I am writing this post because I want to create an awareness and to help people make decisions that are the best for their bodies. This topic is not often talked about in the mainstream world and I just want people to start talking about it.
I wanted to share with you what my experience was taking the pill and why I choose not to take it anymore (and why I had to go off of it). I like many many women was told by my doctor that the birth control pill was the best way to prevent pregnancy and that I needed to take it if I didn’t want to have children right away once I got married. So I started taking it about 6 months before my wedding day.
I know that is a different story for most of you.
Most doctors throw out the pill like it is candy. Sorry for being blunt but this is true. I would say 98% of high school girls are on the pill because they have acne, bad cramps, hormonal headaches, moodiness, irregular periods, etc. The list goes on. I had horrible cramps and headaches my whole life, but thankfully my pediatrician never recommended me to take the pill for that, so I didn’t end up taking it until right before I got married.
I took the pill for a little over a year and I went to my annual appointment for a check up. I told my gynecologist that I had a history of migraine headaches and had started having them again (due to eating a lot of dairy again) and she then proceeded to tell me that I could not be on the pill because I had a higher risk of getting a blood clot. I thought my life was over and that I was doomed to get pregnant (can you tell I wasn’t ready to have a baby yet??). HOWEVER, praise the Lord that this happened because it got me off the pill (and I’m still not pregnant 2.5 years later).
While I was on the pill, I was a CRAZY person. I had never experienced so many conflicting emotions at all times. I was so sensitive to my husband (who was my fiancé at the time) and just overly emotional about things that were unnecessary to be emotional about. I didn’t really think it was due to the pill at the time for some reason, I just thought I was getting more emotional as I was getting older… (if you know me, you would not say I am a sensitive person).
Once I got off the pill, it didn’t take long for me to experience hormonal problems (even though I didn’t know they were due to hormonal imbalance at the time). I started to get acne along my jawline and cheeks, as well as hair growth on my face that wasn’t normal. I didn’t put it together at the time that this was due to my hormones being out of wack. I pretty much just dealt with it for 2 years and tried every face wash known to man and plucked those unwanted hairs. I thought that it was just a phase. Then, after 2 years I had enough and I started to research what might be going on.
I found out that my symptoms were 100% hormonal.
What does the pill do?
The pill prevents ovulation from happening which is what creates a woman’s hormones. These hormones are very important for a woman’s health. Estrogen and progesterone are produced when ovulation occurs and these are very important for mood, bone health, insulin sensitivity, metabolism, muscle health, sleep, and micro-biome (gut) health. Did you know that it actually states on the package that it could take up to two years to resume ovulation after going off the pill? I will not go into the details in this post because that is not my main focus, but you can read more here on Dr. Lara Briden’s blog.
I want to highlight just a few side effects of the pill that most doctors do not tell you about. In talking with others, it seems as if most people are on the pill for symptoms such as bad cramps, irregular periods, acne, PCOS, etc. It is blowing my mind how easy it is to get access to the pill if you are woman and have any sort of issue with your cycle. When did we start to seek pills instead of healing?? Why don’t we look for the cause of these issues rather than giving out bandaids that only mask the real problems?
Below are just a few side effects the pill can cause…
1. Depression. Several studies show that antidepressant use is higher in those that use the birth control pill. Depression is a leading cause of disability in the world and antidepressant use is on the rise. If you have taken the pill, you probably know that this is 100% true. I cried more in the year I was on birth control than I had in my entire life.
2. Nutrient Depletion. The birth control pill has been shown to deplete many nutrients that are very important for overall health. These nutrients include vitamins B2, B6, B12, folate, vitamin C and E. It also depletes minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc. I won’t go into each vitamin and why they are important, just know that they are all VERY important and you need them in order to have a healthy body.
3. Infertility. Once going off the pill, it is very common to struggle with infertility. It makes total sense. You have been telling your body for so long not to ovulate and make a baby, and all of a sudden you want it to? Your body doesn’t work like that. It might take a while for our hypothalamus, pituitary and ovaries to start communicating again after being in a menopausal state while taking the pill.
4. Weight Gain. Weight gain occurs because of sugar cravings and insulin resistance caused by the pill. Also, the pill prevents muscle gain with exercising. Most women will see the weight come off after stopping the pill but some will not. This is not something that I personally experienced, but it is common.
5. Low libido. The pill reduces testosterone and DHEA in women which causes women to have less interest in sex. This is such a common thing I hear from so many women! Again, something that isn’t talked about in the mainstream nor mentioned by your doctor when you are about to get married and finally able to have sex but now you won’t even have an interest in it. WHAT IN THE WORLD. Why wasn’t I warned of this by my doctor? Some research shows that libido may never return after taking the pill for even a short amount of time. This is very dangerous for girls in their teen years who start taking the pill and end up being on it for years.
6. Blood Clots. It is a known symptom of taking birth control that you are at a higher risk of getting blood clots. This is actually why I had to go off the pill. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have that risk.
The pill CAUSED some of these issues for me. Some people refer to it as “post-birth control syndrome”. I did not have hair growth or acne on my jawline before taking the pill. The synthetic hormones that I was putting in my body for a year were wreaking havoc on my natural processes and I didn’t know it until I had to go off of it. I’m so thankful I did because if not I would probably still be on it and it could have done even more damage than it already did.
Please do your research before taking any medication. Find out what is CAUSING your symptoms and find natural ways to help balance out your hormones. There are many supplements you can take and many foods that are nourishing to your body that help to combat these problems many of us have. Work with a Registered Dietitian to find what will work specifically for you.
If you are like me and you are taking or thinking about taking the pill to prevent pregnancy, please don’t. I wish I never had taken the pill but I was told that it was my only option if I didn’t want to get pregnant right away after getting married. There are better options.
If you are a girl that struggles with any hormonal imbalances before taking the pill (cramps, headaches, PMS, PCOS, acne) read this article to learn ways to naturally balance your hormones without the pill or work with a nutritionist to get the help you need.
What I am doing:
I have recently been supplementing with nutrients that are commonly depleted when on the pill. These include zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D3 (balanced with vitamin A and K2). I am also taking a daily probiotic and fermented cod liver oil.
I cut out dairy a few years back because of migraines, however this is one thing you can do if you have hormonal imbalance. I also keep my added sugar to a minimum (high fructose containing food). I eat a nutrient dense diet full of high quality meats, non-starchy vegetables as well as starchy vegetables and high quality whole grains. I eat a real food diet full of nutrient dense foods.
To heal acne scars I am using Manuka honey. I know that it sounds super random and weird and like it is a bunch of bologna. I didn’t believe it until I tried it, but IT WORKS! After just 3 days of using it, I saw major improvements in my red spots and overall redness on my jawline and cheeks.
I just started these supplement regimens about 2 months ago and there is about a 3-6 month time frame to see any improvement. I can say that I am actually seeing improvements after starting these supplements! It has been 2 years of horrible acne and hair growth and I am finally seeing less and less.
I hope this post helps many women out there who struggle with any of these issues and may not be aware of other options that are out there. Please contact me with any questions you may have and I would be happy to help you. I don’t want anyone to go through what I have gone through.
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