Hormonal birth control does not regulate your period and it does not balance your hormones. Instead, it completely shuts them down. The old school science likes to tell us that it tricks the body into thinking it’s pregnant, but more science is coming out that tells us it actually bears more resemblance to menopause.
It’s important to note that the hormones in birth control are synthetic, meaning they are not the same chemical structure as our own hormones that we naturally produce. So not only are we getting synthetic hormones instead of our own, we also shut down the body’s ability to make it its own hormones thanks to the negative feedback loop. What’s a negative feedback loop? It means that if we are giving the body exogenous (not made in the body) hormones, then the body sees that we have enough hormones and it doesn’t need to make its own.
A birth control bleed is not a real period. It is simply a drug withdrawal bleed. When they were running one of the first studies for the birth control pill, women freaked out when they weren’t getting regular periods. After all, this pill was supposed to be preventing pregnancy and not having a period was a sign of pregnancy. So they reformulated the pill to include the sugar pills which induced a “period”. You might think you’re having regular periods now thanks to the birth control, but it’s not your actual period at all.
We must ovulate to have a period and it’s ovulation that tells the body to make progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that makes us more relaxed and calm and it’s necessary to have sufficient progesterone in order to maintain a pregnancy. Progestin, the synthetic form in birth control, prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and changing the cervical mucus to make it thicker and less stretchy so as to be unfriendly to sperm that are trying to enter the uterus.
Your period is your fifth vital sign, meaning it’s right up there with heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration rate. When any of those vital signs are off, it can be indicative of something more serious going on in the body and the same can be said for the period. Instead of passing out birth control for every single period problem, so much value could come from health professionals being willing to investigate further to figure out what health issues are causing the period problems. Thyroid is always a huge one! How many women could be spared the pain of extreme thyroid dysfunction and a late diagnosis if health professionals knew that a stressed thyroid will cause issues with periods. Amazing things could happen for women if we all knew to look to our period as a sign of what’s happening within our body. Period problems always equals deeper dysfunction.
Here’s my biggest problem with birth control- it is NOT a root cause solution, yet it’s passed out like candy for every little issue. You have acne-take the pill. You have cramps-take the pill. You have migraines-take the pill. You have PCOS-take the pill. And on and on and on. The numbers for women who are on birth control strictly for period problems is downright scary and infuriating. It is a band-aid and that’s it. Your problems will still be there (and then some) once you are done with it. The side effects, the fertility issues after, and the post-birth control syndrome are all things that should be taken into account, but they don’t even get acknowledged as being real. Searching for the root cause and treating the imbalance at the top will always be a better solution that simply covering up the symptoms. The big ones at the top tend to be blood sugar dysregulation, digestive dysfunction, and gut dybiosis.
I want to make it clear that I am not anti-birth control, but I am pro-informed consent. If all these things were discussed with women before making the decision to take birth control, I wholeheartedly believe the numbers would be different.
What’s one thing that you learned from this or one thing that surprises you?