Birth Control Pills and Your Future Health

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/22/2024

When it comes to Birth Control Pills Side Effects, there's a lot more than meets the eye. These pills, primarily used for preventing pregnancy and regulating menstrual cycles, can have far-reaching impacts on women's health.

Estrogen, the primary component of these contraceptives, has been linked to severe ailments such as cancer, fibroids, and endometriosis.

Furthermore, environmental estrogens from sources like pesticides and chemicals in our food supply may exacerbate these risks.

Apart from physical health concerns, hormonal imbalances caused by birth control pills often lead to emotional disturbances, too. This makes understanding Birth Control Pills Side Effects essential for every woman using or considering this form of contraception.

In the following sections, we'll take a deep dive into the long-term effects of birth control pills and explore safer alternatives along with natural remedies that help maintain hormonal balance.

Unraveling the Long-Term Effects of Birth Control Pills

Beneath the surface of their everyday use, birth control pills may present long-term side effects due to elevated levels of estrogen.

A key component contributing to these issues is estrogen, a hormone integral to the functioning of birth control pills but capable of causing severe health problems when in excess.

The Role of Estrogen in Birth Control Pills

In most types of combination pills, you'll find two primary hormones: estrogen and progestin. Working together, they inhibit ovulation, thereby reducing chances for conception significantly.

An abundance of estrogen from active pill packs can lead to several adverse side effects, such as weight gain, yeast infections, acne flare-ups, or even cysts developing within ovaries or breasts.

Moreover, environmental estrogens - chemicals mimicking natural ones found ubiquitously across our food supply chain, pesticides included - could potentially worsen this scenario by adding more synthetic versions into our bodies, further upsetting the delicate hormonal balance.

Prolonged contact with elevated amounts may also raise the likelihood of specific cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer.

Additionally, conditions like fibroids (benign growths in the uterus) and endometriosis (abnormal tissue growth outside the uterus) have been linked with imbalances caused by too much estrogen compared to progesterone.

The Domino Effect: From Hysterectomies to Hormonal Imbalances

Hysterectomy surgeries are sometimes performed to address complications arising from conditions like fibroids and endometriosis, both of which we've earlier discussed being triggered by excessive amounts of circulating estrogen.

However, while it might seem like a solution at first glance, unfortunately, the procedure comes with its own set of problems, notably post-surgery hormonal imbalance leading to overactive adrenal glands and low thyroid function, among others.

Adrenal Gland Overactivity Post-Hysterectomy

A woman's body responds differently after undergoing hysterectomy, wherein organs responsible for producing female sex hormones get removed. This change can trigger overactivity within her adrenal glands to compensate for the lost production elsewhere.

Symptoms related to this include chronic fatigue, stress,

The Domino Effect: From Hysterectomies to Hormonal Imbalances

It's essential to understand the potential side effects of birth control pills, which can lead to conditions like fibroids and endometriosis. These conditions can often cause a chain reaction, which may disrupt hormone levels.

Adrenal Gland Overactivity Post-Hysterectomy

The adrenal glands are critical players in our health landscape. They produce hormones for metabolic regulation, immune system response management, blood pressure stability, and stress level balance.

However, after undergoing a hysterectomy procedure due to complications from birth control pill use or other factors such as heavy periods or premenstrual syndrome (PMS), these crucial glands may become overactive.

This condition is medically referred to as hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing's syndrome.

Symptoms include weight gain around the abdomen and upper back; thinning skin prone to easy bruising; red stretch marks on thighs, breasts, and arms; fatigue; muscle weakness; plus mood disorders, including depression or anxiety, among others.

To diagnose this condition, doctors typically perform physical exams followed by laboratory tests measuring cortisol levels within your body and imaging tests if necessary.

If diagnosed, treatment options range from medications designed to reduce cortisol production through surgery when required.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Low Thyroid Issues After Hysterectomy

Hypothyroidism is another common issue women face post-hysterectomy, which occurs due to low thyroid hormone production affecting their menstrual cycle, amongst other functions.

It plays an integral role in regulating metabolic rate; hence, its deficiency could manifest symptoms such as fatigue, increased sensitivity towards cold temperatures, constipation, dry skin, unexplained weight gain, etc.

Suppose you think you may have hypothyroidism after your hysterectomy. In that case, it's recommended to see a healthcare provider who will request blood tests to check your TSH (thyrotropin stimulating hormone) and thyroxine (T4) levels.

Once diagnosed, treatment typically involves taking synthetic thyroid hormones, which effectively restore proper hormone levels and alleviate symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. 

