5 Truths about Birth Control All Women Should Know
Birth control is a complicated topic to talk about for many reasons.
For one, birth control is credited for giving women control over our bodies by empowering us to choose if and when we wish to have children. Well kinda, if you overlook the fertility challenges birth control contributes to. And two, from an advertisement standpoint birth control is perfectly positioned in the market because it's glorified for giving women continuous protection from pregnancy -- especially if a woman's goal is to not get pregnant.
But in light of the obvious reason to take birth control (to prevent pregnancy), its reported that 60 percent of women use birth control for noncontraceptive reasons. This includes for reasons such as a painful or irregular period, heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cyst, PCOS, and even hormonal acne and unwanted hair growth.
That's 6 out of 10 women being prescribed birth control for some “quick-fix” solution their reproductive issues, with little to no investigation into ROOT cause. And, to make matters worse, most women have no idea what these birth control drugs are doing to their body and how it's effecting their health. This includes the pill, the patch, the ring, the implant, the IUD, and the shot.
To continue raising awareness in this article I'll speak about five ways birth control impacts women's body. Now, let's jump in.
1. Hormonal birth control is responsible for nutrient deficiencies
Hormonal birth control puts women at a much higher risk of developing many nutrient defiencies. Some of the nutrients and minerals birth control has proven to deplete are folate (B9), vitamin B6 and B12, zinc, selenium, phosorous, magnesium and coenzyme 10. Not only does birth control disrupts women's nutrient stores, but they also disrupt the delicate balance of minerals in the body.
And as if these nutrient depletions weren't already enough, a woman's nutritional requirements for vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E increases significantly when taking birth control.
2. Hormonal birth control can contribute to the development of cancer
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified certain forms of birth control as group one carcinogens due to a clear link between hormonal birth control and cancers.
Long-term use of hormonal birth control is very much associated with an increased risk of women developing cancer, whether cervical, ovarian, breast, lung or liver cancer. Part of the reason a woman's body becomes less able to protect itself is due to the many nutrient deficiencies I just spoke about.
The more a woman uses birth control, the more proficient these deficiency becomes. And let me tell you, your vitamin and mineral levels are inextricably linked to the health of your cervix, ovaries, breast, lungs and liver.
3. Hormonal birth control promotes a thin endometrium lining
Since most hormonal birth control prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation, a woman's endometrial lining never gets the chance to fully develop because the hormones responsible for building the uterine lining is suppressed -- the result is a very thin, flat endometrium.
Estrogen supports the rapid growth of the endometrium prior to ovulation and progesterone supports endometrial thickening and maturation after ovulation. So because hormonal birth control contributes to the imbalance of this natural hormone flow this process is interrupted.
Without a sufficiently thick and juicy endometrial lining women are much less likely to get pregnant. Pregnancy can only happen when a woman's endometrial lining has fully developed. This is how birth control interferes with a woman's ability to conceive.
In a study designed to measure how endometrial thickness impacts conception rates, the researchers found that women with endometrial thickness of less than 7mm were unble to conceive. Other studies have shown that an endometrial lining of 10mm or thicker is optimal for achieving pregnancy.
4. Hormonal birth control cause anxiety and depression
Women on birth control are 23 to 80 percent more likely to be prescribed antidepressant. The use of hormonal birth control has been linked to an increased risk of women developing anxiety and depression in women. Yes, birth control can and often will interfere with a woman's ability to respond appropiately to stress.
The sad truth is that teenage girls, in particular, are more vulnerable. One study found that adolescent girls ages 15 to 19 were 2 to 3 times more likely to be on antidepressants while on hormonal birth control compared to non-users. The reason why is because they impair your body's ability to metabolize tryptophin normally by depleting vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 and tryptophin (an essential amino acid) are both responsible for serotonin production - a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being.
5. Hormonal birth control messes with your libido
There are a few reasons why birth control decrease a woman's sex drive and libido; the main one being the way it affects testerone levels. Although women produce 90 percent less testerone than men we depend on the small amount we produce for healthy sexual reproductive function.
Testerone plays an important role in our sexual desire, interest in sex, lubrication, and sexual gratification. When women experience low testorone levels, we're more likely to experience low libido, vaginal dryness, and a lack of sexual desire.
Hormonal birth control have been shown to lower free testerone by an average of 61 percent in women by suppressing ovarian and adrenal testerone production and increasing sex hormone-binding (SHGB) levels. When SHGB is released in the body it binds to circulating sex hormones in your bloodstream, and when hormones are bound they're not available for your body to use. The result is lower hormone levels, and in this case testerone.
Birth control without-a-doubt causes negative effects in the body of women. Please do your own research! Nutrient deficiencies, cancers, thin uterine lining, mood disorders like anxiety and depression, and low sex drive are all real risk factors of taking birth control.
The bigger issue, as I pointed out earlier in the article, is that more than half the women taking birth control are prescribed the drug for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy. This raises a huge red flag as to how women are being treated by health care professionals.
Birth control is routinely handed out by doctors as the solution to any "woman" problem and to mask having symptoms. All while failing to investigate "why" women are having these symptoms to begin with and investigating root cause.
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Birth control by far remains one of the most overprescribed and unregulated drugs for women, and this has to change!
Love and health, always