The pill. We owe our freedom, education, social status to it. I know all that.
I am not here to diminish what it has meant to women all over the world, nor I am here to tell you that you shouldn't take it. I am here to inform you about what it actually does to your body so that you can make the right decision for yourself.
After getting many responses on the first two articles in this series (one about hormonal birth control and one about the copper IUD), this article will tell you what your GP should've told you about the hormonal birth control pill and how actually works.
What to expect:
In the first article I discussed its effect on the bodies vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, hunger, mood, anxiety and depression.
This post will go into more depth on the effect of hormonal birth control on your long term health.
How it works:
The pill works by suppressing your ovulation meaning that there isn’t an egg that can be fertilized.
The pill does this by adding hormones into your system and (as stated by my GP) mimics a state of constant pregnancy.
The vast majority of hormonal contraceptives contain estrogen and progestin.
However, here is the plot twist. Your body naturally produces progesterone during pregnancy and after ovulation.
As you understand now my GP wasn’t right. During pregnancy your body produces progesterone which has benefits for health.
Now that you’re suppressing ovulation (ovulation produces progesterone) and you aren’t pregnant you don’t have any progesterone at all and instead you add progestin to your body (which has a lot of harming effects on your body).
In fact, you’re missing out on the benefits of progesterone and you’re adding the harmful effects of progestin to it.
Progetin's harmful effect on your body:
Symptoms of blood clotting problems, usually severe or sudden, such as: headache or migraine.
Loss of or change in speech, coordination, or vision.
Numbness of or pain in chest, arm, or leg.
Unexplained shortness of breath.
Changes in vaginal bleeding.
Blood sugar problems (dry mouth, frequent urination, loss of appetite, or thirst).
Unexpected or increased flow of breastmilk.
Abdominal pain or cramping.
Bloating or swelling of ankles or feet.
Blood pressure increase (mild).
Drowsiness (progesterone only).
Pain or irritation at place of injection site.
Swelling of face, ankles, or feet.
Unusual or rapid weight gain.
Must know: in order to fully understand this article
Hormones are responsible for all body processes.
Therefore, everything that happens in your body is initiated by the presence or absence of certain hormones.
Hormones also affect each other. So more of one hormone causes your body to produce more or less of another hormone.
Hormones also affect vitamins, minerals and nutrients therefore, a bigger concentration of one hormone causes a change in concentration of minerals, metals and vitamins.
Minerals, metals and vitamins also influence hormone concentration.
In short: a small change in the concentration of one hormone can cause a tremendous change in all your hormones, vitamins, minerals and metals concentration.
As mentioned, hormones initiate all body processes.
With all the information you have now can you imagine what the complete absence of a hormone can do to your physical and mental health.
Progestin is a synthetic hormone that resembles progesterone and tricks your body into thinking that is pregnant which makes sure the body stops ovulating.
Meaning that you're now in complete absence of the hormone progesterone.
There's a high chance that you or one of your friends got onto birth control to 'regulate' hormones. As you now understand, hormonal birth control doesn't regulate your hormones, rather it prevents your body from producing them!
The pill to start your menstrual cycle:
Many people also get the pill to 'start' their menstruation. Since doctors state it isn't healthy if you don't have a menstrual cycle.
A menstruation is a monthly cycle that goes with the rise and fall of certain hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, FSH, LH. It contains the production of follicles, ovulation and a bleeding to slim the uterine lining.
Now here's an extremely important yet mostly overlooked contradiction:
If your menstruation doesn't start naturally it is due to the absence of ovulation. As you now know the birth control suppresses ovulation.
So the pill won't help you start your cycle. Instead it will only make it harder to become fertile (get an ovulation) in the future.
When you're on the birth control you bleed. But that's all. There is no cycle, you don't have an ovulation, or have your own hormones.
So if you started your period with the pill and you're still on birth control you never gave your body a chance to have an ovulation.
If you're on birth control, you don't ovulate or produce progesterone.
How bad is that?
In order to get a brief understanding of the effect of the lack of progesterone on your body you must first learn what it normally does for your body.
