So you have been told you should go on the birth control pill as a method to control your acne, manage your heavy period, or regulate your cycle. Did you know that this is actually just masking an underlying hormonal imbalance, without addressing the root cause of the imbalance?
The reason why I wanted to write this blog is that the birth control pill is a topic I am finding I am discussing with my clients on a regular basis. I feel women should feel empowered and be informed when it comes to their own bodies.
Approximately 100,000,000 women worldwide are on the birth control pill.
Birth control pills first became popular in the early 1960’s and contained much higher doses of hormones than today’s birth control pills. Although the birth control options today contain much 'smaller' doses of synthetic estrogen, many negative side effects still exist. Anything that disrupts the body’s natural hormones and hormone balance can be sure to come with side effects.
How the pill works:
The birth control pill works to inhibit pregnancy in 3 ways:
1) It contains synthetic forms of estrogen and progestin which work to inhibit the body’s natural hormones preventing ovulation and pregnancy. Ovulation is when the ovarian follicle releases an egg once it has reached maturity, which then travels down the fallopian tube where it may be met by a sperm to become fertilized. Ovulation occurs about 2 weeks before a woman's expected period and lasts only 1-2 days. This leaves a very small window for pregnancy to occur*, as the egg can only survive for about 24 hours before becoming fertilized by sperm.
2) Alters and thins a woman’s lining in her uterus so pregnancy is unlikely.
3) Alters a woman's mucus secretions so pregnancy is unlikely.
"Getting your period" on the pill.
Many women believe that the pill is regulating their period, but this is not the case. The bleeding you get when you're on the pill is not the same as a menstrual period. When you're taking the pill, your period is technically called withdrawal bleeding, referring to the withdrawal of hormones in your pill. The drop in hormones levels causes the lining of your uterus (the endometrium) to shed, creating bleeding and period-like symptoms.
The downsides to taking the pill:
Not only are you not addressing the root cause of any imbalances in the body by going on the pill, you also increase the risk of many serious side effects.
Side effects can include:
Blood clots. This one hits home for me. 'YASMIN' was the birth control pill I was taking when I saw a news report of healthy, young, adolescent women dying from serious strokes from blood clots that were also taking YASMIN. This was strike 1 for me personally.
Increased blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels.
Impaired thyroid function. The pill increases 'thyroid binding globulin' which binds to your free thyroid hormones, preventing your body from using them. Since thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating your metabolism, this can lead to weight gain and serious side effects.
Depression and emotional changes. Since the birth control pill depletes B vitamins, depression and emotional changes relating to the pill are often due to its effects on depleting vitamin B6, an important vitamin which helps regulate mood.
Fertility problems and hormonal imbalance when coming off the pill. I developed severe acne problems after coming off the pill and I never had acne before going on the pill. I also had INTENSE PMS pains like never before.
Chronic yeast infections. Research shows oral contraceptives negatively impact our gut flora, vaginal bacteria and estrogen metabolism. This leads to the development of yeasts and bad bacteria which can cause yeast infections.
Increased risk of cancer. The birth control pill was deemed a ‘Group One carcinogen’ by the World Health Organization in 2005, which places it in the same class as radium and asbestos.
Negative impacts on our environment. Amongst the problems it causes women, it is also causing widespread problems in the environment due to the high resistance to chemical breakdown and its tendency to absorb into organic matter. It is released into the environment from urine and feces of women taking the birth control pill, entering our drinking water and has negative implications on our aquatic system. This has been linked to feminization of aquatic organisms, interfering with their endocrine system and affecting reproduction and fish populations.
What can you do/how can you balance your hormones naturally?
So your hormones are a mess, you suffer from acne, heavy periods, endometriosis, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and you don't want to take the pill. How can you balance your hormones naturally without the use of synthetic drugs?
There are 4 main reasons why we experience hormonal imbalances.
Sluggish, overburdened liver
Adrenal issues and increased stress
Gut issues/gut flora imbalances
Blood sugar imbalances
Taking a look at each of these areas with a Nutritionist, Naturopathic Doctor or Hormone specialist is extremely helpful for determining the root cause of your imbalances. I go more in-depth on these factors in my ebook Healthy Skin From Within. (Learn more here.)
Alternative birth control methods:
Practice fertility awareness based on your monthly cycle and body signals. There are amazing apps out there now such as 'LIFE CYCLE' that helps to track your ovulation, fertility and periods.
IUDs. (Downside - women often report crams are worse, and if you choose a copper IUD this can deplete zinc levels which can actually worsen acne, wound healing and hormone balance).
Pulling out. (Downside - this method does not protect against STDs).
It is of course in our best interest to treat our bodies how nature intended. Including the use of synthetic drugs, especially synthetic hormones can have many rebounding effects on the body. Knowing the risks and side effects of taking such drugs are important for people to feel empowered and informed, and as a practitioner, it improves our ability to help clients achieve their most optimal health.
If you are suffering from intense PMS symptoms, hormonal acne, thinking about going off the birth control pill, or are interested in improving your health and vitality by any means, book a free consult with me today to see if working with me is something that would benefit you.
Lastly, I have created an ebook 'Healthy Skin From Within' launching May 31st which includes a complete guide to hormonal balancing, gut healing with meal plans, recipes. supplements and tons more!
*USE COUPON: healthyskin FOR EARLY BIRD PRICING: save 10% on all pre-orders now!