Natural Remedies for Regulating Excess Estrogen

While birth control pills are effective in preventing pregnancy and regulating menstrual cycles, they can sometimes lead to an excess of estrogen. This hormonal imbalance could trigger a range of health issues.

Luckily, nature offers remedies that may help manage these levels.

Sea Kelp: A Natural Aid for Hormonal Balance

A gift from the oceanic world is sea kelp - richly packed with iodine, which plays a pivotal role in hormone regulation within our bodies. The thyroid gland relies on iodine to produce hormones for crucial bodily functions like metabolism and growth.

Research conducted by NIH (National Institutes of Health) suggests that sufficient intake of iodine contributes towards maintaining healthy thyroid function, thus supporting overall hormonal balance including managing estrogen levels.

Including sea kelp in your diet doesn't have to be challenging; it's available as raw or cooked food items or even convenient supplements if you prefer ease over culinary exploration.

The Role Cruciferous Foods Play In Lowering Excess Estrogen Levels

Moving onto land-based plant life, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage provide another natural approach to handling excessive estrogen levels.

These nutrient-dense veggies come loaded with vitamins C, K, E, and folate and fiber content, making them suitable and a great addition to any proper diet.

Beyond their impressive nutritional profile lies the unique ability to lower high levels of estrogens due to compounds called glucosinolates present in them.

When digested, the glucosinolates break down indoles and isothiocyanates, known for their anti-cancer properties and, more importantly, helping reduce excessive estrogen, according to research published in PubMed Central.

Easily incorporate these versatile veggies into meals through salads, stir-fries, soups, or steamed. Include at least 1-2 servings daily to reap the benefits.

Blister packs of different medications

Alternatives to Birth Control Pills

The world of birth control is not limited to the pill. Many alternatives exist, offering variety in convenience, cost-effectiveness, and safety profile.

These range from barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms to fertility awareness techniques, including modern tools such as the Lady Q-Stick saliva analysis tool.

Condoms & Diaphragms - Barrier Methods Beyond The Pill

If used correctly every time you have sex, male condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Male condoms offer both contraception and STI prevention, making them a unique choice for those seeking protection against pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections.

This dual-purpose feature sets them apart as one of the few birth control methods that cater to both contraception and STI prevention.

Akin but slightly different are diaphragms; their effectiveness stands around 88%.

While these do not offer any defense against STIs like male condoms, they can be inserted hours before intercourse, making them more convenient for some users compared to other active pills or traditional 28-day packs commonly found in most hormonal contraceptives.

However, just like all barrier-based contraceptive options, consistent and correct use each time sexual activity occurs is crucial to maintaining high efficacy rates.

Otherwise, the chances of unintended pregnancies may significantly increase, especially for those with irregular menstrual cycles who might find timing usage challenging.

Fertility Awareness Methods - Harnessing Natural Cycles For Contraception

Moving away from physical barriers toward understanding your body's natural rhythms, we come across another alternative:

Fertility awareness-based methods (FAM). At the heart of this approach lies the simple concept: By tracking the menstrual cycle closely enough to identify days when ovulation is likely to occur,

Couples can avoid unprotected intercourse during the fertile period, thereby reducing the chance of conception without the need for synthetic hormones often associated with common side effects ranging from mild nausea to severe mood swings seen in regular pill users,

particularly combination pills containing estrogen and progestin components.

These side effects could potentially exacerbate pre-existing conditions in specific individuals. Therefore, many people prefer non-hormonal methods despite the higher rate of failure, ranging from 12% to 24%, as reported by CDC data.

Gallbladder and Birth Control Pills

The relationship between gallbladder health and external factors, like the use of birth control pills, has garnered attention, particularly to the potential formation of sludge in the gallbladder.

Some discussions have arisen around the impact of birth control pills on gallbladder function.

While ongoing research aims to shed light on this topic, it's essential to approach decisions about birth control and health with a comprehensive understanding.

Consulting healthcare professionals and making informed choices contribute to maintaining overall gallbladder health and well-being.

Conclusion

Realizing the enduring impacts of oral contraceptives is indispensable for a female's well-being.

Estrogen, a key component of birth control pills, can cause various medical issues such as cancer, fibroids, and endometriosis that may necessitate hysterectomies with potential side effects like adrenal gland overactivity and low thyroid problems.

Hysterectomies are often performed due to these issues and can trigger other complications like adrenal gland overactivity and low thyroid problems.

Natural remedies like sea kelp and cruciferous foods potentially aid in regulating excess estrogen levels, providing a healthier balance within our bodies.

Exploring alternatives to birth control pills, such as condoms, diaphragms, or fertility awareness methods, could also be beneficial.

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