Time to Rethink the Birth Control Pill?

Time to Rethink the Birth Control Pill?  

Are you on hormonal Birth Control Pills (BCPs)?  Chances are you are or have been at some point since they are given out like skittles for whatever ails a woman. 

Menstrual cramps? PMS symptoms? acne? contraception? We’ve got the pill for that! 

That should be red flag #1.  A pill for everything?! We are far too sophisticated and our bodies too complex to deny the likelihood that a pill that claims to “treat” so many symptoms will do so without repercussions.  Our endocrine (hormone) system is a network of organs, glands, and substances that keep our body in balance.  If you are experiencing PMS symptoms, menstrual cramps or acne, it is an indication that the endocrine system needs recalibration, not suppression. 

Yet that is just what our synthetic hormonal contraception methods, like birth control pills, do. Suppression of a vital system aside, the risks of synthetic hormones in our body are too great to ignore.  Unfortunately, they are rarely discussed in the OB/GYNs office.  Before becoming a clinician I never knew that the pill I would be on for the whole of my twenties was a class one carcinogen, not to mention an endocrine disruptor and mood disregulator.  

Recently a study of birth control for men was discontinued mid study due to the intolerable symptoms reported by the subjects.  Ironically they are many of the same symptoms women have been enduring for decades, as the burden of contraception has fallen on us. 

These symptoms— weight gain, skin pigmentation, depression and mood disorders, lack of libido, vaginal dryness— should be reg flag #2…and 3 and 4 and 5…  Again, symptoms are a signal from your body’s intelligence that something isn’t right.  The longer we suppress or ignore those signals the more chronic the imbalance and the more destructive the pathology becomes for our long term health.  

Without an understanding and attunement to the signals of our bodies’, women often overlook these symptoms as benign at best and necessary evil at worst.  It’s better than a baby, right?  Granted, I wish no unplanned pregnancies on anyone.  But if you knew the extent of the havoc hormonal contraception wreaks on our long term health perhaps you would be provoked to consider another method.  

Here are 3 Reasons to Rethink Birth Control Pills 

1. BCPs are carcinogenic.  

Due to the fact that oral contraception users have a 24% increased risk of breast cancer, in 2005 they were reclassified as Class One Carcinogens by the Whole Health Organization- the same class as tobacco and asbestos. 

2. BCPs are endocrine disruptors.

Birth control pills suppress our body’s own production of sex hormones- hormones that keep our periods regular, our ovaries healthy, and us juicy and lustful.  Long term use of BCPs causes low libido and ovary shrinkage.  These changes can take years to correct, if ever.  It should come as no surprise then that women who have been on the pill for an extended period of time have a higher risk of infertility.  I see this every day in my practice, where many of my fertility patients are working to regulate their cycles and get ovulation (the process of releasing an egg for fertilization) started again after years on the pill.  

3. BCPs deny you the ability to listen to your body. 

I can’t say this enough- Symptoms are our body’s way of telling us something is amiss. 

BCPs suppress our bodies’ signals, effectively silencing our bodies and cutting off communication with our bodies’ innate wisdom.  Imagine yourself without your cell phone for an extended period of time- no Google, no GPS, no phone calls, text, or email… that’s the way your body feels without vital feedback from symptoms.  Tune in and take advantage of your body’s wisdom.  

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the Fertility Awareness Method- an effective and safe (perhaps the safest) contraceptive method that empowers you to listen to and work synergistically with your body to prevent or promote contraception, depending on how it’s used.