How The Pill Really Affects Your Health And Steps To Take Before Coming Off

An article I wrote for Glitter Guide

Birth control pills have given women access to pleasure without fear, to navigate their voice and agency. However, the pill and birth control have been used synonymously and interchangeably, even though the intention for prescribing and the alteration in natural hormones is drastically different. The culture has normalized us to thinking there are two ways to live: pregnancy or birth control pills. There are non-hormonal birth control methods that are equally effective in preventing pregnancy while not holding health risks. Birth control has to step away from a religious and political discussion and be a humane discussion in the effect it has on women’s health and reproduction. This article isn’t to prevent anyone from taking the pill, but to provide more understanding on how your pill works.

Globally, millions of healthy women are taking the pill for reasons other than prevention of pregnancy. It has become the main prescription for anything possibly related to hormonal imbalances, even acne. The pill only masks symptoms. Women still have to heal the root cause of hormonal imbalances once off the pill, even 10 years later. It’s alarming that few know how the drug works and the side effects on our mental and physical health. Women deserve better care, so we need to become educated in the way we care for our reproductive health. Our voice creates the structure of reproductive and mental healthcare.

The pill is designed to disrupt the endocrine system. The women’s endocrine system regulates all hormones, so any disruption effects all systems in the body. I believe the pill is the number-one endocrine disruptor. It’s more disruptive to our system than plastics, pesticide, cleaning products and personal hygiene products. 

The pill does not mimic a women’s natural cycle as we are told. By companies calling synthetic hormones similar to the hormone’s name such as estrogen and progesterone, we tend to believe they have a similar effect on the body and that they aren’t toxic. It’s a cognitive disconnect from reality that these endocrine disruptors have any similarity to the actual hormone and the effect it has on every system in our body. 

How The Pill Affects Your Health

When it comes to our hormone system, if one hormone is out of balance, it will affect the entire system. The pill disrupts every hormone and stops the brain from communicating with the ovaries. When the brain and ovaries aren’t communicating and you aren’t ovulating, this has a catalyst effect on all of your hormones and bodily systems. The pill can create a host of hormonal problems, such as low libido, vaginal dryness, adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, headaches, irregular periods, blood clots, risk of cancer and diabetes, and more. 

Steps To Take Before Coming Off

Post-birth control symptoms are symptoms women experience when discontinuing birth control. Women will have the hormonal symptoms that lead them to begin taking the pill, plus added symptoms caused by being on the pill. The symptoms can range from adult acne, loss of menstruation, infertility, hypothyroidism, gut dysfunction, pill-induced PCOS and autoimmune symptoms. Since your brain and ovaries stopped communicating on the pill, now your body, including adrenals, thyroid, gut, and liver might be having some challenges to reestablish connection. Your body is strong and always healing, so we have to make actions to support the body’s natural healing process. It can take weeks or years to heal after the pill. Here are some steps that you can begin before coming off the pill.

LIVER

The liver makes sure estrogen that we don’t need is removed from our body. Some liver-friendly foods to include in your diet: broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, beets, garlic and leafy green vegetables.

SKINCARE

Most women are exposed to hundreds of hormone-disrupting chemicals. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals create mimicking estrogen, called xenoestrogen, that make our body believe it is actually estrogen. Skincare goes right to the bloodstream so it has a more direct effect on our hormones than food that is processed through our digestive system. It’s important to use natural skincare products.

GUT

Our gut contains healthy microbiome that makes us feel happy and healthy. When the gut isn’t functioning properly, we have symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, weight fluctuations and PMS. The health of our gut is also needed to eliminate excess waste, like estrogen, from our body. When our gut function is compromised, estrogen is recirculated back into the body and contributes to hormonal imbalances. Begin nourishing the gut with bone broth, coconut yogurt, and other fermented foods and fiber to have a thriving microbiome. 

By beginning to enhance your gut microbiome, proper detoxification and have products that are easy on your endocrine system, you can begin to create a healthy foundation to reduce symptoms when coming off of a birth control pill.