The Problems w/ Birth Control Pills

7 09 2010

I decided to copy this over from one of my older blogs, onto here…

So I’m in a women’s health class (laugh if you want… I’m the only guy in a class of 40 girls!) and I had to write a paper about a women’s health topic, so I chose to write about the problems that arise when women chose to take The Pill – and the reasons for some of the side effects that usually come with it…

Birth Control

Some 30 years ago, birth control pills were the end-all, be-all of the sexual revolution. Freed from the worries of pregnancy, women explored their sexuality, perhaps for the first time in history. But only a few years passed before the “magic” pill began to lose some of its appeal. Doctor’s and scientists started to find that high-estrogen birth control pills contributed to breast cancer, embolisms (some studies suggest that people who use oral contraceptives may have a 10 times greater risk of developing a fatal pulmonary embolism), and stroke made women begin to think twice. Today, newer lower dosage birth control pills maintain high popularity, despite their continued serious health risks for women. Yes, they are effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies, but the risks far outweigh the benefits. Presently, 16 million American women are using birth control pills, fueling a $2.8 billion industry. Many women became familiar with this “magic” pill in their teens, either because of their desire for sexual intimacy or due to their painful or irregular periods (both reasons are fundamentally flawed). There are numerous safe and effective ways to prevent pregnancy. Cramping, painful and irregular periods are often due to a deficiency of progesterone and an excess of estrogen. So estrogen-alone birth control pills, which are the most commonly prescribed pills on the market now – often compound the problem. That’s why some women have intolerable estrogen-induced side effects when they are on birth control pills like; weight gain, mood swings, and breast tenderness.

In simple terms, what’s wrong with the pill (birth control shots and patches are essentially the same thing) is it promotes continuous high levels of estrogen in a woman’s body which science tells us this is dangerous. A woman’s natural cycle is composed of rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. Most of the menstrual problems, but certainly not all, are related to low progesterone levels in the last half of the cycle. Birth control pills work by keeping estrogen at a sufficiently high level so that they fool the body into thinking it is pregnant, therefore another pregnancy cannot occur. They work by one or a combination of methods; some pills prevent ovulation, some prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium or lining of the uterus, and some thicken the mucus around the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to penetrate. There is even a new brand of birth control pill on the market that boasts woman can “safely” have their period only four times a year or they can avoid having periods altogether for years at a time without a break from the estrogen blast. Science doesn’t know everything about estrogen or estrogen dominance (as it is called when estrogen levels remain high without being balanced by progesterone) but some effects scientists do know are; increased risk of breast cancer, increased risk of blood clotting, heart attack and stroke, migraines, gall bladder disease, increased blood pressure, weight gain, mood changes, nausea, irregular bleeding or spotting, benign liver tumors, and breast tenderness. In addition, most women are not aware that the use of antibiotics has been shown to decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Another thing that isn’t usually mentioned, is that the metabolism of birth control pills by the liver requires extra amounts of the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. That means if you’re taking birth control pills for years at a time, as most women are, you’re creating nutrient deficiencies – and weight gain, fluid retention, mood changes, depression and even heart disease can all come from those nutrient imbalances. Birth control pills can deplete the following nutrients; Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Zinc.

The use of birth control pills is a major risk factor for developing yeast overgrowth because it promotes estrogen dominance. Because birth control pills give a woman’s hormonal system a continual stream of estrogen, an imbalance is created, science has shown us that there is a close link between estrogen dominance and yeast overgrowth. The insidious yeast, candida albicans, generally makes its home in the human digestive tract. But, in a modern society where common lifestyle choices for women include birth control pills, antibiotics, a highly refined bread and sugar diet, coupled with high stress levels, candida overgrowth can have wide-ranging effects. When the right set of risk factors occur, toxins from yeast overgrowth can greatly affect the entire body, causing problems far beyond the common vaginal infection. The symptoms can range from migraines to infertility, endometriosis, psoriasis, PMS, depression, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders and many other seemingly unrelated health problems have been attributed to yeast overgrowth. And evidence-based results show that treating the yeast overgrowth often alleviates these symptoms.

