Before I start, I want to acknowledge that the Pill can be a game-changer for some women
And I definitely don’t want to discount their experience. But, the pill is at best a band-aid solution. It doesn’t ‘cure’ heavy, painful periods, PCOS, PMS or any other hormonal condition. Unfortunately, it just suppresses them. And can also lead to a range of other side effects, which I’ll be talking about in this post.
Now that said, if you do have a hormonal condition I don’t want you to just stop the Pill and just suffer through it. There are many natural remedies, diet and lifestyle changes that can help rebalance your hormones naturally once you stop the Pill.
I see a lot of women in my clinic for these types of hormonal conditions, and have a lot success with bringing their body into balance naturally.
I’ve created this free worksheet for you, of my top strategies for stopping the Pill without side effects, download your copy today.
So what’s the problem? Basically, the pill shuts down your own bodies hormones
The pill is commonly prescribed to help with “hormonal balance”. Whether you have irregular periods, PCOS, endometriosis, or hormonal acne. The prescription is all the same – The Pill.
But the Pill does not balance hormones. It switches them off.
The Pill switches off estradiol and progesterone, and replaces them with the pseudo-franken-hormone drugs ethinylestradiol, levonorgestrel, and drospirenone. They are similar in structure to our hormones but they aren’t the same, and they definitely do not have the same benefits to our bodies.
For too long women have been putting up with side effects like hair loss, mood changes, weight gain, loss of libido, bloating, nausea, headaches, breast tenderness (4), the list goes on.
Would you think it healthy for men to switch off their production of testosterone? To say tell them: “Don’t worry dude. You don’t need this hormone unless you’re trying to make babies. You just have to put up with a couple side effects like mood changes and decreased libido, but you’ll be right.” I don’t think anyone would agree with that statement. Least of all men 😉
So why does everyone think that women don’t need their natural oestrogen and progesterone to be healthy? Seems crazy to me.
Let’s chat about a few of the more serious side effects:
It has been found to cause depression in some women
A cross sectional study (1) of over a million people in Denmark found those taking the Pill were more likely to suffer from depression. Results of other similar studies had mixed results, however the Denmark healthcare data system makes them particularly adept at this research and therefore the results are reliable.
It was found that women on the combined Pill were 23% more likely to be depressed, whereas those on the Progestin-only pill (the ‘mini-pill’) were 34% more likely.
And for adolescents this number was closer to 80%! The youngest among us are often the most susceptible. This is something to be mindful of if your teenager has been prescribed the Pill for acne, or other period irregularities.
The pill was also found to have negative effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health, leading to an increased incidence of insulin resistance
Insulin resistance occurs when your body cannot effectively control the levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood, and if left unchecked can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Insulin resistance can also lead to weight gain, sugar cravings, extreme thirst or hunger, and chronic inflammation (which I’ve talked about before, being the driver behind many chronic health conditions).
And it is well documented that the Pill is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and other cardiovascular issues (5, 6).
Increased risk of autoimmune diseases and other chronic health issues
Autoimmune diseases involved a derangement of the normal functioning of the immune system. And the synthetic hormones used in the pill have had researched effects on the immune system. If you have a family history of autoimmune disease, it is best you consider alternatives other than hormonal contraception. I have discussed these below.
A systematic review of the existing evidence (2) found that hormonal birth control increased the risk of multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and interstitial cystitis.
Progesterone only contraceptives were found to be linked to progesterone dermatitis, arthropathies (inflammation in the joints) and related disorders, eczema and contact dermatitis, pruritis (itchiness) and related conditions, alopecia, acne, and urticaria.
And it is also known that:
- the combined Pill is not appropriate for women who have medical conditions such as certain types of migraines, high blood pressure, severe heart conditions or liver disease (4).
- the Pill can lead to serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), heart attacks and strokes, but these are not common (3, 4).
So you may be wondering what are the alternatives
Alternative contraceptive methods you may consider include: contraceptive devices like Daysy, Fertility Awareness Method, copper IUD, condoms, and cervical cap.
Make sure to do your own research to find the best fit for you, each one of these methods have different rates of effectiveness and come with their own set or strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re thinking about coming off the pill, be prepared
So, the strategy for coming off the pill is different depending on the reason you started the pill. Did you have perfectly normal periods before? Or were you prescribed the Pill for heavy/painful periods? PCOS? Acne? Or other issues?
Download a copy of TOP 5 TIPS WHEN COMING OFF THE PILL worksheet now to find out more. Make sure you do this the right way, and minimise those nasty side effects.