According to Statistica, about 65% of women in the United States are currently using a form of contraception. While there are several forms of contraception, the birth control pill is the most commonly used among women between the ages of 20-29 years old. Unfortunately, many women who are on the pill do not have a full understanding of how it is affecting their bodies.
If you are on the birth control pill, we at Community Pregnancy Clinics believe you deserve better. Our pregnancy resource center wants to provide you with factual information about your reproductive system and contraception methods, so you can make informed decisions about your sexual health.
Women’s Reproductive Health
A woman’s reproductive system is regulated by hormones, two of the instrumental reproductive hormones being estrogen and progesterone. Throughout the course of each month, the levels of a woman’s reproductive hormones fluctuate depending on what phase she is in of her cycle.
Every month, a woman’s uterine lining builds up as her estrogen increases and her body physically prepares for pregnancy. If she does not achieve pregnancy, her estrogen will decrease, her uterine lining will shed (resulting in a period), and her progesterone will increase.
The natural patterns of women’s hormones which create a healthy reproductive system are incredible! But sadly, the birth control pill completely shuts down these natural hormonal patterns. We find this frustrating as medication is supposed to help our bodies function properly, not halt their natural functionings!
Impact on Women’s Reproductive Health
When a woman is on the pill, she is being given constant low levels of synthetic progesterone (progestin) and estrogen. These low levels of hormones send negative feedback to her brain to stop the stimulation of FSH (a hormone that triggers the development of an egg in the ovary). As a result:
- Her estrogen does not rise
- She does not ovulate
- Her progesterone does not rise
- Her uterine lining thins
- She does not have a healthy period
The “period” that a woman has when on the pill is not true menstruation. Rather, it is a withdrawal bleed resulting from a timed withdrawal of hormones.
Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill
If you are on the birth control pill or have taken the abortion pill, you deserve to know how these pills are affecting your body. The most commonly known side effects of the birth control pill are headaches, nausea, sore breasts, changes in your period, and spotting. However, there are some gravely serious side effects of the pill which many women are not aware of. Some include:
- Increased risk of cancer (breast and cervical)
- Blood clotting
- High blood pressure
- Low bone density
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
Healthier Ways to Manage Your Reproductive Health
Thankfully, there are other ways besides the birth control pill to manage your reproductive health and achieve hormonal balance (without any side effects!). FEMM is a knowledge and reproductive based health program which teaches women the link between their health and hormones. If you are experiencing issues such as heavy cramps, painful periods, acne, or PCOs, or want to gain a better understanding of your body, we encourage you to contact a FEMM instructor or doctor.
If you are on the pill, we encourage you to get to the root of the issue your body may be experiencing. Know that your body is worthy of the best care, and it does not deserve this band aid solution that causes more harm than good.