The Pill: Is it for you?

Most women can appreciate that their menstrual cycle is not the cycle of their dreams, and could use some assistance in being more balanced. Apparently the most tumultuous times of a women’s life are generally when our hormones are ramping up in order for us to reproduce at puberty and decreasing at menopause, but truly… very few women experience bliss in the years between!

As women we are all supposed to feel lucky that we have the ability to conceive a child. Most of us do, however there is always a time and place where we feel ready for that responsibility. The birth control pill has allowed women to have more personal control and choice over when parenthood occurs as well as having intimate relationships in a more harmonious fashion.

In theory…

If our hormones behaved as they are supposed to, then the pill would be a wonderful thing. In fact, if you are a women who experiences imbalances in her hormone cycle then it really can be a blessing as giving controlled hormone can instill the proper rhythm to estrogen and progesterone phases of the cycle (which can often have their own mind or are not released or supported properly by brain hormone centres like hypothalamus and pituitary or coordination from the adrenal glands, ovaries and uterus). Additionally, the possibility of pregnancy when taking the birth control properly is quite small and it is more convenient compared with many pregnancy interventions.

The reality…

As with most interventions, it depends on the woman, their body, their circumstances, and some genetic factors also whether the birth control pill is right for you. Some negative outcomes to excessive use of the birth control pill are not only higher risk of serious cardiovascular episodes such as blood clots (also known as deep vein thrombosis) and increased expression of certain estrogen-related cancers, but some women experience adverse side effects like weight gain, vaginal yeast infections, increased emotionality and susceptibility to depression (crying or anger outbursts) which seriously impact quality of life.

Environmental impact…

With so many women using the birth control pill for contraception, we are finding increased levels of estrogen in the water in general. There is some preliminary research to suggest that not only humans are being affected by increased estrogen with higher cancer risks including some risks , but also our food chain.

The Verdict?

Ultimately, it is your decision what is right for you and your body. Recently I participated in an article in YYZ magazine, The Little Pill’s Small Print, in which a good review of the current standings were discussed by a number of professionals. We all acknowledge there are risks, and we know that they are not always good ones to take. Alexandra Pope and Jane Bennett are authors of this debate in the book The Pill: Are you sure it’s for you?  Ultimately, it will be your decision. Get informed, ask your doctor, and read up on the literature.

If you have decided to take the birth control pill to regulate your hormones and not for birth control, you should know that herbal medicine can be very effective to regulate hormones as well as dietary interventions and acupuncture. Additionally, there are many ways to prevent pregnancy in addition to the birth control pill.

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