It makes sense that women (and their partners) want to avoid unplanned pregnancies. And birth control pills have provided an easy – but not safe – way to accomplish this goal. There are numerous safe and effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies. One of which being the male condom that has a 98 percent effectiveness rate when used correctly, which is nearly as effective as the birth control pills. However, be sure to purchase lubricated condoms or use water-based lubricants like K-Y jelly or spermicidal creams to increase your protection. Many couples are unaware that lubricants like petroleum jelly actually cause the latex in the condoms to break down and increase the risk of pregnancy (an added bonus of condoms is that they help protect against sexually transmitted diseases/infections). Another option is diaphragms, which must be fitted by a doctor, are thin soft rubber mounted on a ring. When inserted into the upper part of the vagina to cover the cervix, they act as a barrier to sperm. If used correctly with spermicidal jellies, they are 92 to 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. There is also the cervical cap, and this form of birth control has been available in the U.S. for decades. The heavy rubber cap fits tightly against the cervix and can be left in place for 48 hours. Like the diaphragm, a doctor must fit the cap. Proper fitting enhances the effectiveness above 91 percent. There is also the withdrawal option where a man withdraws before he ejaculates. This doesn’t always work because even before ejaculation, small amounts of semen that can contain sperm and can be released into the women, so this method is only 60 to 80 percent successful at preventing pregnancy. Another option is the calendar method which is abstinence from sex during the week the woman is ovulating. This technique works best when a woman’s menstrual cycle is very regular. The calendar method doesn’t work very well for couples who use it by itself (about a 75 percent success rate), but it can be effective when combined with the temperature and mucus methods. The temperature method is a way to pinpoint the day of ovulation so that sex can be avoided for a few days before and after. It involves taking the basal body temperature (your temperature upon first waking) each morning with an accurate “basal” thermometer, and noting the rise in temperature that occurs after ovulation. Illness or lack of sleep can change body temperature and make this method unreliable by itself, but when it is combined with the mucus method, it can be an accurate way of assessing fertility. The two methods combined can have a success rate as high as 98 percent. The mucus method involves tracking changes in the amount and texture of vaginal discharge, which reflect rising levels of estrogen in the body. For the first few days after your period, there is often no discharge, but there will be a cloudy, tacky mucus as estrogen starts to rise. When the discharge starts to increase in volume and becomes clear and stringy, ovulation is near. A return to the tacky, cloudy mucus or no discharge means that ovulation has passed. And lastly there is the abstinence method, and this method by itself is 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.

So although birth control pills are amazingly effective and highly convenient, there is simply no way you or the one you love should be using this dangerous form of birth control. There are clear risks that will negatively affect the health of the woman using them. Many studies indicate that women who take birth control pills increase their risk of cervical and breast cancers. The most important thing to remember about hormonal birth control methods such as the pill is that they are synthetic hormones. And it isn’t healthy for anyone to be exposed to them. In fact, their long-term use will absolutely increase a woman’s risk of developing serious chronic illness. In addition to increasing health risks as dangerous as cancer and blood clots, like I mentioned earlier -birth control pills also deplete important nutrients. The use of birth control pills or synthetic hormones is actually rarely justified. If you’re using birth control pills to control menstrual cycles, irregular bleeding, cysts or endometriosis, you are not treating the underlying dysfunction. Instead, you are simply increasing the risks to damage your health. It is essential to balance the adrenal glands in these situations, as cortisol levels modulate and control the female hormones, especially progesterone. The pill only treats the symptoms instead of the disease, and the worst part is that they cause their own side effects as your body continues to remain in an unhealthy state.

More info on birth control here, and here.




2 responses

25 04 2011
Helen Craighead

You’re article was very interesting. I stopped taking birth control three months ago because of weight gain, moodiness, and depression. After reading this article today I was in shock. I’m so glad that I read your article, thank you for sharing.

21 09 2011
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