Alternative Methods Of Birth Control
The pill is just one form of birth control. Other types of contraception that aren’t taken orally and aren’t affected by diarrhea include:
The vaginal ring, for example, provides the same hormones as the pill. The difference is that the hormones are absorbed through the vaginal wall.
If you need to use backup birth control while on the pill, choose a barrier method such as a condom or diaphragm.
Birth Control Pills: Medical Uses
- Besides birth control, there are many medical benefits of birth control pills , the Pill, or hormonal pills).
- Before starting birth control pills, talk to your health care provider about side effects, risks and benefits of the Pill.
- Birth control pills can help irregular periods, PCOS, endometriosis, acne, menstrual cramps, and low estrogen conditions.
Adolescent girls and young women are often prescribed birth control pills for irregular or absent menstrual periods, menstrual cramps, acne, PMS, endometriosis, Primary Ovarian Insufficiency and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome . Girls who are diagnosed with PCOS are often prescribed oral contraceptives to lower their hormone levels and regulate their menstrual periods.
Birth control pills contain one or two types of synthetic female hormones, estrogen and/or progestin. Similar hormones are normally made by the ovaries. There are many different types of oral contraceptive pills.
Vision Problems Caused By Dry Eye
Hormone changes from taking the pill can cause dry-eye symptoms that affect vision, says Beth Kneib, OD, the director of the clinical resources group at the American Optometric Association. See your eye doctor right away if you have dry eyes accompanied by discharge or a change in vision, which can be more serious, she says. “Some eye infections mimic dry-eye symptoms and can lead to a larger problem, she explains. If you have no other symptoms, try over-the-counter saline eye drops for relief. While the risk is small, chronic pill use may also be associated with an increased risk of open angle glaucoma, according to research presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2013.
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Birth Control Gut Health Connection #: Compromised Nutrient Absorption
Hormonal birth control has been shown to deplete the body of key nutrients like zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, selenium and vitamin C.
These are nutrients that we work hard to get from our food and possibly even other supplements and vitamins we take.
So, its important to know that using hormonal birth control, no matter how necessary it is, can leave you susceptible to nutrient deficiencies.
Some of these nutrient deficiencies can specifically affect gut function, and may be behind some of your gut symptoms or conditions.
Zinc, for example, works in our digestive tract to enhance the gut lining. This supplement can actually be used to heal leaky gut. But when youre deficient in it, as is common with hormonal birth control use, your gut is more likely to be leaky.
Selenium is also a critical nutrient when it comes to gut function. This micronutrient helps to regulate glutathione production. Glutathione is required for normal gut function and detoxification.
Diets high in selenium have actually been studied to improve the microbial diversity in the gut.
Its no secret that the health of our gut relies heavily on our ability to maintain adequate levels of key nutrients and vitamins. And, unfortunately, hormonal birth control does not do us any favors when it comes to improving nutrient status.
But, dont worry. Even if youre on birth control, or have been in the past, you can use targeted supplementation to help recover those nutrients that The Pill is possibly depleting.
Your Boobs May Feel A Little Different
Many women report achy breasts before their period . Since birth control pills regulate your hormone levels, they may alleviate this symptom for some women. So going off the pill could mean that your breasts start to feel a little more sensitive post-ovulation, says Dr. Klein.
However, breast tenderness can also be a side effect of being on the pill, says Guirlaine Agnant, MD, chair in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital in Mount Vernon, NY. If your breasts felt super-sensitive at certain times of the month when you were taking birth control, it might actually go away once you stop taking it. For these women, “stopping the pill will bring back normal breast tissue, and no tenderness should be experienced.”
You might also notice slight changes in the appearance of your breasts: “Some women will see their breasts deflate a bit when they go off the pill,” says Dr. Dweck.
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Estrogen Birth Control And Acid Reflux
Many women use contraceptives as means of birth control. Whether taken orally, administered via a patch, injected or implanted within the body, many of these contraceptives use estrogen to limit fertility. Some researchers theorize that the hormones in these contraceptives may lead to an increase in the risk of developing acid reflux. According to the authors of a 2007 study in the “Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,” a relationship has been found between the use of oral contraceptives and the development of acid reflux 4.
- Many women use contraceptives as means of birth control.
- According to the authors of a 2007 study in the “Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,” a relationship has been found between the use of oral contraceptives and the development of acid reflux 4.
Tummy Bloat Is Your Middle Name
Feeling like youre four months pregnant when youre definitely not isnt pleasant, so its no surprise that this is the birth control side effect women say they hate the most. This is not all in your head, as birth control pills can increase the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms. Researchers found that women on the pill were more likely to experience bloating and constipation as well as irritable bowel disease and Crohns disease. But bloating on the pill should be mild and not last the whole month, Dr. Ross says. So if you feel like its a perpetual problem, talk to your doctor about other options for birth control.
