Hormonal Imbalances and the Perils of the Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptive pills, are used for female hormonal birth control and are considered highly effective in preventing pregnancy and regulating hormonal balance. Small in size and easy to use, birth control pills constitute two synthetic female hormones: estrogen and progestin. Almost every woman is on the pill to ensure that they do not conceive unplanned and their hormonal level remains well-balanced.
The pill, if taken correctly, is 99.9% effective. It prevents your body from ovulating and curtails the chances of pregnancy. However, most women take the pill because they face hormonal misbalance. While birth control pill can be an effective source of estrogen and progestin, they do not necessarily meet the requirements of estrogen and progesterone in the body. They can actually aggravate the problem if you are not vigilant.
The pills are not the solution for hormonal imbalance. In fact, they could be the reason behind it. It is imperative to address the underlying causes of hormonal imbalance rather than taking up unnatural hormone supplements.
These imbalances occur when there is either abundance or deficiency of any hormone in your bloodstream. This causes certain side effects throughout the body in form of unexplained weight gain or loss, excessive sweating, sleep problems, dry skin and changed heart rate among several others.
Relying on birth control is not the answer. You may consider taking it to regulate the level of hormones in your bloodstream, but they actually might disrupt the balance you already have. To understand this better, let’s have a look at the side effects of taking contraceptive pills.
Side Effects of Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills often promise greater control over bodies and fertility and even showcase extensive success ratio. What hugely remains undermined is the cost that your body and health have to pay when you try to strive for regulating your hormonal system.
Considering that the pills have manmade hormones, they pose a huge threat to your natural hormonal system and balance. They initiate health problems such as weight gain, depression and anxiety, infections in parts like the bladder, and insomnia. The birth control pill is found to deplete your body’s own hormones and work against several bodily functions.
The idea that the pill can be used in regulating hormonal balance is rather ensconced by several doctors, patients, and distributors. Contrary to the notion, they cannot be used as substitutes for the hormones produced by your body itself.
Though there are claims that chemicals in the pill are the same as that of human hormones, they are not identical. Even the smallest discrepancy in the hormone structure can cause a detrimental effect on your body’s response. Here are some of the concerning side effects of birth control pills:
Effect on Menstruation Cycle
Using oral contraceptive pills can affect your mensuration cycle and can cause fluctuation in bleeding. Some women use the pill to regulate their periods. You might be able to achieve a regular cycle after some time of using the pill, but this is not addressing the actual problem but masking the hormonal symptoms.
The pill induces bleeding and causes arbitrary bleeds arranged into a 28-day cycle so that you are reassured of a maintained cycle. You no more are able to get the evidence of hormonal imbalance, but it is still there.
Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Birth Control Pills
The side effects of birth control pills are largely undermined. There is a dearth of awareness pertinent to the perils of the contraceptive pills, and most eminent of them is the nutritional deficiencies they cause. There are nine essential nutrients that are depleted because of the consumption of birth control pills. These nutrients are discussed underneath:
Zinc is, undoubtedly, one of the most essential minerals required by your body to function appropriately in all manners and context. It is found not only in several important enzymes that facilitate numerous bodily functions but is also an essential element for the functioning of the immune system and improving leaky gut.
It is found to play a key role in regulating the metabolism of RNA and DNA in the body and promotes plasticity and flexibility in the brain. This makes zinc hugely necessary for immune health, hormone fitness, modulation of insulin, leaky gut repair and wellbeing of the brain.
According to the studies, it has been found that women on oral contraceptive pills have a low level of zinc in their body tissues as compared to the women who choose not to stay on the birth control pills. Hence, the zinc levels are negatively impacted by the consumption of these pills. The reason behind this is that the chemicals of the pills inhibit the absorption of the zinc in the tissues and ultimately curtail their level.
When there is a low level of zinc in your tissues, their immunity ultimately reduces and makes them prone towards diseases and infections. It can affect the DNA creation and would impact the level of your alertness, focus, and sense of taste and smell. Major symptoms of zinc deficiency are:
- Weight loss
- Unhealed Wounds
- Lack of alertness
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- Loss of appetite
- Open sores prevailing on skin
If you are facing these symptoms, you need to enhance your zinc intake and reduce the dose of the contraceptive pill. Rich sources of zinc include oyster, liver, beef, lamb, turkey, and shrimp. Here is one of my favorite Zinc Supplements.
Besides zinc, using birth control pills can also cause you deficiency of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient that plays an important role as a catalyst. It is mandatory for almost every chemical reaction that takes place in your body. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main source of energy for cells, requires magnesium for its biological activity.
Women using contraceptive pills are found to be low on magnesium levels frequently. The chemicals curb the production of magnesium in the body. This accentuates on the fact that if you are on the birth control pills, you must increase your magnesium intake through the adequate diet plan. Among severe consequences, thrombosis is a health risk that is associated with contraceptive pills. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- Cramps and twitches in muscles.
- Mental health problems and disorders.
