With 4 out of every 5 sexually experienced American women having used the pill at some point in their lives, it is one of the widest reaching health discussions in today’s society. Having been viewed as one of the safest and most reliable options available to women for a long time, experts are now beginning to question how much women actually know about the pills that they are including in their daily routine!
Dr. Sara Gottfried is a Harvard-trained MD with over 20 years of experience as a practicing gynecologist, and the award-winning author of ‘The Hormone Cure’ and ‘The Hormone Reset Diet.’ After working in the field and experiencing the impact of birth control on women first hand she began to dig further into what these pills may be doing to our bodies, and the results were shocking. She has now made it her mission to share this information and educate women on the lies that the pharmaceutical industry has been hiding.
Gottfried points at the concern of hormonal imbalances, and how these pills disturb the natural hormonal balance in the body. When asked about her concerns regarding the use of birth controls, she said:
“I wish more women were forewarned and received full informed consent before picking up their monthly packets at the pharmacy. I would even call oral contraceptives the biggest hormone problem for women, and yet it’s iatrogenic – prescribed by clinicians and considered by most to be relatively risk-free, at least that’s what the pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe. They say BCPs are safer than being pregnant, but that’s not the right comparison when it comes to a woman’s quality of life, mood, confidence, agency, libido, and lubrication.”
An industry once focused on the development and scientific innovations of contraceptives for women has now shifted its focus, as described in a study by Elizabeth Siegel, Ph.D. Her analysis, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2012, revealed that the industry is now allowing marketing decisions to become the key decision maker for how contraceptive products are being positioned in our society. She wrote,
“Although birth control has been pitched in the United States as an individual solution, rather than a public health strategy, the purpose of oral contraceptives was understood by manufacturers, physicians, and consumers to be the prevention of pregnancy, a basic health care need for women. Since 1990, the content of that message has changed, reflecting a shift in the drug industry’s view of the contraception business.”
Knowing that the pharmaceutical industry is viewing contraceptives through their marketing glasses, focusing on the dollars and cents of the industry instead of the science and medicine itself, it is no wonder that they are not forthright with the many concerns that these pills carry.
Here are 12 facts that all women should know about hormonal birth control:
- Each contraceptive pill carries its own balance of hormones; however, most birth control pills work by overwhelming the natural estrogen levels in a woman’s body with testosterone. Even more concerning than the imbalance while taking the pill is that many experts are now saying your hormone levels may take decades before returning to normal!
- Birth control pills have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancers.
- A number of birth controls containing drospirenone, a synthetic version of progestin, have been found to significantly worsen PMS symptoms.
- Many brands of birth control pill use lactose as an inactive filler. With the high presence of lactose intolerance in the American population, this will have a negative impact on a large portion of the female population.
- While experts aren’t clear on how exactly BCP’s impact the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, it has been found to lower the absorption rate of vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9 (folate), B12, C and E as well as copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
- Birth controls have been connected with an increased risk of osteoporosis, thinning the bones of those who take them.
- High hormone levels in birth control pills increase the activity of Thyroxine Binding Globulin (TBG) in the body which lowers the levels of thyroid hormones available for use in the body.
- Birth control pills have been found to increase fluid retention in the body, leaving you feeling bloated and heavier than you were prior to taking the pill.
- Many hormonal birth controls will significantly increase the testosterone levels in the body. High testosterone levels have been connected with lowered sex drives, painful intercourse, and vaginal dryness. Studies have found that this problem may be impacting as many as 40% of women, however, it is a discussion that has been considered taboo, causing many to face these symptoms in silence.
- A number of birth control pill variations have been found to increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis and blood clots.
- Due to the long-term impact on the body’s hormone levels, birth control pills have been found to carry a risk for a woman’s ability to conceive long after they stop taking the pills.
- Despite the fact this is rarely made known to those who rely on birth control pills, it has been long known in the scientific community that both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have been found to be more common among women who are currently using oral contraceptives.