Why Quit The Pill?

Quitting your hormonal birth control is a personal decision. I firmly believe its your right to have access to and to choose methods of hormonal birth control like the pill, the implant, hormone-emitting IUDs and more.

But, Ialso strongly believe that its your right to have a full and complete understanding of your natural cycle and the effects of hormonal birth control on your body & brain.

This page contains some of the reasons why I think the pill is worth quitting.

The World Health Organization lists the birth control pill as a Class One Carcinogen. 

Class One Carcinogen is the highest classification for a cancer-causing agent. It’s been on their list since 1999, despite the periodic review of new lower-dose pills.

Birth control can alter your actual anatomy. 

2013 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that “after only three months of use, pill users had thinner labia, smaller clitorises and a decreased entrance of the vagina.” A study on Yaz showed that after only 3 months, some women’s clitorises had decreased by 15%. I feel pretty safe saying that none of us want that.

The pill can weaken your orgasms. 

That same study showed decreased orgasm, measured by both intensity, frequency and ease of achievement, in the women on the pill. Other studies have indicated that the pill can even decrease the frequency of sexual thoughts.

It robs your body of essential nutrients. 

Metabolism of birth control hormones by the liver requires extra B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and selenium, and causes nutrient-depletion. Why’s it matter? B-complex vitamins play a major role in happiness, stable mood and keeping you depression/anxiety-free. Oh, and all that pill-metabolizing by the liver results in a dark spot, visible on the liver by X-rays. Some women even develop benign liver tumors.

Hormonal birth control may increase the risk of breast cancer, in particular. 

While it’s true that the pill does lower your risk of ovarian cancer, the high levels of estrogen it contains could put you at higher risk of breast cancer. Recent studies on women in their teens and twenties taking the pill continuously have indicated that it increases breast cancer risk by as much as 40%.

The pill may alter your sex drive – even after you stop taking it. 

The pill causes your liver to make a protein, sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHBG), in excess. Normal levels are 20-30 nmol/L and pill users often have levels of 200-300. What’s this have to do with your sex drive? SHBG binds to free testosterone, which is primarily responsible for sexual response, and makes it unavailable. Even after six months off the pill, former pill users still had elevated levels of SHBG.

It compromises your gut health. 

The pill can have a similar affect on your gut flora as antibiotics. It can kill the good bacteria and make way for bad bacteria and organisms like candida to colonize your intestinal tract. This compromises digestion and further exacerbating nutrient deficiencies. It also increases inflammation in the body (think acne), and could even weaken your immune system. This can also lead to increased frequency of urinary tract infections and yeast infections.

It disrupts communication between your ovaries and brain. 

The pill pumps your body full of all the sex hormones you need (and then some). Because of this, your brain no longer needs to tell your ovaries to produce the appropriate amount of sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone). With long term pill use, this pathway erodes and it can take months to re-establish after pill use stops. Until healthy function is restored, you are likely to experience:

  • fatigue
  • hair loss
  • dry skin and brittle nails
  • irregular periods
  • potentially no periods at all

Women are also more likely to develop ovarian cysts when coming off the pill. They may also experience oral contraceptive withdrawal symptoms like headaches, pelvic pain, and nausea. These aren’t the kinds of things one wants to deal with when trying to conceive, or in later years when hormone levels would naturally be lower.

The pill could cause you to choose the wrong partner. 

The birth control pill changes your preferences when it comes to selecting a mate. Studies show that women on the pill rate slightly more feminine male faces as more attractive. Women not on hormonal contraception opt for more traditionally masculine features. Women on the pill are also more attracted to men with a similar chemical makeup. This is something we detect subconsciously via smell. Women not on the pill generally select mates with a dissimilar chemical makeup, instead. Biologists believe this was an evolutionary mechanism to diversify the genetic material of the child. This would decrease the chances of recessive and potentially disordered traits. It’s possible that if you selected your partner while on the pill, you could find him less attractive when you go off of it.

You may experience difficulty conceiving. 

Recent studies have shown that women are twice as likely to have difficulty conceiving after long-term contraception use. This is sometimes attributed to the weakened connection between your ovaries and brain. This causes low levels of progesterone, the pregnancy hormone. Nutritional deficiencies may also play a role. Additionally, many women are prescribed the birth control pill for irregular periods. These women who may have had difficulty ovulating (and therefore conceiving) before pill use, will find that the underlying issues still exist and may have worsened.

 

Want more information? You can find a comprehensive list of sources for the posts on this site here. You can also visit the blog to learn about other potential risks of hormonal birth control use.