I know now that use of birth control pills can bring on what looks like and acts like menopause symptoms in young women. But it wasn’t until I became deeply immersed in correcting hormonal imbalance and treating menopausal patients with bioidentical hormone replacements, that I started investigating my birth control patients more carefully. I was shocked to learn that twenty-year-old patients of mine who were on the pill, had hormones levels that were on par with my menopausal patients.
Information emerging about the female brain reveals it requires estrogen for healthy functioning. Estrogen enhances the connections between neurons, resulting in improved memory and prevention of dementia. Mood, smell, self-esteem–even a woman’s ability to choose a healthy partner to father her child–depend on estrogen. It stimulates the production of serotonin, which is one of the “feel-good” hormones in the brain.
When estrogen is low, serotonin levels become low, resulting in depression, OCD, paranoia and ADD. This is why so many women, who have low estrogen due to the birth control pill, end up on antidepressants and other medications. Of course, these problems happen to the menopausal brain as well, due to loss of estrogen.
Women with menopause symptoms gain about thirty pounds, loose their lovely skin, develop arthritis, have increased diabetes, increased heart disease, more thyroid problems, more breast cancer and a loss of their sex drive; all due to low estrogen. Data from the birth control pill shows similar concerns with increased heart disease, more strokes, increased depression, lower libidos, sugar imbalances and an alarming 10% increase in breast cancer.
With fifteen women out of a hundred currently developing breast cancer, we can’t afford this deadly side effect. Research from MD Anderson Cancer Center reports that 90% of cancer is due to inflammation. Estrogen decreases inflammation, but menopause and the birth control pill, due to their low estrogen states, both increase inflammation, and therefore the risk of cancer.
Although a recent article states that patients using the birth control pill do not gain weight, most pill users feel it does. I agree. By lowering estrogen levels, the birth control pill raises blood sugar, as well as cortisol levels, resulting in weight gain; just as in menopause.
Why Do We Need Birth Control Pills?
So why do we use such a problematic medication when we aren’t even sick? First, is it really effective at preventing pregnancy? 98-99% of women will not get pregnant while on the pill. Second, some women do feel well on the pill. It can clear up acne in some patients and improves PMS in others.
It also seems to offer some protection from ovarian cancer. However, it is always better to correct problems at their root cause, rather than covering them up. Use of natural hormones, diet, supplements and life style changes produces better results with all these problems and actually improves a woman’s overall health.
By putting women into hormonal menopause and brining on menopause symptoms, the birth control pill counteracts the goals of health and beauty. As a woman and a gynecologist, I ask the question, “Do we really knowingly want to hurt our health by using the pill?”
I don’t think women want premature aging, if they can avoid it. Save birth control pills for true emergencies and use safer options for birth control. Let’s allow our own natural hormones and bioidentical hormone replacements to protect us from disease and aging for as long as we possibly can.