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Menstrual Cycle Coach Haley Cada on Real Talk ~ What's up with Hormonal Birth Control

Real Talk ~ What’s up with Hormonal Birth Control

According to John Hopkins, over 11 million women in the United States alone use hormonal birth control. That’s quite a lot of women! Since the pill became available in the 1960’s, it was a lifeline for many ambitious women who wanted to have greater independence + autonomy over their bodies & reproduction. It was a huge advancement for the trajectory of women’s lives & provided many opportunities outside of the home that wouldn’t have been available without the invention of birth control. As of now, the most popular forms of contraception include the pill, sterilization, IUD’s & implants.

While birth control was an incredible & much needed option for women across the world, it has very real long term consequences that aren’t spoken about enough. Also, it’s important to note that over 50% of women who are using hormonal contraceptives aren’t using it for pregnancy prevention. They are using it for menstrual cramps, painful periods, irregular cycles or to “balance” their hormones for common conditions such as PCOS {poly cystic ovarian syndrome} Let me make something really clear, hormonal birth control does not balance hormones. It suppresses your natural hormonal production, which halts symptoms. However, many of those symptoms will return back with a vengeance. Hormonal birth control is not the magical bandaid that many physicians have been treating it as and it has dozens of consequences on the female body.

In this post, I will detail through the physical, emotional & cyclical consequences of hormonal birth control. While being on the pill is the right choice for many, it’s important to understand how hormonal birth control impacts body, mind & cycle. Let’s dive in!

PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE PILL

The physical detriments of hormonal birth control on the female body are just starting to be accepted within the medical community. For years, many physicians saw hormonal birth control as being harmless. Now, the script has changed & we are all waking up to the truth ~ long term hormonal birth control use has detrimental, irreversible & long term effects on the female body.

To start, BC depletes nutrient stores in many of the bodies vital organs, including the liver. Some of the nutrients that are typically very low in someone who has been on birth control for many years are B vitamins, selenium, magnesium & folate. The pill taxes the liver, the bodies main detoxification organ, through excessive exogenous hormones. It also depletes the liver of Vitamin C + E, two of the main nutrients it needs to function properly.

 The gut is another key area within the physical body that is comprised from hormonal birth control. The pill creates an environment that is more favorable to bad bacteria versus good. There is also research that suggests it can contribute to leaky gut, a condition that impacts the gut’s intestinal lining and allows undigested food particles to leak into the blood - causing inflammation & a host of other complications.

The liver is what packages many of our hormones and prepares it for excretion through bowel movements. When your gut isn’t functioning properly, these toxins that the liver has prepped for excretion can go back into the circulation of the body - which leads to many common PMS symptoms such as bloating + heavy periods. 

In addition to the above, birth control use has been connected to:

  • Greater increase of autoimmune disease {including Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus & Crohn’s Disease}
  • Decreased Libido or sex drive. The pill increase production of sex hormone binding globulin, which binds to Testosterone in the blood. With low levels of testosterone, having a healthy robust sex drive doesn’t exist.
  • Research out of the Sexual Medicine Journal in 2012 showed correlation between hormonal birth control use and decrease in clitoral volume. AKA the clitoris shrunk, even just after 6 months of hormonal bc use. 
  • Disruption of the Ovarian - Thyroid - Adrenal Axis. The birth control pill is highly inflammatory, which causes the adrenal glands to consistently pump out the stress hormone, Cortisol. In an acute situation, this is okay, however when it is happening chronically, it can create HPA dysfunction, more commonly known as Adrenal Fatigue.

EMOTIONAL CONSQUENCES:

In a cohort study of more than 1 million women living in Denmark, researchers found that women taking the combined oral contraceptive (Estrogen + progestin) were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than non pill users. And, when taking the progestin only pills, women were 34% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than non-pill users. Another key finding they found was that teens who started taking the combined oral pill were 80% more likely to be diagnosed with depression. 80%!

Unfortunately, these statistics don’t shock me. Our natural hormones of estrogen + progesterone are supportive in contributing to a steady, upbeat mood & overall feelings of joy + happiness. Those who are on the pill, are not producing even close to the amount of healthy hormones of a natural cycling womxn. In fact, those who are on the pill are producing about the same amount of estrogen as a post menopausal woman and no natural progesterone. This is because progesterone occurs from ovulation, which is halted from the birth control pill.

Hormonal Birth Control can also mess up the intricate balance of your feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine & GABA receptors. This can contribute to feelings to sadness, depression & anxiety to name a few.

CYCLICAL CONSQUENCES:

Despite what western medicine has fed us, our periods are not a burden & something that needs to be shut down by hormonal birth control. It’s actually the complete opposite! It is through the ebbs + flows of our cyclical hormones that we are able to feel into our emotions, intuition & creativity. When your hormones are humming along at a constant rate, with no fluctuation, you may feel flat, dull, uninspired, or numb. Hormones provide us a gateway into experiencing our emotions in their wholeness. Yes, they may be intense. However, it is through feeling the emotion in its entirety that healing occurs. When our emotions are dulled down, we aren’t offered the full experience of healing.

Through the cycle, you are able to understand times of rest + nourishment versus outward achievement + socialization. You can tell when your body would be best supportive of a jog outside or a gentle Yin class, a smoothie or a hearty bowl of stew. Cyclical living, which means to live according to your menstrual cycle, is a body based way of living that works with the natural rhythm of your womb + hormones, versus constantly forcing + pushing against it.

Hormonal Birth control shuts down the ability to work with this natural rhythm. While someone can still work with the cyclical energy of the seasons & the moon {which I totally recommend!} there are no changes in the womb. Hormones stay at a constant level & don’t allow for the shifts + changes in energy levels, intuition & creativity that the natural cycle provides us.

The more that I work with womxn in reclaiming their cycles, the more I realize just how beautiful this rhythm is within the womb. It connects us to the moon, the Earth & our own internal landscape. It supports us in getting to know our inner world better, while also being a container that can support us in making sustainable, external change. While hormonal birth control IS the right option for many womxn right now, I believe it’s imperative that we reclaim our cycles + body, whether we choose to be on the pill or not!

If you are someone who is curious around transitioning off hormonal birth control OR just wants to be able to connect to your cycle while remaining on, I have a very exciting FREE TRAINING that will support you!

Join me in Magic of your Moon, a 75 minute training where I will share with you to heal from birth control ~ body, mind & cycle. You can sign up with the link below!

https://www.avoeats.com/magicofyourmoon

 

Thank you love & as always, reach out with any questions you may have.


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