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How To Improve Digestion
Overcoming the negative impacts hormonal birth control can have on our digestion isnt difficult.
There are a few powerful supplements and self-care practices we can implement that can really give our gut a boost, even while using birth control.
My go-to practice to boost liver function and improve bile quality is castor oil packs.
Castor oil is an oil that is readily absorbed through the skin. Its extremely high in ricinoleic acid which gives it amazing fluid stimulating properties.
And when castor oil is placed over the liver and gallbladder, it fluid it helps to stimulate is bile.
Although they can be a little messy and daunting at first, castor oil packs are an amazing, not to mention relaxing, way to help improve your digestion.
All you need to get started is some castor oil, an unbleached flannel, a heating pad, and an old towel. The Wellness Mama has a great article on how to do castor oil packs, if youre interested in learning more.
Including more bitter foods in your diet is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to support your liver and gallbladder function during hormonal birth control use.
Foods like beets, leafy greens , grapefruit, and artichoke are all-stars when it comes to boosting your digestion.
Is Your Birth Control Giving You Headaches
Some women experience migraines when they first begin taking birth control pills. Basically a drop in estrogen levels can trigger migraines, and if youre on a low dose pill, your estrogen will likely be lower than what your body is accustomed to making naturally. What is frightening to me is that if you are experiencing migraines while on the pill the majority of doctors will start adjusting your hormone dosages to figure out a way to balance out your hormones chemically, which can only cause additional health issues down the road. If the source of the migraines is the synthetic hormones in birth control, then the only solution is to eliminate the culprit and figure out a healthier alternative to prevent pregnancy.
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Is It Safe To Take The Pill While Breastfeeding
Combination pills may reduce the amount and quality of your breast milk in the first 3 weeks of breastfeeding. If youre nursing, wait at least 3 weeks after giving birth to start using combination pills. Your breast milk will contain traces of the pill’s hormones, but its not likely that these hormones will have any effect on your baby. Talk with your nurse or doctor if you have any concerns about breastfeeding while using the pill.
Progestin-only pills are fine to use while you’re breastfeeding. In fact, using the mini pill and breastfeeding shouldnt have any effect on how much milk you produce, and won’t affect your baby.
Ibs And Birth Control: Whats The Connection
by Sara Kahn | Mar 16, 2021 |
Are your medications making your digestion worse? Your IBS and birth control may just be going hand-in-hand ack!
Before we dive into this topic, we just want to mention that this blog post is not anti-birth control. Unfortunately, there is a limited understanding of potential digestive health issues related to birth control. We feel that having comprehensive information about the risks and benefits of taking hormonal birth control empowers women to be better informed and better advocates of the healthcare choices that best serve them.
In this article, we discuss what the potential consequences are of taking hormonal birth controlwere guessing that your prescribing physician didnt warn you about these.
And we also know that these symptoms are not in your head. Too often women are not taken seriously when they bring up concerns to their doctors. In fact, my doctor was totally dismissive of how hormones were impacting my digestion. When you work with us, please know that well listen to you and trust you.
Medical professionals are not discussing or acknowledging the powerful connections between your prescriptions and unintended consequences, like IBS! Lets dive in so that you can make a more informed decision about what medications are a good fit for you.
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Are There Any Risks With Birth Control Pills
Most young women who take birth control pills have few or no problems. However, birth control pills with estrogen may cause a slight increase in the risk of developing blood clots in the legs, eyes, and lungs. If you develop any of the following problems, go to the closest emergency room:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- Chest pain , cough, shortness of breath
- Headache , dizziness, weakness, or numbness
- Eye problems , speech problems
- Severe leg pain
The Root Of The Problem Inflammation Of Course
When I looked at Denises problemsamong them weight-loss resistance, depression, and leaky gutone word came to mind: Inflammation. After all, chronic inflammation plays a part in nearly every disease on the planet, including obesity, and it certainly takes a toll on your gut.
Lets start with Denises weight-loss struggles. Ive found that nearly every patient who goes off the pill and takes proactive approaches to reduce inflammation also starts losing weight. Thats because studies show chronic inflammation ramps up obesity and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome like high blood pressure and messed-up cholesterol levels. Conversely, when patients lose weight, they also lower inflammation, which improves gut and overall health.
Then theres depression, which Denise blamed on genetics, but I saw as a gut problem. Did you know that about 80-95 percent of serotonin is manufactured in your gut? The pills knocking her healthy gut flora out of balancethanks to inflammationmeant Denise wasnt making enough of this feel-good neurotransmitter that also plays a role in gut motility, explaining why she felt so bloated. Newer studies, though, suggest that might not be the entire story. Instead, depression might occur due to chronic inflammation itself. In other words, if your gut or other parts of your body are inflamed, and most of ours are, youre more likely to struggle with feeling depressed.
