Storing your birth control properly is vital to preserving its effectiveness and keeping it safe and out of the wrong hands. While you may know how important it is to properly store barrier birth control, such as condoms and diaphragms, you may not realize that safely storing your birth control pills is just as important.
What Are the Ideal Storage Conditions for Birth Control?
In general, your oral contraceptives should be stored in a dry place with a controlled temperature, away from any sources of moisture, light, pets, and children. You should also read the pamphlet in the package of your birth control for any specific instructions regarding temperature or humidity levels for storage.
Birth control can handle higher or lower temperatures for short periods but should not be exposed to temperatures below 59 F (15 C) or above 86 F (30 C) for an extended period of time. If you store it at a much hotter or colder temperature than that range, your pills theoretically could lose their potency. Since oral contraceptives are hormone-based, they can be affected by temperature fluctuations.
Where to Store Birth Control Pills
Whether you keep your birth control pills at home or bring them with you in a bag or purse depends on your lifestyle. If you travel a lot or spend the night out at a partner’s place, it makes more sense to keep your pills with you at all times. But if you have a regular routine that finds you at home most nights, then it’s smart to keep your pills at home.
Your bathroom medicine cabinet might seem like an obvious place to store your oral contraceptives but it’s actually not ideal. The bathroom not only experiences humidity changes more than any other room in the house but it also fluctuates in temperature when you take a long shower or a hot bath. A better choice? Store your pills in your dresser, on a bedside table, or anyplace easily accessible where they can be part of your daily routine.
If you carry your pills in your purse, store them in a hard plastic case or sturdy zipped pouch so they don’t get damaged or come loose from the sealed packaging when you are rummaging around looking for something. Also, be aware of temperature fluctuations and don’t leave your bag in the sun or in a car for long periods. Leather purses can become especially hot when exposed to sunlight.
There might be times when it’s necessary to have your birth control pills in your car, such as when you are on a road trip, but otherwise leaving your pills in your car is not a great option. A good way to think of temperature control for your pills while in a vehicle is thinking of them the same way you would a pet. If it is too hot or cold for a furry friend, don’t leave your pills in there. When you do need to take them with you for long road trips, it is best to keep them on you.
When traveling by plane for a trip, pack your birth control pills in your carry-on — if your checked bag gets delayed or lost (bad enough) it would be even worse if your birth control pills were lost with it, interfering with pregnancy protection and hormone regulation while you travel.
What’s the Best Place to Store Birth Control?
If remembering to take your birth control is one of your concerns, store it somewhere that’s part of your daily routine. If you take your pill in the morning, place them in your sock or underwear drawer or on top of your dresser where you keep your jewelry. A high-top dresser can also be a great place to store your pills to keep them away from children or pets. If you take your pill before going to bed, consider placing them on a nightstand, or next to your phone charger. You can also keep them by your keys, so you remember to take one before heading out for the day.
The bottom line: It is important to make sure your oral contraceptives are properly stored at all times so that they remain as effective as possible. Watch the temperature and humidity levels where you store your items, and try to keep them in the same safe place once you have found a good spot. Still concerned about storage? You can find birth control storage cases that provide additional protection. If you feel that your pills have been improperly stored and are possibly ineffective, contact your healthcare professional, or order more birth control online at Nurx to replace it. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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