Birth control has been used for decades in the prevention of pregnancy by tricking the body’s natural hormone balance. Over the past few years it is also being used for off-label uses to help with irregular menstrual cycles, cramping, and acne. What was once a prescription for just a couple of years is now being taken for many more. Just think, if a 15-year-old complains of cramping and is placed on birth control, then waits to have children until 27 – that is 12 years of unbalanced hormones. This has been seen linked to the following health issues.
Birth control decreases minerals such as zinc and selenium as well as the amino acid tyrosine. What do these three have in common? They help your body produce thyroid hormones T4 and T3. Without them, you can’t make or convert the hormones produced by the Thyroid leading to Hypothyroidism. It will also increase something called Thyroid Binding Globulin which binds to Thyroid hormones so they can’t be used by the body, further leading to hypothyroidism.
Birth control use due to cramping leads to estrogen dominance or an abundance of estrogen. If a woman has heavy bleeding, it means that her body is not getting rid of estrogen very efficiently through the digestive tract. When a woman is not menstruating, she needs to be breaking down estrogen in the liver and digestive tract where it is then gotten rid of through the stool. Constipation is often a complaint of women on birth control due to the lack of thyroid hormone being produced which slows down digestion in the gut. With this extra estrogen in play, dopamine is kept around longer in the brain then it should be, which can lead to anxiety.
Did you know that birth control causes changes in the gut flora? An overgrowth of yeast is often found in females who have frequent UTI’s. This change in the natural flora in the gut can lead to allergies, brain fog, gas, and bloating – just to name just a few. When you mess with the gut you are going to have to deal with the aftermath later.
Feeling run down? Low iron levels? Have you been diagnosed with depression? These are all linked to Vitamin deficiencies of B6, Folate, and B12. Birth control decreases each of these. Besides the above issues, if and when a females gets pregnant, she runs the risk of birth defects due to the lack of these Vitamins, especially Folate. If you have a genetic variant called MTHFR, then you have a hard time turning Folate in the active form called Methylfolate. Due to this issue, it is essential that anyone on birth control be on methyl folate.
Lastly, birth control has been shown to decrease muscle mass due to the estrogen dominance effect. When you have too much estrogen, you can’t make testosterone or DHEA which is needed for muscle mass, energy, and libido. If you have been trying to get in shape but can’t seem to be building any muscle, then it would be a good idea to look at the possibility of birth control as a roadblock.
If there is any way you can use more natural methods of prevention please consider it. Also if you are dealing with any of the above issues don’t just cover it up with birth control as this will only lead to a much larger problem. Give our office a call and we can help.
-Dr. Brian Opp, Chiropractor