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Can The Pill Treat Hormone Imbalances?

Are you one of the MANY women who struggle with horrible PMS, acne, irregular cycles, heavy menstrual bleeding, or intense mood swings? You're not alone. It's more common than not with women in today's society.

So what do the majority of us women do?

We see our doctor, and they put us on birth control pills.

The pills fix all our problems, right? They make our periods normal, help with acne, and even fix our heavy menstrual bleeding. Not so fast.

While the pill has been thought of as this cure-all magic option, many women are left in the dark about the real consequences of the pill.

As a naturopathic doctor, I feel I need to inform all the ladies out there about the side effects of the birth control pill so you can make an educated decision yourself.

Your Hormones and the Pill

Let's clear up some misinformation first and foremost. Can the pill treat hormone imbalances? The simple answer is no. The pill doesn't "fix" your hormone imbalances. It suppresses the signals from your brain to your ovaries. Instead, the pill keeps your hormones at a steady-state, inhibiting the natural dynamic fluctuation of them.

The pill, which just suppresses your natural hormones, may create a quick fix to your hormonal issues. This quick fix, however, has some unintended consequences. Not to mention that when you come off of birth control, those hormonal issues can come back because the pill doesn't actually get to the root problem- it just covers it up.

Beware of the Pill's Side Effects

Damages Gut Health

Hormonal birth control can do some damage to your gut health! Since your gut plays a role in hormone production and regulation, the pill can actually make hormone imbalances even worse! The pill can lead to leaky gut, promote the bad bacteria to flourish (imbalance microbiome), and can even contribute to autoimmune diseases (stemming from the gut).

Blood Clots, Stroke, and Heart Attacks

Some of the more severe side effects of the pill are blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. If you are over 35 years of age, you should be highly concerned about your risks of clots. But even if you are under 35, the pill still increases your chances. There have been women in their early 20s who have experienced blood clots from being on birth control.

Nutrient Deficiencies

The pill can significantly deplete your body of vital nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, and critical antioxidants. This can impact your body's organs and processes. For example, your detox pathways need these vitamins and minerals for optimal functioning.

Anxiety and Depression

Many women decide to get off of the pill because of depression and anxiety effects. Some women who have been on the pill since middle school honestly don't know their body any better. It's not until they come off of the pill to get pregnant that they realize how different and alive they feel when off of the pill.

Thyroid and Adrenal Diseases

When you are on the pill, your body doesn't respond to stress like everyone else. Usually, when we experience stress, our cortisol levels rise to help us cope. However, when you take the pill, your cortisol stays the same, even though you may feel stressed out. This causes your body to not be able to deal with stress. So while high stress levels are bad... a reduced stress response can be even worse.

Being on the pill can interfere with your HPA axis, which wreaks havoc on your body. If your HPA-axis isn't working properly, it can mess up your adrenal function, thyroid levels and have a domino effect on all your other hormones.

The scary thing about this is that even when you come off of birth control, these effects can still remain. So once again, the pill doesn't balance hormones; it does quite the opposite actually.

Alternatives to the Pill

If you are on the pill because of hormonal issues like intense PMS, headaches, heavy menstruation, or ance, please know there are solutions other than the pill.

If you truly want to fix your hormonal imbalances, you have to get to the root issue. How do you address the root cause of hormonal imbalances? Testing and analysis and changing lifestyle behaviors.

You'll first want to know which hormones are the ones causing problems. From there, we can create an individualized plan that focuses on balancing them out.

Your plan may include aspects related to:

  • Diet Changes

  • Stress Management

  • Addressing Environmental Toxin Exposure

  • Underlying Health Conditions Needing To Be Addressed

Diet Changes

The standard American diet (SAD) consists of conventionally raised animal products, processed foods, and high sugar intake. These can all contribute to your hormones getting out of whack. To balance out your hormones, you'll want to eat whole organic foods, cruciferous vegetables, and animal products produced from pasture-raised, grass-fed animals. This way, you will avoid any added antibiotics or hormones (found in many conventionally raised meats and fast food ingredients.)

Stress Management

Living in a constant state of stress can impact your hormones. Chronic stress can damage your HPA-axis. This causes interference with your cortisol and thyroid levels, which can then impact your sex hormones. Avoid stressful situations as much as you can and try stress-relieving practices like breathing, meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, or just talking to a trusted friend.

Environmental Toxin Exposures

Toxins are a BIG factor that can wreck your hormones. These toxic chemicals can inhibit or block your natural hormones from their normal processes or can even mimic your natural hormones, causing an imbalance. This is one reason for estrogen dominance, where toxins mimic estrogen, causing elevated levels.

These toxins hide in your everyday items like hair products, cleaning supplies, makeup, and even water sources. Swap out those old products with toxin-free alternatives. Don't let an "all-natural" product label fool you, though. Take a look at the ingredients yourself. If you don't know what a chemical is, it's a good sign that you shouldn't buy it.

Make An Appointment with a Naturopathic Hormone Specialist

If you think the pill is the best or even only option for your hormonal issues, think again! The way to treat hormonal imbalances isn't to cover them up with a medication that suppresses your natural functioning!

Dr. Jillian Smithers is a naturopathic doctor in Tempe, Arizona, that addresses the underlying causes of your hormone imbalances. Dr. Smithers specializes in hormone health and is currently accepting new patients. Make an appointment with her today to optimize your hormones, so you don't have to depend on the pill any longer.

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