Many doctors still believe the benefits of the birth control pill outweigh the risks. I’m not one of them. Not only is the pill associated with the likelihood of developing serious diseases, like breast cancer, but it also creates massive hormonal shifts that can lead to a variety of unpleasant effects. In essence, the pill suppresses natural hormone production, making it behave as if it is already in menopause. When you consider the symptoms common to women in menopause and women taking the pill—depression, anxiety, brain fog, weight gain, insomnia, loss of libido—it all makes sense.
I wasn’t always such a vocal opponent of the pill. In the earlier part of my career, I prescribed the pill routinely to my patients, and as a young woman, I used it myself. But two things inspired me to rethink my position: First, I started helping my menopausal clients restore their hormonal balance with bioidentical hormone replacement and nutrition and lifestyle improvements. This was when I decided it was time to take a closer look at hormone levels in my younger birth control clients as well. And second, these same young women were coming in with all the symptoms noted above, unaware that the pill could be the culprit. Indeed, blood analysis almost always reveals that these clients had hormone levels that matched those of their menopausal counterparts.
Consider 23-year-old Nicole, a patient whose journey is chronicled in my new book, Radiant Again & Forever. She presented with constant depression, low energy, and general "crankiness." She thought this was normal since it was all she had known for years. I took her off oral contraceptives, and after just one week, she reported having much greater mental clarity, feeling more levelheaded, cheerful, energetic, and happier. Hormones are our body’s software, and when software doesn’t work properly, there’s always a chain of negative consequences. Here’s why I advocate for nonhormonal methods of birth control: