Birth Control Pills are often NOT the Solution to Irregular or Painful Menstrual Cycles

Question: do you look forward to your menstrual cycle every month? Or do you dread it and count down the days until the next?

Whether you look forward to it or not, your menstrual cycle is a key sign of health and vitality. Irregular or painful periods can indicate various things such as:

● Hypothyroidism
● Sex hormone imbalances
● Infections
● Nutrient deficiencies
● Infertility
● + so much more

Many women spend their whole lives feeling that their cycle is ‘normal’ when it’s actually indicative of something deeper going on within the body.

Common signs of an irregular period:

● Menstruation arrives 2+/- days than normal
● No period
● <25 days or >35 days
● Spotting 3-4 days before period
● No clear end to period
● Spotting throughout cycle
● Heavy bleeding (needing to change tampon, pad, or cup more than every few hours)
● Clots present
● Very light bleeding or spotting

This is why I always recommend tracking and keeping note of your cycle and what’s normal for you. There are several apps that can help you do this! By tracking every month you will be able to notice patterns within your monthly cycle, in addition to being aware when someone is amiss.

If you notice any of the above symptoms of an irregular period, in addition to symptoms such as:

● Acne
● Fatigue
● Severe PMS
● Migraines
● Low libido
● Hair loss
● Anxiety/depression

…I highly recommend finding someone to find and address the underlying root causes. More often than not, the traditional approach to addressing irregular and/or painful periods is to prescribe hormonal birth control, often an oral contraceptive.

Birth control does NOT treat the unwanted symptoms… it only masks them. Many women find that as soon as they go off the birth control, their symptoms come roaring back.

Birth control pills only suppress the symptoms of heavy/painful or irregular periods, rather than treating the root cause…here’s HOW:

The developing egg produces estrogen. After the egg is released during ovulation, the shell of the egg produces progesterone.

Estrogen & progesterone are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle—estrogen causes the building of the uterus to build up, and progesterone causes it to thin out. Rinse, lather, repeat.

The synthetic hormones found in oral contraceptives tell the ovaries not to release an egg. Because the ovaries are not producing estrogen & progesterone, the body is forced into a withdrawal bleed so periods can become regular.

Since the ovaries aren’t allowed to produce estrogen, there is a reduction of the uterine lining build up, so periods are less heavy.

Long term effects

Studies have shown risks of using birth control pills (BCPs) for long term. Birth Control Pills may:

● Dramatically decrease testosterone levels, which can lead to low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse.
● Lower levels of several nutrients within the body, including vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9(folate), B12, vitamins C and E, copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
● Increase the risk of blood clots by threefold or greater.
● Increase the risk of breast cancer.

So what do you do to balance unwanted symptoms of hormonal imbalance without the Pill?

The more natural option is to measure the hormones through lab testing to see where the imbalance occurs.

Natural methods of hormone balancing, like supplementation, seed cycling, and other lifestyle factors like diet and exercise can provide relief without having to put young girls who aren’t sexually active on birth control and unnecessarily expose them to higher cancer risk.

While I recommend non-hormonal forms of contraception like the copper intrauterine device (IUD), cervical caps, diaphragms, and condoms, I understand they may not be for everyone.

For those of you who choose to remain on BCPs, I urge you to take note of any symptoms of hormone imbalance and work with a practitioner to address the underlying root causes.

Do you want one-on-one support regulating your cycles without birth control? Schedule here

Dr. Inna lukyanovsky, PharmD

Dr. Inna lukyanovsky, PharmD

Doctor of Pharmacy, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Gut Health Expert and Best Selling Author of the book "Crohn's and Colitis Fix."

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