I often hear from women that their cycles have been disrupted from the use of birth control containing synthetic hormones. If we could educate ourselves and understand what they are doing to our bodies and learn of alternative methods of preventing pregnancy, it may be better for our long-term health. We could prepare for conception in a healthier way and learn to balance our hormones after using hormonal birth control.
We now have more control than ever to choose when we want to have children. Perhaps knowing the consequences of using hormonal birth control would be helpful when making decisions about birth control.
Choosing Birth Control Responsibly
Each of us owes it to ourselves and our families to research facts on long-term side effects of hormonal birth control use. Having the understanding that it may affect our fertility and health later in life is important. Getting pregnant – not getting pregnant – how will getting pregnant impact my life? How will preventing a pregnancy impact my health? Balancing those choices to serve our highest good is the question. When choosing hormonal birth control, ask yourself:
- Is this something I am willing to use long-term or is it a short-term goal?
- How will taking this impact my fertility?
- Are there better or safer options?
Consider these as other options which are just as effective as hormonal birth control:
- Spermicide and charting your cycle
- Rythm method
- Natural family plannign
- BBT, cycle beads and OPK
Hormonal Birth Control and Fertility
Oral contraceptive birth control is often prescribed if you have fertility issues such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts or irregular menstrual cycles. While this birth control may work for some time for those conditions, the birth control does not address the root and key issues you have that fertility issue to begin with. It may reduce pain, reduce the incidence of cysts or regulate your cycle (which isn’t a real cycle) for some time, when you stop taking it your symptoms may return.
Many with these issues still want to have children and taking these prevents that from happening. If you are still wanting to have children and want to heal from fertility issues at the same time, it is important to communicate that with your doctor. Sometimes the doctor has not been clear that what has been prescribed for fertility issues is actually a birth control.
For women wanting to regulate their cycles, coming off hormonal birth control can be a problem. You body can take up to a year after you stop using hormonal birth control to regulate your hormones and start a regular menstrual cycle. If your cycles were not regular prior to taking hormonal birth control, there is no guarantee that they will be regular after taking them.
Some women using the Implant or Depo-Provera do not get their menstrual cycle at all and they can have a harder time getting their menstrual cycles to come back.
To understand contraception that affects our natural menstrual cycle – here is a chart to help you know what hormones are in each method.
How it Works
Birth Control Pill
|Most are a combination pill. They contain estrogen and progestin. Some only contain progestin. The majority of women use the combination pills. These work by preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. They also thicken cervical mucous making it hard for sperm to reach the uterus. This method also thins the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.|
|A thin flexible plastic implant that is the size of a cardboard matchstick. It contains Progestin. The Progestin keeps the ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). This hormone also thins the lining of the uterus which may prevent implantation.|
|This patch contains estrogen and progestin. These work by preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. They also thicken cervical mucus making it hard for sperm to reach the uterus. This method also thins the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.|
|This injectable shot contains progestin. Progestin keeps the ovaries from releasing the eggs, thickening cervical mucous to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and thinning the uterine lining which may prevent implantation. Note: Continued use of Depo-Provera may stop the menstrual cycle completely and it may take longer than average (9 months-2 years for the menstrual cycle to regulate after stopping it). Once you have gotten a shot of Depo-Provera you cannot stop it’s side effects for 12-14 weeks.|
|This ring contains the same hormones as combination birth control pills. The progestin and estrogen prevent ovulation, thicken the cervical mucus and thin the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.|
|The IUD prevents the sperm from moving correctly, preventing sperm from meeting and connecting with the egg. It may also affect the uterine lining which may cause implantation problems, but there is no proof of this.|
|This IUD contains progestin which prevents ovulation as well as thickens cervical mucous. It also prevents sperm from moving correcting toward the egg preventing conception.|
This will help you to know how these birth control methods directly affect hormones and the entire natural menstrual cycle. Progestin and estrogen contained in birth control is chemically created in a lab to imitate our natural progesterone and estrogen. When using these birth control methods, they are releasing hormones in our bodies at times they naturally would not, disrupting the menstrual cycle and preventing pregnancy.
Some estrogens are made from pregnant mare’s urine but is more often used for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in older women. Continued use of progestin has been linked to thinning of the bones when it is being used.
Next post will be Natural Remedies for Bringing Back a Healthy Menstrual Cycle. Here we will provide some ways to nourish and support the entire hormonal feedback loop, egg health, cervical mucous and uterine health.
If you would like help now coming off hormonal birth control or how you can learn more about other birth control options, let us know below. We look forward to providing you with more information so you can make the best decisions for your hormonal health.
For help with preconception planning, you can visit us at our preconception page HERE.