The pill is the most commonly prescribed form of hormonal management - not only for birth control purposes, but for period problems as well.
Girls as young as 14 are being put on it to make soccer practice and their periods more convenient. And of course, teens and adult women with PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, cramps, and heavy bleeding are all being recommended this course of action.
What isn't being discussed enough, however, is that the pill doesn’t correct these issues; it merely covers them up.
Still unsure if the pill is right for YOU? Here are six signs your birth control pill might not be working for you:
1. Low sex drive
The pill essentially replaces your sex hormones, so it’s not surprising if you’re losing that loving feeling. When you ovulate naturally without the pill, your body makes 50% of the testosterone you’ll have available that month, which is a big part of your sex drive. When you’re taking the pill, however, you don’t ovulate and you’re not making that testosterone. Testosterone is important because it initiates blood flow to your sex organs, which means more sensitivity and lubrication and therefore better orgasms!
2. Headaches or migraines
If you experience headaches or migraines for the first time after going on the pill, it’s a sign that you’re sensitive to estrogen. The increasing amounts of estrogen delivered by the pill are not going to be your best option.
3. Weight gain or inability to lose weight easily
A study found that women on the pill gain 60% less muscle mass than women who are not taking oral contraceptives. In a 10-week weight training program, half the participants were on the pill and half were not. By the end of the program, women who were not on the pill had gained significantly more muscle mass, had higher levels of muscle-building hormones, and lower levels of muscle-breaking hormones like cortisol. Women on the pill have a harder time gaining muscle and experience higher levels of cortisol, which makes it harder to lose the pounds.
Many women on the pill suffer from depression, although the medical field tends not to acknowledge the connection between the two. Women are encouraged to take antidepressants along with the pill, instead of just not taking the pill. Estrogen and progesterone affect our brain chemistry, so different pills with different doses can have changing effects on our brain and moods.
5. Low energy
The pill depletes your body’s reserve of B vitamins (especially B6), which can cause fatigue, nausea and mood swings when you first go on the pill. In the long-term, depleting the body of essential vitamins and nutrients puts your whole endocrine system at risk, as many of the glands require B vitamins to function properly.
6. Being attracted to the wrong guys over and over again
Guess what? The pill may also be wreaking havoc on your relationships. In an experiment conducted at the University of Bern in Switzerland, women were asked to smell t-shirts worn by anonymous men and then pick the one that appealed to them most. The results showed that they chose the ones with a certain gene set that were very different from their own, making them genetically compatible. When this set of genes is too similar, the risk of miscarriage increases.
Women who were on the pill in this study chose the t-shirts with genes that were very similar to their own, suggesting that the pill interferes with a woman’s ability to choose her most compatible mate. As one woman from the study pointed out, “A colleague of mine wonders if the Pill may contribute to divorce. Women pick a husband when they’re on birth control, then quit to have a baby and realize they’ve made a mistake.”
What to do instead?
Here’s what I know after 20 years of working with women on these issues:
If you have a hormonal problem, you must address the underlying causes through food and lifestyle. The pill is simply not a sustainable answer.
So the solution is two-fold:
1. If you’re relying on the pill for birth control purposes, start tracking your cycle and looking into the highly effective non-hormonal options for birth control. Condoms and the sponge are two of my favorites.
2. Address your diet and lifestyle to heal the root causes of your hormonal issues. What we eat becomes the building blocks of our hormonal chemistry. With increasing amounts of pesticides, sugar, GMOs, and other harmful toxins in our food supply, it is more imperative than ever that we seriously look at how our diet and lifestyle affect our bodies and hormones.
If you’re ready for more support with your hormones and moods, take my Hormonal Evaluation Quiz now and learn exactly what your body and hormones are trying to communicate to you! This quiz is essential if you’re looking to get to the root of your symptoms and overcome your hormonal health issues once and for all.