The oral contraceptive pill was the first drug in history approved for long term use, and today Australian and American women have one of the highest rates of oral contraceptive use in the world.
The most common reason women choose to take The Pill is for contraception, however a growing number of women are prescribed it to treat other conditions such as acne, period pain and pain, commonly associated with Endometriosis and irregular or absent periods, associated with PCOS – poly cystic ovarian syndrome. Yet these symptoms are in fact an indication of underlying hormonal imbalances, for which the pill does not target the cause of & can in fact exacerbate.
Many women are under the misconception that the synthetic hormones in The Pill - oestrogen and progestin - are the same as human hormones, but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite what your doctor may tell you, the pill is not an effective way to balance your hormones. I see many women in my practice who complain of a myriad of side effects experienced both on the pill, as well as when they stop taking it, that did not exist prior to doing so, or returned with a vengeance. These include cystic acne, weight gain, irregular or painful periods, headaches and migraines and mood swings just to name a few. The reason for these lingering symptoms?…..the long term effects of taking synthetic hormones.
Many folk don't realise that The Pill also damages the vital intestinal flora colonies ( good bacteria ) that regulate much of our digestive and immune function. A significant reason why so many women develop thrush, bloating and IBS whilst taking it.
Even more alarming, The Pill has been proven to either cause or is linked to, blood clots (causing DVT - Deep Vein Thrombosis), weight gain, reduced libido, depression, abnormal blood cholesterol, insulin resistance, diabetes, Autoimmune disease and cancer, yet doctors continue to prescribe it as a healthy and safe form of contraception for women.
Consider the fact the medical profession are now weary of prescribing synthetic HRT for menopausal women, after links were found to oestrogen dependant cancers, yet The Pill, despite containing similar synthetic hormones is being consumed by women in many cases, for far longer periods than women on HRT in their menopausal years. The Pill was in fact listed as a class one Carcinogen ( cancer causing agent) by the Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization and researchers at the prestigious Mayo clinic, concluded The Pill increases the chance of breast cancer in young women by 150%.
For those women taking The Pill as a means to regulate or induce an absent period, you may be interested to learn that the bleed you experience on The Pill is not actually a real period, but rather an artificially induced bleed, thanks to the artificial hormones – oestrogen and progestin. So if you suffer from irregular periods or fail to menstruate at all (commonly due to Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or stress from excess weight loss) and you have been prescribed the oral contraceptive pill to induce a period, this will prove futile in treating the underlying cause of the problem and in many cases exasperate the underlying hormonal imbalance.
The recent introduction of the continuous -dose Pill where women only experience 2-3 bleeds per year is far from a healthy option. I see many women who have opted to take this form of contraception for convenience, because they simply ‘don’t like being put out by their period’. My response,ask yourself this - if nature intended us to have 12 menstrual cycles per year, then how unnatural is it for the body not to shed the lining of the endometrium just a few times a year? In this day and age of increasing ‘unexplained infertility’ in women, we need to be doing everything we can to ensure our hormones are naturally and healthily balanced so that when the time comes to conceive, our fertility is intact.
So now you’re probably wondering about alternative healthy contraception options to The Pill ? Well that’s a whole other post, so I will save that for next time, but in the meantime if you are taking The Pill for whatever reason, then at least combine this with taking a quality probiotic formula to maintain healthy gut flora.