“The pill” has become like candy amongst women in our society…AND like peer pressure (“everyone” is doing it). 5 things every woman needs to know about the pill and the side effects of birth control.
Got health issues today?
There’s a pill for that.
Watch daytime television for about 10-minutes alone and chances are that you will see at least 2-4 commercials selling and promoting some sort of drug or pill that is the ‘answer’ to all of your health woes.
- Can’t sleep? Take Ambien.
- Pounding headache? Pop a Tylenol, duh!
- Cold got you down? Emergen-C or Airborne should ‘do the trick.’
- ‘High cholesterol’ (from eating sugar and less-than-optimal foods)? Statin drugs to the rescue!
When it comes to “getting to the bottom” of any health concern or issue, our society doesn’t think twice nowadays about the answer: Pop a pill.
And if you are a female, chances are you’ve considered one pill in particular to address many of your personal (and hormonal) health concerns: The pill.
The birth control pill.
Whether you’ve got:
- Irregular periods
- Crazy PMS
- Painful periods/abdominal cramping
- Heavy periods
- No periods at all
- Or, simply don’t want to get pregnant…
There is ONE pill for ALL of that—birth control.
Currently, about 30% of all women (approximately 10-million) are using the pill alone for contraception (straight up birth control), with another 6-million women on the pill for a host of OTHER reasons (as mentioned above).
And while taking the pill may seem like the NORMAL or NATURAL thing to do for any one of your health concerns listed…it’s not.
Just like calling pizza a vegetable in our kids’ cafeterias is considered “normal” by America’s school system standards…
Or, eating Pop-tarts or Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee is considered a “normal” breakfast in our culture…
Or, the notion that eating foods like butter or egg yolks causes high-cholesterol is a “normal” school of thought (actually they don’t cause high-cholesterol)…
Taking birth control is not a ‘norm’ that your body is prepared to handle.
And while it may seemingly band-aid the health issues you are currently facing, or magically “cure” your acne, your crazy period or desire to not conceive right now…
There’s more to the story than meets the eye.
In my practice, I work with girls and women around a variety of health concerns and woes—clear skin, hormone balance and PMS symptoms included.
And, if there is ONE universal theme I observe in many of these girls and women who come to me, having been on the pill (at one time) or currently on the pill…it’s that their body is out of sorts.
(Hmmm…is there something in the water?)
Recently, after years of ‘being on the pill’—for helping her TRY to balance her CRAZY PMS symptoms (cramping, mood swings, etc.)—a woman came to me, desperate to “just feel better.”
“I just don’t understand. Every time of the month…it’s just awful. Horrible cramping, bloating, moodiness—I am not fun to be around. AND, I crave chocolate—like all the time,” she said.
My heart broke for her. She just wanted to feel better—and in her 15+ years of regular menstruation, she just couldn’t figure out WHY her periods were the way they were.
“I’ve been on birth control about 5 years…and while it does make it somewhat better than it was before…it’s still pretty horrible,” she said, sighing a sigh of utter exhaustion.
To the drawing boards we went!
Fast forward three months later…(Sigh of RELIEF)…Her “crazy” PMS symptoms had subsided.
Seriously serious here—so much so that she actually had forgotten about how HORRIBLE she had felt three months prior.
“It’s actually been…normal?” she said, eerily inquisitive.
A few SIMPLE things:
- Addressing her gut health with a regular probiotic, digestive enzymes and real-foods based diet.
- Replacing her sugar cravings and regulating her blood sugar with healthy fats and balanced meals throughout the day (i.e. adding protein to her salad; upping her intake of leafy greens and color-rich veggies; moderating her fruit intake; ensuring she was still getting wholesome carbs in her diet).
- Supporting her adrenal glands and hormones with appropriate adrenal supports for her body.
- A magnesium-supplement, like Natural Calm, before bed and during ‘that time of the month’
- And…NO birth control pill.
And she is not the only one!
More digging, problem hacking and helping girls and women get to the REAL root of their health concerns (be it acne, irregular periods, crazy PMS and more) has led me to uncover a few detrimental side effects of regular use of the pill over time.
[Playing devil’s advocate here, while there CAN be a time and place for a short use of the pill, your body and my body were not MEANT to ‘depend’ on the pill for ‘regular’ function or health (i.e. not meant to take it from the time we are as young as 14 or 15 through our 30’s or 40’s—years!)].
Here a few things every woman should know about the pill:
- Know the Side Effects. Do you know the side-effects of taking the pill? If not, it’s important to educate yourself before signing up for the quick cure to your hormonal imbalance or skin care concern. These include:Weight gain
Suppressed or ravenous appetite
- The Pill Does Not Address the Root. Often times when the pill is a first-resort answer to a health woe or wane, the root of that health woe or wane is commonly overlooked—the cause of the hormonal balances in the first place. Instead of chalking your missed periods or crazy PMS or acne to “just what every woman goes through”, doing some deeper digging is a critical first step to truly addressing issues that the pill DOES NOT ADDRESS. Some of the first questions that must be addressed with all hormonal imbalances, include:
- Do you, the individual, digest and absorb your food appropriately?
- Is there a Candida or other fungal problem?
- Are parasites involved?
- Do you consume high amounts of sugar and caffeine?
- Are you eating enough to support vitality, energy and metabolic function?
- Do you regularly (daily or many days a week) eat artificial and processed foods? (even diet foods, bars, powders)
- Do you have high-stress, anxiety?
- Are you constantly “stretched”—burning a candle at both ends of the spectrum?
The side effects alone of birth control pills (listed below) alone are enough to at least consider the roots to your hormone imbalances by giving your nutrition and lifestyle a thoughtful reflection.
- Completely throws off your hormone balance. Regular use of the pill promotes continuously high levels of estrogen in a woman’s body.This is not natural. Your natural hormone cycle is comprised of both rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. Birth control pills work by keeping estrogen at a sufficiently high level that they fool the body into thinking it is pregnant, therefore another pregnancy cannot occur (or it ‘over-boosts’ your ovulation if you have not been ovulating to trick your body into having a ‘regular’ period). Since birth control essentially acts as a ‘hormone therapy’ it completely throws your body’s gauge of ‘what is normal’ out of sorts—often leading to things like:
- Poor balance with progesterone and even testosterone [i.e. estrogen dominance, which is linked to the host of side effects mentioned above, as well as increased breast cancer risk, migraines, regular nausea, and increased blood pressure]
- Elevated cortisol levels (stress levels) as your adrenals try to adjust to the unnatural balance
- And even sometimes your body’s loss of it’s own natural cues to ovulate
- The pill is classified as a carcinogen (toxin). Just like you know consuming fast food, smoking, ‘dirty water’ and air pollution is not good for you (they are ‘cancer causing’ agents and toxic to your body)—so is the pill.
- It robs nutrients. Birth control pills rob many nutrients from your body and impair the assimilation of the nutrients you consume. They:Deplete folate– Lack of folate disrupts DNA metabolismDeplete B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12)-The lack of these “energy vitamins” can cause irritability, depression, insomnia and fatigue.
Strip zinc– Lowering the immune system and encouraging insulin resistance
Deplete magnesium– Leading to mineral imbalances in the body
Impairs healthy bacteria in the digestive tract [This leads to reduced digestion, nutrient assimilation, lowered immunity, and the overgrowth of pathogens like Candida (yeast infection)]
Take it or leave it, there is no denying the fact that birth control is NOT normal.
If you have questions about your own hormone journey, let’s chat. Schedule an initial phone or 1:1 session to further explore your own health today.
And, as always, it is important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before making any abrupt changes in your current medication or health routine.