Are you taking the Pill and complain of any of the following symptoms?
- Weight Gain
- Low Libido
We’ve all heard that Birth control pills can cause problems such as blood clots, high blood pressure and strokes, but did you know that the pill can also cause many other serious side effects such as depression, low libido, mood swings, muscle loss and increased body fat?
Many women are put on the pill for various reasons such as acne, irregular or painful periods, fibroids or endometriosis. The pill doesn’t actually address these issues, it simply masks the problem by suppressing our own body’s estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels. The pill is a band-aid, which may seem to improve one symptom, but actually causes a host of other problems.
Birth control pills are actually synthetic drugs which are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are man- made chemicals which interfere with the body’s normal endocrine function, producing adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.
Birth control pills can affect the brain and overall psychological wellbeing. They do this by depleting our neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which often leads to depression and anxiety. Oral contraceptives can also raise cortisol, the adrenal hormone which is released in times of emotional or physiological stress. When cortisol levels remain high, it can affect insulin and glucose metabolism, making it much more difficult to burn fat as fuel.
Testosterone is also lowered, making improved body composition, such as increasing lean muscle mass through exercise, more difficult.
Birth control pills can also disrupt the gut microbiome, leading to Dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is when we have a larger percentage of “bad bugs” in our small intestine, when compared to good, or protective bacteria. This can lead to gut permeability, where the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, resulting in undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins leaking into the bloodstream, causing an inflammatory response. This inflammation can present with a number of symptoms, ranging from digestive problems such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea, to skin conditions such as acne, rosacea or eczema, as well as brain fog. Even autoimmune conditions, such as Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis), or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can stem from inflammation that starts in our gut.
Due to leaky-gut, Birth control pills often result in micronutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency, as well as deficiencies in Magnesium, Zinc, and Selenium. These deficiencies can have a negative effect on our immune system, as well as our energy level and thyroid function.
Most of us understand the importance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in sexual development and fertility, but many don’t understand the relevance of these important sex hormones for overall health and vitality.
Estrogen: Estrogen is made in 3 forms throughout a woman’s life cycle. Estradiol is the primary estrogen made by the ovaries before menopause. It is the most potent estrogen, and is vital for maintaining bone mass, keeping cholesterol under control, preserving moisture and elasticity in the skin, and preventing plaque formation in the arteries. It is also important for brain health and contributes to a positive outlook on life. Estrone is the primary estrogen made following menopause. Although a weaker estrogen, it is synthesized from cholesterol in the ovaries, as well as made from testosterone in the fat cells of both men and women. Estriol is the primary estrogen made during pregnancy.
Progesterone: Progesterone is known as the calming/ sedating/ sleep-inducing hormone.
Not only is it important for sleep, it also acts as a diuretic, keeping us from retaining too much fluid. It helps with insulin sensitivity and glucose control, allows the body to burn fat more efficiently, and improves libido. It ensures the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which is important for an efficient metabolism.
Testosterone: Testosterone is an important hormone found not only in men, but also vital for the proper functioning of a woman’s body. Testosterone helps build muscle and bone, as well as strengthens the ligaments and joints. This hormone also assists in brain function, and it gives us an overall improved sense of well -being. It is important for stamina, and exercise recovery, as well as protecting us from cardiovascular disease. It is also vital for sexual arousal and performance, in both men and women.
Thyroid Hormones- BCP’s are known to interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Our active thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, help control every organ system of our body. They are very important for a healthy metabolism, as well as temperature regulation, and gut health- digestion and absorption of nutrients.
We understand that an unwanted pregnancy can lead to all sorts of pain and hardship in a woman’s life. If you are taking the pill for birth control, then it is important to have your hormones checked through a simple blood test. There are ways of supplementing your body’s hormones naturally, even while on the pill, without comprising the effectiveness of the contraceptive.
Another very effective option for birth control is an IUD (intrauterine device).
A Copper IUD is over 99 percent effective, and 100 percent hormone free, meaning is doesn’t interfere with your own body’s hormones at all. Other forms of IUD’s release a continuous small amount of progestin into your uterus, which is localized, with only a small amount being absorbed into your bloodstream. This has less systemic effects, as it does not suppress your own body’s hormones to the same extent as birth control pills.
If heavy, painful or irregular periods, or fibroids, are your problem, it is helpful to know there are safe and effective alternatives to dealing with these problems. Often a bioidentical, plant-based progesterone can be quite effective at relieving these aggravating symptoms!
Whether you are taking birth control pills for contraceptive reasons, or for one of these other problems, the health care professionals at R3 Health are ready to discuss any issues you are having, and gently guide you while addressing these concerns. We can put together individualized plans to meet all of your health, beauty and wellness goals!
Please don’t hesitate to reach out today!