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How To Get Off Birth Control
Stopping birth control is ultimately a decision you have to make on your own. If you are currently on birth control and wanting to get off it can be as simple as stopping the pill, having your doctor remove your IUD, or pulling off the patch. If you had symptoms before getting on birth control, then be prepared that those may return after getting off birth control.
After stopping birth control, or 2-3 months before, immediately start to support your body with the diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations I give below.
You also need to have a backup in place to prevent pregnancy. I recommend to start using the fertility awareness method or FAM to track your cycle. I use Daysy, and love it! However, it can take a few months to learn your cycle, so in the mean time you should use a contraceptive like condoms.
If you are wanting to get pregnant, give your body at least 6-12 months to heal after birth control.
How Long Does Nausea Last
According to the Center for Young Womens Health, most side effects of birth control pills go away after the person has been taking the pills for a few days.
A person will usually experience fewer side effects after taking the pills for 34 months. This is because the body becomes more accustomed to the hormones over time.
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Can I Take Probiotics While Using Birth Control
Another way you can improve your IBS symptoms is to take probiotics. These can have a range of benefits for your digestive system and can improve your gut health.
For instance, probiotics are used to balance and benefit the microbiome, or gut flora. You can also use prebiotics to improve your gut health, too.
The good news is that you can take both probiotics and prebiotics while using birth control to help regulate and minimize your IBS symptoms.
Incredible Hair Skin And Nails
Paige started out losing hair, but within 6 months her head was covered in the fuzzy joyous sign of new hair growth! Some women experience increased acne with certain hormonal contraceptives, and others experience hair loss, itchy skiin other skin symptoms. Whatever your symptoms, they have a root cause and you can support your body in healing.
Paige was able to clear her skin, bump her natural glow and grow some luscious locks.
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Which Probiotic Helps With Bloating
Recommended probiotic strains that have been well researched for bloating, specifically including: Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM. ® 8 Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07. ® 8 Lactobacillus plantarum LP299v. ® 10 Bifidobacterium infantis 35624. Bacillus Coagulans. Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3856 13 .
Birth Control Gut Health Connection #: Impaired Digestion
Hormonal birth control works by providing our body a constant stream of synthetic sex hormones.
These elevated hormone levels mimic what happens during pregnancy and actually trick your body into thinking youre pregnant.
Great for preventing pregnancy. But not so great for enabling proper digestion.
The presence of excess estrogen in the body actually contributes to impaired gallbladder function and sluggish bile.
There are actually estrogen and progesterone receptors in your gallbladder. And the increase in these hormones that happens with hormonal birth control use, can actually greatly affect the function of that organ.
One study even found a small, but significant link between hormonal birth control use and gallbladder dysfunction.
Bile is critical in the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Many toxins and waste products are also eliminated from the body through bile. So, if your bile is sluggish and your gallbladder isnt functioning optimally, you wont be able to digest or eliminate toxins well.
This can lead to SIBO, other gut imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and an accumulation of toxins in the body.
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How To Support Your Microbiome
Sometimes, you cant control whether or not you need to use hormonal birth control. But you can make sure that youre doing everything you can to boost the health of your gut bugs during that time.
Eating a real-food diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein sources, and healthy fats is one way to keep your microbiome thriving.
The undigestible fibers in many fruits and vegetables actually serve as food for our gut bacteria. These prebiotic fibers help to increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Keeping high levels of good gut bugs helps to reduce your chances of bacterial overgrowths or imbalances that are often common with hormonal birth control.
Using a high quality probiotic is also another great way to boost the health of your microbiome. Probiotics can be especially helpful to counteract the potential negative effects of hormonal birth control on the microbiome.
So, just because youre using hormonal birth control, or have in the past, doesnt mean that youre doomed to have poor microbiome health. Focusing on eating gut health-promoting and using a probiotic can do wonders to help support healthy gut bugs.
Precautions And Risks While Taking The Pill
People with a history of blood clots, heart attacks or stroke are advised not to take the combination birth control pill.
Blood clots are rare, but anyone with a history of blood clots, heart attacks or stroke is advised not to take the combination birth control pill and to speak with their medical provider about using an alternative method.
It is also important to note that an unintended pregnancy has its own side effects.1
The US Food and Drug Administration advise against the use of combination pills in women aged 35 years or older who smoke. Additional factors that increase the risk of blood clots include obesity or a family history of heart disease.1
It is not recommended to take hormonal contraceptives if there is a personal history of liver or heart disease, uterine or breast cancer, uncontrolled blood pressure or migraines with an aura.11
A qualified health care provider should be consulted for individual guidance on the most appropriate method of birth control.
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