Birth control can change your brain chemistry and cause a ripple effect of unwanted side effects you may have noticed within your body.
The pill has been around for many years and was created for the purpose of, well, controlling births. Unfortunately, the pill is now commonly used to “fix” period problems which just puts a band aid on underlying issues that are going on in your body. Before I get into bashing the pill, I am not anti- birth control pill or anti- synthetic hormones. I personally have the Kyleena IUD and have done really well with it! You may do well on the pill IF, and only if, you use it for its purpose. Birth control.
There is not enough information out there for women to make a knowledgeable decision about their bodies when it comes to birth control. This article is to help with your decision! please read this whole article before you decide to use the pill as your form of birth control as I outline the effects it has on both your body AND brain! Some of these effects are irreversible. However, in the end, you know your body best and can make your decision based on your beliefs.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
What is the pill and how does it work?
The hormonal birth control pill is a form of contraceptive one would take at the same time every day to prevent against pregnancy. It contains 2 forms of synthetic hormones –estrogen and progesterone that work to stop ovulation. No ovulation equals no babies!
“But what about the period when I finish my set of pills?”
That is known as a withdrawal bleed and is not a real period. A real period is the shedding of the uterine lining that is prepped for a fertilized egg to implant in. Since ovulation never took place, your natural hormones never built up the uterine lining.
Synthetic hormones actually cut off the communication from the brain to the ovaries (called the hypothalamic-petuitary-ovarian-axis). When women come off the pill, it is common for their period to be MIA for at least a few months while their natural hormones kick in!
How the pill effects your body?
Due to the chemical disruption of synthetic hormones, birth control pills can cause various side effects presented by the body. Those include but are not limited to:
- Breast tenderness
- Spotting (when it’s not withdraw bleed week)
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Excessive discharge
- Low libido
- brain fog
That is one heck of a list and does not include all the long term or more serious effect the birth control pill can cause such as:
- Blood clots
- High blood pressure
- Increased Risk of breast cancer
- Risk of cervical cancer
All of these effects are outlined on the pamphlet you get with your pack of pills (which probably include more side effects than my list). It is worth a read if you have time to!
Birth control compromises gut health
Your gut microbiome is where 95% of your immune system lies.
When taking synthetic birth forms of hormones, your gut microbiome will be altered and can become inflamed. This can increase your chances of developing IBS or leaky gut.
additionally, Taking estrogen and progestin may lead auto immune conditions.
Birth control pills causes nutrient delpleation
Many studies have shown that birth control pills deplete vital nutrients in the body, those key nutrients are:
- folic acid
- vitamins B2, B6, B12
- vitamin C and E
- minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc.
For most women, getting these nutrients through diet alone is difficult. Especially if you are unaware that the birth control pill is causing nutrient deficiencies! I am a strong advocate for getting nutrients through food, however, if you are on the pill I would suggest supplementing these nutrients.
HPA axis dysfunction
Birth control pill, when taken for a prolonged period of time are shown to cause HPA dysfunction in the brain. Your HPA axis is the Hypothamic-petuitary-axis.
Due to HPA axis dysfunction, women taking the pill are shown to have higher cortisol levels (stress hormones). Therefore, are are higher risk of chronic stress and the mood disorders that come along with it.
Did you know – Women taking the pill are more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants and be diagnosed with mood disorders. Coincidence? I think not.
Another side effect of birth control pills is compromised thyroid function.
As a domino effect from nutrient depletion from the pill, your body can have a hard time converting thyroid hormone T4 into T3. T4 are inactive and T3 are active. This can cause symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Additionally, the pill increases Thyroid binding goblin (TBG) which binds to thyroid hormones. Once TBG’s are bonded, those thyroid hormones are no longer available to the cell for use. You can try to correct nutrient deficiencies that are causing this, however, there is no guarantee that will solve the problem.
Why the pill is not a solution to a missing period
The birth control pill is commonly given out to women who are missing their period or have cramps, acne, etc. However, Since the birth control pill is just a band aid over an underlying hormonal imbalance, it really is not fixing anything. The pill highjacks your hormones, it most defiantly does not “balance” them.
Think about a fire alarm going off when your house is on fire. Even if your turn the alarm off (take the pill to mask issues), the fire continues to burn!
What are your other options?
If you’re on the pill, I’m sorry if I scarred you with this article! It is for information purposes only. However, I wouldn’t be much help if I didn’t give you some alternative options after laying down the law with the effects of the birth control pill. WOULD I? Here are some options you have that will not effect your body as much or at all:
There is a nifty thermometer you can use called Daysy! If you do not know much about charting your cycle for birth control, Daysy makes it incredibly easy to know when it is safe to have unprotected sex and when it is not.
you can use my link for $15 off your order here!
Another great option is Natural cycles which is an app that tells you when you are fertile and when you are not! It is super easy to use and they have a lot of fertility awareness info for you to learn.
If you are looking for more of a “do it yourself” option for fertility awareness method – check out these books! They are loaded with usful information that is easy to follow:)
Another option for you are IUDs
One thing I like about IUDs is they deliver the synthetic hormone locally into the uterus. The pill will enter your body through the digestive track making it affect your body systematically. This makes the side effects of birth control pills more prominent. I personally have the Kyleena IUD and you can read more about my experience and the side effects I faced here.
There is also the option of th copper IUD which is “non hormonal” – I add the quotations because it does increase copper levels in the body which, in tern, increases estrogen. Therefore, you can see estrogen dominance signs like I did when I had it!
In conclusion, the side effects of birth control pills are subjective to you. However, studies have shown it to compromise many systems in the body and cause women to have mood disorders, poor digestion, and even long term effects such as cancer.
You know your body best! Please make an informed decition when you decide to put something in your body, especially if its for a long period of time.
for more information: check out missfitandnerdy’s video on the science of the birth control pill. She gives some readlly amazing book references at the end of her video so please check those out!
her book references: