb-drug interaction. It’s also why you should let your doctor know what supplements you are taking so they can keep that in mind if they need to prescribe you a new medicine.
Many people take a combination of OTC medicines and dietary supplements, but they may not be considering how they will interact with one another. Supplements can increase or decrease a drug’s effects. This could be disastrous if poorly paired.
Let’s take birth control for example. There are several herbs that could affect how well your form of birth control works, specifically if it contains synthetic hormones. The herbs below are typically used to treat symptoms of PMS, menopause, or other medical concerns like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, digestive issues, etc.
- Vitex/Chasteberry – Commonly used to treat PMS, menopause, acne, or infertility, it may influence hormone levels. On its own, this could be helpful, but when paired with birth control pills, it could render it less effective.
- Don Quai – Used to treat PMS, menopause, cramps, and irregular periods, it has estrogen-like effects, and when studied in rats, changed the estrous cycle. Its ability to manipulate female hormones may make it unsafe to take with hormonal birth control.
- Black Cohosh – Typically given to treat symptoms of menopause, PMS, and arthritis, it’s also used to induce labor. It has the ability to modulate female hormones which means it may interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. It is especially important to avoid this herb if you are taking a low dose estrogen or progesterone-only birth control.
- St. John’s Wort – Some use it to treat mild or moderate depression and sleep disorders. A study shows that those who took birth control pills at the same time as John’s Wort had higher rates of breakthrough bleeding and an increased breakdown of estrogen in their bodies. These are signs the contraceptives might not work as well as they should.
Other herbal remedies that may affect how well your birth control pills work
- Saw Palmetto – Some have tried this herb for hair loss.
- Alfalfa – Used for kidney, bladder, and prostate problems.
- Garlic pills – These are taken for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other heart and blood diseases.
- Flaxseed – This is used for digestion problems like severe constipation and IBS.
We specifically formulated PMS & Period Support so it can be taken with birth control without adverse side effects. So, you can take it with the confidence that treating your unwanted PMS and period pain symptoms won’t render your birth control method less effective.
We consider that our customers may be treating or managing symptoms of several conditions, including but not limited to endo, fibroids, PCOS, PMDD, high blood pressure, frequent UTIs, HRT, etc. We formulate our supplements with this in mind.
We want to be as transparent as possible about the ingredients in each of our products which is why our white papers are readily accessible on our website. We encourage you to download or print them so you can share them with your doctor. We’ve compiled them below for easy access.
While herbal remedies and dietary supplements can be great alternatives to pharmaceuticals, it is important to speak with your medical professional before starting a new one. Especially if you are already treating or managing symptoms of a condition with drugs of any kind, having this conversation beforehand could save you from some serious side effects of a bad herb-drug interaction.
About Writer Rachel Strysik
Copywriter by day, performer by night, I've always had a way with words.
It took me a few years to realize writing was my calling and performing was simply a hobby.
But once I did, I never looked back.
I'm insanely passionate about menstrual health and dismantling the topic as taboo.
So let's talk about it. Period.