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  • Dr. Aisha Manji, ND

Evaluating The Pill - Is It Right For You?

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

The birth control pill was popularized in the 1960’s when women didn’t have a lot of power in their relationships or within their work places. It revolutionized women by allowing them to get college degrees and was a factor in increased pay in the workforce.

Recent surveys estimate that 100 million women worldwide use the pill, 11 million of which are in the USA. Most women are not using it for pregnancy prevention, but instead for management of symptoms such as painful or heavy periods, headaches and acne.

However, the pill is only a bandaid approach and does not address the root cause of these symptoms.

Placing someone on the pill for their symptoms has the potential to mask a deeper, more severe disease like PCOS or endometriosis, which is one of the reasons why in many cases, these illnesses can take over a decade to be properly diagnosed. Not only does this mean that specific treatment isn’t implemented early but it can lead to infertility when women are finally ready to get off the pill. It can often take 6-18 months for ovulation to resume after going off the pill. If a woman is in her late 30’s by the time she is ready to get pregnant, combined with lowered egg quality due to ageing, we can see an increased risk for infertility and miscarriages.

The mechanism of action of the pill is not well understood but one thing that might be surprising to know is that it acts at the level of the brain and stops your brain from talking to your ovaries, thereby shutting them down and preventing ovulation.

The bleed that is experienced on the pill is not a period, it’s a withdrawal bleed due to having a break from the medication.

The pill can be implemented in a variety of issues, some of which your health care provider is not fully informing you about. These include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies – B6, B12, folic acid, magnesium, selenium, zinc, vit C, vit A, CoQ10

  • Low lying depression, personality changes, anxiety

  • Low libido

  • Recurrent UTI’s and yeast infections

  • Decreases thyroid function

  • Reduced bone density

  • Hair loss

  • Weight gain

  • Increased inflammatory pathways

  • Metabolic issues – PCOS, insulin dysregulation

  • High blood pressureHigh cholesterol

  • Blood clot risk causing strokes or deadly heart attacks

It may be surprising to hear that the Millennial and Gen Z population are rejecting the pill more than any other generation previously.

Now that women are in better positions in society, they also feel empowered to take control over their health and what they put in their bodies.

There are alternatives to taking the pill to decrease your risk of pregnancy during the times when you are not looking to get pregnant.

These include fertility awareness, condoms, and withdrawal when combined with methods for ovulation tracking. Fertility awareness is something all women should be doing. Start by tracking your menstrual cycle using an app, the symptoms you experience throughout your entire cycle as well as basal body temperature, to determine your fertile window. Get to know your body at a deeper level and empower yourself to make decisions that are best for your body.

What can women do to transition off the pill?

When you stop taking the pill, it’s likely your body will return to its pre-pill state and you can be greeted by the same symptoms that led you to taking the pill in the first place as well as some unexpected ones. You may experience amenorrhea, acne, infertility as well as PCOS.

Naturopathic Medicine is incredibly valuable at helping you transition off the pill.

I recommend supplementing with methylated B vitamins and zinc 4 weeks prior to discontinuing the pill. Depending on your overall health picture, you may also need specific support for your adrenal glands, thyroid, testosterone production, immune health, insulin resistance and heart health.

If you are looking to go off the pill and are concerned that symptoms, like acne, will return, please know that there is so much that can be done to minimize or prevent these symptoms from reappearing.

If you’d like to more about how my protocols can help you get off the pill, book a 15 minute complimentary Discovery Call with me to see if we’re in alignment.

Disclaimer: All content in this blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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