In your body, progesterone is responsible for:
Boosting energy by stimulating the thyroid and heating up your metabolism. That’s why your body temperature goes up half a degree when you make progesterone after ovulation.
Preventing adrenal fatigue. It stabilises communication between the hypothalamus and adrenal glands and relieves HPA dysregulation (also known as “adrenal fatigue”).
Smoothing mood because of the valium-like effect of its metabolite allopregnanolone (ALLO). ALLO is a neurosteroid that interacts directly with GABA receptors in the brain and promotes sleep.
Bettering your sleep. It stimulates sleep centres in the brain and is essential treatment for premenstrual and perimenopausal insomnia.
Relieving anxiety. Progesterone also up-regulates the DAO enzyme and relieves the anxiety symptoms of histamine intolerance. It also stimulates sleep centres in the brain and is an essential treatment for premenstrual and perimenopausal insomnia.
Nourishing hair and clearing skin because it reduces male hormones (androgens) by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. The result is faster-growing hair, less skin oil (sebum), and fewer skin breakouts.
Lightens periods by counteracting estrogen’s stimulating effect on the uterine lining.
Preventing autoimmune disease because it modulates immune function, reduces inflammation, and up-regulates detoxification enzymes.
Building bones and muscle by stimulating osteoblasts (bone-building cells) and the growth of new muscle.
Protecting you against cancer by counteracting estrogen’s stimulating effect in the breasts and uterine tissue. It may even have a future role as a treatment for breast cancer.
The absence of this hormone can cause a broad variety of conditions, symptoms or discomfort. In order to recover it is important to get your hormones back in balance.
Always seek professional guidance before making changes in your medication, supplements and diet.
Increasing progesterone will help you recover from:
Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea). Taking progesterone by mouth and applying progesterone gel into the vagina are effective strategies for treating absence of menstrual periods in premenopausal women. Micronized progesterone is FDA-approved for this use, as is intravaginal progesterone gel (Crinone 4%).
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Micronized progesterone (Prometrium) is FDA-approved for use with estrogen as a component of HRT. Research shows that adding progesterone to HRT protects against side effects of estrogen.
Infertility. Intravaginal progesterone gel (Crinone 8%) is FDA-approved for use as a part of infertility treatment in women. Some research suggests that applying progesterone intravaginally and injecting it into the muscle may have similar effectiveness for increasing pregnancy rates as giving it by mouth. Also, research suggests that intravaginal progesterone seems to be as effective for pregnancy rates as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
Abnormal thickening of the endometrium (endometrial hyperplasia). Some research suggests that applying progesterone (Crinone) into the vagina prevents endometrial hyperplasia in women with an intact uterus that are taking estrogen replacement therapy. Other early research shows that a specific intravaginal progesterone cream may help reverse abnormal thickening of the endometrium and decrease vaginal bleeding in premenopausal women with non-cancerous endometrial hyperplasia.
Breast pain (mastodynia). Some research suggests that applying progesterone (Crinone) into the vagina seems to reduce breast pain and tenderness in women with non-cancerous breast disease.
Menopausal symptoms. Some research suggests that applying a specific progesterone cream (Progest) to the skin reduces symptoms such as hot flashes in menopausal women.
Premature labor. Some research suggests that applying progesterone gel into the vagina, alone or along with therapy to delay labor (tocolytic therapy), reduces the risk of premature delivery in women at high risk of premature birth. However, other research suggests that intravaginal progesterone gel does not decrease the frequency of premature birth in women with a history of premature birth.
This article is written in order to create more awareness for the full effect of hormonal birth controls on your health long and short term.
It may seem a little abstract at first. However, in order to fully understand what is happening to you and your body it is important to know as much as you possibly can.
The next articles in this series will be more practical and will inform you about hormonal birth control and its effect on your bone density, hairless, heart attacks, dementia, fertility, PCOS, cysts and other conditions. So stay tuned!
This is the 3rd article in the '' What my GP didn't tell me about .... " series.
A series in which we aim to create more awareness and spread relevant knowledge. It was and never will be our goal to speak negatively about traditional medicine. We do not only acknowledge our healthcare systems and their workers but we praise them and honor everything they do for us.
Always seek professional guidance before making changes in your medication, supplements and diet.