How birth control works & how birth control is impacting your hormones

If you were advised to go on hormonal birth control at a young age for various symptoms including heavy or painful periods, acne, or PCOS symptoms, you’re not alone. Many women are put on birth control pills to manage these symptoms, but they don’t actually treat symptoms, they simply mask them. More often than not, those symptoms re-appear once again when a woman decides to go off of the birth control pill.

How birth control pills work:

Birth control pills are made of synthetic hormones that communicate with the ovaries and tell them to not release an egg (thus, preventing ovulation), while shutting down your own natural hormone production.

Normally without the use of birth control pills, a follicle (with a developing/mature egg) produces estrogen. Estrogen helps build up the uterine lining for conception. If we fast-forward slightly, ovulation releases that mature egg. The follicle that previously released that mature egg transforms into the corpus luteum which then produces progesterone. As you can see, estrogen and progesterone play an essential role for regulating the menstrual cycle. A balance of estrogen and progesterone cause the uterine lining to grow and thicken to prepare for a fertilized egg.

However with the birth control pill, the normal hormonal fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone are inhibited (as the pill uses synthetic forms) and there is also a reduction of the uterine lining build up to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching, causing decreased bleeding (when you compare it to your "normal" period). When you bleed with birth control pills, it’s not actually your period – it’s considered withdrawal bleeding (from not getting those synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone that you have been getting consistently with the pill).

Long-term effects of the birth control pill:

  • Reduced testosterone levels, which can lead to low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse

  • Lowered levels of several nutrients, including vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9 (folate), B12, vitamins C and E, copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc

  • Increased risk of blood clots

  • Worsened PMS symptoms

  • Increased risk of breast cancer

  • Alters the gut microbiome

  • Puts stress on the liver and gallbladder

How can I naturally balance my hormones without taking the birth control pill?

Learning about your cycle and how to manage painful, irregular or heavy periods can be a great place to start for those looking to discover their root cause and ditch the pill. Naturally balancing your hormones by using functional lab testing, nutrition and lifestyle factors can drastically improve period symptoms, and using non-hormonal forms of contraception are a good alternative for sexually active women. Naturally balancing your hormones & increasing cycle/body awareness to decrease your symptoms can be so empowering – it has been a complete game-changer for our clients.

Taryn works with women who are looking to regulate their cycle & balance their hormones naturally, and provides lab information (including DUTCH testing) that can help alleviate those frustrating hormonal symptoms! If you’re ready to ditch the pill and naturally balance your hormones, reach out for a 1:1 free clarity call with Taryn today!

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