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I went off birth control in the spring of 2013. I had many personal reasons for doing so: I didn’t like the side effects (sensitive stomach, anxiety, low libido, etc.), I didn’t want to put chemicals into my body, and I wanted to live a more natural life. Birth control pills produced waste and cost a lot of money in the long term. While these reasons would be enough, in my research, I have encountered many more reasons why avoiding artificial hormones in general is the best choice for any woman. But don’t take my word for it! Check out my sources, and their sources. If you are on birth control, read the information insert that comes with your pill pack.
Why You Should Avoid Hormonal Birth Control
There is a risk for blood clots. This is the one everyone knows about. If you are over 35 or a smoker, don’t take birth control because of clotting risk. If you are low risk, you are fine. Not true. I know young, non-smoking women who have had blood clots while taking hormonal birth control. Yes, the risk is small, smaller than when pregnant, but it is still a risk to consider. (source)
Birth control pills increase the risk of certain cancers. Although the pill reduces the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers, there is an increased risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancers. If you believe you are at risk for any of these cancers, you may want to rethink the pill. Luckily, studies have shown that once discontinuing birth control pills, breast cancer risk begins to decrease back to normal. (source)
Birth control pills are classified as a carcinogen. Oh, yeah. Carcinogen, the word that is always associated with cigarettes. Because of the increased cancer risks, that means that birth control pills are a carcinogen. (source)
There is an increased risk of bone loss. Women who use Depo-Provera (the shot) have been found to lose bone mineral density in long term use. Luckily, provided the woman has not reached menopause, bone mineral density begins to increase again after discontinuing Depo-Provera. Despite these findings and evidence gaps (such as whether women using Depo-Provera are able to achieve peak potential bone mineral density after discontinuing), The World Health Organization unfortunately does not recommend any restriction of this form of contraception. (source)
They damage your gut and deplete micronutrients. The birth control pill destroys the good bacteria in your gut. This can lead to leaky gut syndrome, yeast overgrowth, infections, and a host of other problems. I noticed this big time when I was on the pill. While I used to have an iron stomach, I became very sensitive while on the pill. I never had any food sensitivities before hormonal birth control. This imbalance of gut flora can also be passed on to any children the woman has. Just some of the nutrients that the pill depletes are folate, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium. (source)
They screw up your hormones. This is where the pill hit me the hardest. My libido tanked, I had really bad night anxiety, and my hypothyroidism was triggered (and all the lovely symptoms that come with that). Even though I have been off the pill for 2 years, I still struggle with all of these things. However, going off the pill did see an increase in libido and a sharp decrease in anxiety. My cycles are still out of whack. In fact they are way worse than they ever were before the pill. Once again, it triggered my hypothyroidism. Of everything the pill did to my body, I am angry about that one.
The reason all of this happens is because you are feeding artificial hormones into your body. It then stops making its own versions of those hormones because it doesn’t need to any more. But the hormones are artificial and are suppressing the natural rhythms of the female body. This knocks things out of balance. Then when you go off the pill, depending on how much damage has been done, it may take a very long time to heal these hormones as your body relearns how to produce hormones properly. The heartache this brings to those who are trying to conceive is completely unacceptable and could have been avoided. (source)
(can you tell I have some strong personal feelings about this point?)
It’s a Band-Aid. It comes down to this. If you are on the pill to “treat” a health problem, you are not actually treating it. In fact, the pill has not been approved by the FDA for these alternative uses. And yet it is given to every woman who even thinks about complaining about menstrual problems or acne. These women don’t know that there are better options, or that these problems will come back as soon as they go off the pill. They don’t know about the consequences of artificial hormones.
Rather than working naturally to heal the body, women opt for the pill, which damages the body. Rather than working naturally to regulate and heal fertility, women suppress their fertility. By the time they are ready for a baby, their body is not because the underlying hormonal issues are still there. As mentioned in the previous point, they may be worse.
As a note, while for simplicity’s sake, I just talk about birth control pills (except on bone loss, which is Depo-Provera specific), these concerns apply to all methods of hormonal birth control, and even more so for the long-term ones. The hormonal IUD has the added concern of being a foreign object implanted in your uterus, and the risks that come with that.
Overall, the take away is that, as with all chemicals, women should be fully educated about not only the risks of what they are putting into their body, but also that there are alternatives available. As I mentioned, most health problems “treated” by birth control are just being covered up. When the woman goes off the pill, the condition will still be there and frequently will result in trouble with conceiving. If the woman instead pursues treatment for the cause of the issue, not the symptoms, she can preserve her fertility and truly be free from whatever is causing her distress, be it PCOS, endometriosis, or simply irregular cycles.
We need to be educated on how to actually heal our bodies through natural means. GAPS is a fantastic option for intense gut healing and Nicole Jardim has great programs to help balance hormones. I’ve taken these courses myself and highly recommend them for anyone who wants to learn more about healing their cycles instead of slapping on a Band-Aid. For the more severe concerns, NaPro Technology can be a particularly useful tool.
And what are your choices for contraception? Read my review of birth control options here. My personal favorite is Natural Family Planning. Even if you don’t use it for family planning, everyone should be charting their cycles!
Why do you avoid hormonal birth control?
Sweetening the Pill
Are Birth Control Side Effects Ruining Your Life?
Dangers of the Birth Control Pill
4 Ways to Repair the Hormone Imbalance from the Pill
The Dangers Every Woman Needs to Know About the Birth Control Pill
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