- Fatigue and muscle illness
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory problems
If you see any of these signs emerging, it means you are suffering from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is important for several body functions such as blood sugar and insulin management, adrenal health, bone health, and mental health. Any deficiency in its level can lead to substantial health problems. Considering that contraceptive pills aggravate the deficiency, their dose should be taken carefully and diet must include food items such as legumes, nuts, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, black beans, cashews, navy beans, sunflower seeds, and almonds. My Favorite Magnesium Glycinate
- Vitamin C
For your healthy immune system, vitamin C is rather crucial. It is highly important in the manufacturing of several neurotransmitters, and for adrenal health, also known as the stress system. The synthesized chemicals in the birth control pills aggravate the speed of metabolism of vitamin C in the body which ultimately decreases the quantity of this vitamin in the blood.
It is important to make sure to get enough vitamin C to maintain a healthy body. This is especially necessary if you have gut issues or other health problems. Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include:
- Skin roughness
- Coiled-shape hair growth
- Red hair follicles
- Red lines appearing on fingernails
- Dry and damaged skin
- Easy rupturing of blood vessels causing bruises
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to serious conditions such as scurvy and pneumonia. It is important to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet to ensure optimum functioning of the immune system. Here is a Liposomal Vitamin C with enhanced bioabsorption that I use in my practice.
- Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 are important coenzymes that play a crucial role in several of the bodily functions. The most important of all include the protein metabolism, synthesis of neurotransmitters, and production of serotonin. It promotes the production of red blood cells. The oral contraceptive pills have the tendency to enhance blood clotting and pose several other coagulation risks that do not work in the favor of vitamin B6. This leads to the depletion of this nutrition. The symptoms and problems associated with vitamin B6 deficiency include:
- Sleep problems
- Skin problems
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
To ensure that the requirements of vitamin B6 are efficiently met, there is need to increase items such as turkey, chicken, beef, eggs, potatoes, spinach, bananas, peppers, and garlic in your daily diet. Vitamin B6 should be taken in its most bioactive form as P5P
- Riboflavin or Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is necessary for energy production in the body and is essential for normal cell function and growth. For women, at the age of child-bearing, are at high risk of riboflavin deficiency. Birth control pills aggravate this problem and cause further scarcity of the nutrient. This accentuates on the impotence of taking riboflavin supplements to meet the needs. Failing to do so promotes the following symptoms:
- Decreased free radical protection
- Development of cataracts
- Poor thyroid function
- Muscle weakness
- Increased homocysteine
The deficiency of vitamin B2 can be addressed by increasing the uptake of food items like Brewer’s yeast, almonds, organ meats, whole grains, mushrooms, eggs, and green vegetables.
How Functional Medicine Addresses Root Cause of Hormonal Imbalances?
As mentioned, it is imperative to explore the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances rather than covering them up with prescription medications like oral contraceptive pills.
This is exactly how a functional medicine physician investigates when treating patients of hormonal imbalance. The two factors it focuses on is the hormone production and elimination. Accentuating on hormone production, it identifies the fact that hormonal dysfunction or imbalance is caused by poor performance of hypothalamus.
If hypothalamus’ function can be restored to normal, hormonal balance can be achieved. Similarly, in hormone elimination, functional medicine physicians address the related systems where the problems may lie. For instance, an inadequately performing liver can aggravate the production of certain hormones in your body and fail to detoxify properly.
So, instead of injecting synthesized chemicals in form of medication such as contraceptive pills, functional medicine assesses and treats the regulatory and eliminatory system of the body before considering hormone therapy.
To diagnose a hormonal imbalance, it is important that you look rather holistically and accentuate on as many of the body systems as possible. To address hormonal imbalances, the history of the patient is important as there can be factors from the past that can promote the current health problem and determine if the hormonal system is a primary issue. This is critical in diagnosing which hormones need attention.
Any indication of chronic stress, toxicity, xenoestrogens, nutritional deficiencies, and synthetic hormonal use history can be reasons for hormonal imbalances. Therefore, before choosing to go for contraceptive pills as a solution for hormonal imbalances, it is important that the body’s functions and systems are thoroughly investigated and then treated.
Take Away Messages
- For your health and well-being, it is imperative to know the exact pros and side effects of the contraceptive pills you are about to use. While they may appear to offer you productive results, they can cause detrimental effects on your body.
- Always get a thorough and holistic body check up to identify the underlying causes of hormonal malfunctioning.
- Contraceptive pills can deplete several nutrients that are essential for your body. It is important to ensure substantial intake of food items that are rich in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin C, B6, and B2.
- Functional medicine can be a healthier and safer treatment option for addressing hormonal imbalances as they investigate bodily processes and functions to locate the exact reason for the problem.
Videos on The Pill and Gut Health You May Be Interested In
Here is what you may have missed from past videos
- The Birth Control Pill and Gut Dysbiosis and disrupts the Gut Microbiome
- The Birth Control Pill and Crohn’s Disease/ Gut Inflammation
- The Birth Control Pill and Leaky Gut/Intestinal Permeability
- The Birth Control Pill and Acid Reflux and SIBO/SIFO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
- The Birth Control Pill and Gall bladder Disease,