The Truth About Birth Control Pills and Hormones
Millions of women all over the world use oral contraceptive pills, also known as birth control pills (BCP).
In this article, we will refer to them as BCP’s for short. BCP’s are most often used to prevent pregnancy or to reduce the complications that go along with menstruation such as PMS, cramping, pain, heavy flow, etc.
Many people have misconceptions on how BCP’s affect the body and brain and how they influence overall health:
How BCP’s Work Inside the Body
1. Most are made with synthetic progesterone and estrogen.
2. The synthetic hormones enter the brain.
3. They shut down hormones called gonadotropins, which are responsible for your menstrual cycle.
4. By interfering with these gonadotropins, ovulation is prevented and menstrual irregularities can improve.
In order to feel happy, healthy and feeling overall great it requires having balanced hormones. Here is some important information to note about the type of hormones:
Natural hormones bind to specific receptors and keep your body in balance:
• Testosterone binds to the testosterone receptor and progesterone binds to the progesterone receptor
• There is no cross-reactivity.
Synthetic progesterone (progestins) are much different on the body:
• Progestins do not limit binding with just the progesterone receptor, but many other receptors as well.
• When a synthetic hormone binds to the wrong receptor, that receptor may convey inaccurate signals, which throws the body off balance.
• This is why BCP’s cause so many hormone imbalances and side effects.
Note: Not all women will have these problems, but for those that do side effects can be quite miserable.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Many women have no idea that their BCP’s are causing the following issues:
• Low libido
• Weight gain
How to Find Out if BCP’s Are Causing You Problems
Simple standard blood tests will rarely detect this problem, so I order a 24-hour urine hormone collection which is the gold standard for looking at all the hormones and their metabolic byproducts.
Are You Ready To Stop Taking BCP’s?
Stopping the birth control pills raises its’ own set of problems, namely whatever reason you started them will still need to be addressed.
Contraceptive Purposes: There are non-synthetic, non-hormone options available which can be discussed with your gynecologist.
Menstrual Irregularities: Natural progesterone can be quite effective – without any of the side effects from the synthetic progestin in BCP’s.
How To Get Back Into Hormonal Balance
If you have been on BCP’s for many years:
• It can take several months for the natural hormone levels to balance.
• This is due to the chronic suppression of your own hormone production.
• It is often helpful to supplement hormones during this recovery period.
If you must stay on the pill for any particular reason:
• Consider asking your personal care physician about using natural progesterone and testosterone to improve quality of life issues (while taking BCP’s).
At Amen Clinics, we can help you regain balance of your hormones and feel yourself once again. We offer hormone replacement therapy as part of our Integrative Medicine program that combines conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies. If you suffer from hormone imbalance due to BCP’s, connect with us online or call 888-288-9834 today.