Have you ever wondered what the pill might be doing to your body?
As a Naturopath I see many women placed on contraceptives, often in the early days not even for contraception. Whether it has been to “regulate” a cycle (give you a false period to make you believe it is regular), help with your skin, improve mood or reduce heavy periods I have heard them all.
But what women are often not told is what is actually happening at a biochemical level in the body on these contraceptives. Let us look a bit deeper into how they work:
A hormonal contraceptive pill tells the body it is constantly pregnant using either estrogen and progestin or just progestin (a false progesterone which acts nothing like your own progesterone). Not only is it switching “off” your ovaries to stop the maturation of your eggs but it is preventing your natural rhythm. And what happens when we don’t ovulate? We do not produce any were near enough Progesterone
Remember Progesterone is the one we all want plenty of– it is our superpowers hormone to make us feel calm, balanced and sleep well.
This false progestin contained in the pill has an opposite effect of our natural progesterone and actually falsely mimics more of our testosterone’s than progesterone. Often women on the pill will feel depressed, have poor sleep, acne (becomes worse when ceasing the pill), hair loss and have an increase in anxiety due to this higher androgen based effect.
Switching off our progesterone also affects our GABA receptors. GABA is important for keeping us calm and balanced as well as aiding sleep. Long term pill users have also be shown to have a smaller frontal cortex! Oh dear brain shrinkage at its best! The oestrogen in the pill is in the form of ethinyl estradiol which encourages poor insulin sensitivity and further effects such as sugar cravings, weight gain and mood changes.
The Pill is also contributing to an overload our bodies with false oestrogens- which promotes another subset of symptoms called Oestrogen Dominance – weight gain, heavy bleeds and often put down to feeling “hormonal”
Mirena is considered the “better” between itself and the pill as it has more of a local effect. It only shuts off around 85% of ovulation- therefore still some progesterone production occurs. Side effects often seen are more likely in the first year- irregular bleeds and spotting. Although I have met many women who just know they feel different after a few years with a Mirena in.
Non- hormonal Copper IUD (Copper T)
This is probably the best of the bunch- but still relatively unheard of from many women. It still allows natural hormone cycles but just forms a hostile environment for sperm therefore preventing fertilisation. The main issues with the Copper T are copper toxicity and it can cause heavier bleeds for many women.
Did you know it can take over 10 years for the brain and ovaries to develop healthy communication? Therefore women placed on contraceptives at a young age can really play havoc with their hormone communication pathways. Let’s educate our young on contraception side effects and alternatives. Our body should be giving us clear ovulation signs if we listen and observe.
Let’s start learning about our cycles, using temperature methods such as the Daysy tracker (Use Code Healthful for $25 discount).
I Wanting to learn more about your health and hormones? Make sure you have signed up for our newsletter to keep up to date with our events and Healthful news. Or to learn more about what Jacqui has to offer head here. To book a consultation with Jacqui Watts our Naturopath head to the bookings page.
Want to learn more about your health and hormones? Head over to our events page to check out Jacqui’s next Workshop on The Missing Piece in Hormone Balancing- Wednesday 30th May
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