When it comes to The Oral Contraceptive Pill (the pill), whether it’s being used as a contraception or to stop a current symptom, it’s important to know all aspects of what it does.
Having been on The Pill many years ago myself, I do know that it’s convenient, you can plan for life a bit better and periods are often lighter.
Looking back when I went on the pill, I put on weight, and didn’t feel like “myself”, but somehow I just settled into this new way because it was just what everyone else did as a teenager.
In my last year of studying naturopathy, I decided to come off the pill. To my surprise, I didn’t get a period for 9 months! If I knew then what I know now, I may have chosen a different path, so I’d like to share with you some other facts about the pill – not so that you come off it, but so that you are armed with more information and understand what is happening in your more in your body.
Here are 5 things you may not know about The Pill.
1). When you bleed on the pill, it is called a Pill Bleed. This is because the pill can shut down your hormones and stop you from ovulating. The synthetic hormones take over and this is what causes the “bleed”. Lara Briden calls it “Chemical Castration” for women because of the cessation of ovulation. Yes, intense words, but something that made me sit up and listen!
2). The Pill does not balance your hormones. I originally went on the pill because I wasn’t getting my period at 18 years of age. I remember asking the doctor, “why would I take the pill because it’s not my real hormones?”. While it can be dangerous to go without a bleed for an extended period of time, I still remember he looked at me with a curious mind and then said “well that’s the only option”.
If I knew then what I know now, it isn’t the only option. Herbal and Nutritional Medicine can help to rebalance hormones. This may be why I love helping women so much with getting their own natural hormones back on track!
3). The Pill can cause hair loss in some women
Some of the pills are known to have a “high androgen index”, this means that the progestin (similar to progesterone) is made from testosterone. Pills that have a high androgen index can affect the hair follicle in some women and they can lose their hair. This can also have a rebound effect when they come off the pill but with naturopathic support through this period (no pun intended!), it may lessen these side effects.
4). The Pill can change your gut flora
The change in hormones from “real” hormones to “false” hormones has an impact on your gut flora, this can lead to bad gut flora taking over from the good gut flora. Women who are prone to candida albicans, are more likely to experience such symptoms. If you’ve done everything for your Candida and nothing is working, it might be time to find a new contraception.
5). Clinical experience shows that the pill can cause polycystic ovaries
While there may be few studies on the pill causing post-pill polycystic ovaries, I see it time and time again in clinical practise. Indeed this is what I experienced myself. Before I went on the pill, I had an ultrasound to determine that there were no abnormalities. When I came off it, an ultrasound revealed that I indeed had polycystic ovaries. I’m pleased to say that with using natural medicine and lifestyle changes, I no longer suffer from this condition, but it was very debilitating at the time. I experienced very heavy, painful periods that were not regular at all. It’s just something to be aware of, especially if you are planning to come off the pill to fall pregnant, because, yes, some women fall pregnant straight away when they come off the pill, but for others, especially when polycystic ovaries come into play, it can take a while for ovulation and cycles to get back into balance.
So if you are thinking of going on the pill, or you are already on it, this information is for helping you to make an informed choice. Only you can make the right one and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
If you are wanting to come off the pill, perhaps see a naturopath to support you through the process. It may lessen some of the post-pill symptoms and have you feeling back to normal in no time!
Andrea Strand, Naturopath has been practising Natural Medicine for over 12 years. She has a special love for helping women with hormonal imbalances. Ask to book a free 10 minute phone chat with Andrea today!