My experience on the pill
I went on the birth control pill when I was 15 or 16 years old, not to treat (or cover up) any specific symptoms but just as a form of contraception. It didn’t give me any noticeable, horrible side effects but I now know that it was a slowly derailing my health.
Around 6 months before writing this, when I was in the thick of shifting my lifestyle to heal Hashimoto’s, I decided to come off the pill (after 10 years of taking it). I had started to explore ways to reduce the toxic load on my body and after much research, took the plunge with alternative contraception.
In two separate blog posts, I will be talking about the method I have chosen and how I’ve supported my body as it detoxes from the pill – including getting my natural cycle back.
This post aims to give you some clarity and information about why the pill can be particularly harmful to women with thyroid and autoimmune conditions, so you can make a more informed decision about your health: #igotchu
The thyroid link
As Dr. Jolene Brighten (Functional Medicine Naturopathic Medical Doctor and expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome) says:
“The pill does more than prevent pregnancy — it sabotages thyroid health.”
Here are some key ways it does this:
The birth control pill depletes and interferes with vital nutrients that your thyroid requires to function properly, like selenium, zinc, tyrosine (an amino acid), folate and B vitamins. When I first started getting blood tests after my health went downhill, I was, in fact, hugely deficient in many of these vitamins and minerals. Why is this such a huge issue? Because nutrient deficiencies are a root cause of autoimmunity.
Elevated Thyroid Binding Globulin
The birth control pill also elevates Thyroid Binding Globulin which results in thyroid hormone being unavailable to your cells. Every cell in your body requires thyroid hormone, so this is a pretty big deal, particularly if you’re already hypothyroid.
As I’m sure you well know, inflammation is at the root of all chronic disease and if you have Hashimoto’s (or any other autoimmune disease) then your body is already highly inflamed. You do not want to be adding fuel to the fire, and guess what? That pill is pure gasoline.
It also increases the risk for certain cancers, throws our gut flora out of whack (leading to yeast infections, amongst other things), impairs our ability to build muscle (which is already hard enough with Hashimoto’s), imbalances the immune system and suppresses our body’s natural production of sex hormones (leading to estrogen dominance). There are numerous other factors to consider, which you can read about on Izabella Wentz’ website.
It’s good to have choices
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so make sure you consult your health practitioner before making any decisions. Of course, birth control choices are highly personal and I don’t mean to “pill bash”. However, I do want to empower you with information and say, “You do you, girl. Make the right decision for YOUR unique body.” We are all bio-individuals and it’s just good to know we’ve got choices.
The pill was given to me at a relatively young age with little-to-no explanation about how it would affect my body. Personally, I feel like this is something that needs to change.
So, if you don’t want to burden your system with more toxins and synthetic hormones, then it’s important to know there are other contraception methods you can try. It’s also important to know that this could be one of the root causes to your chronic condition that, once rectified, would bring you closer to vibrant health.
The pill is not the be all and end all, just because it’s what doctors prescribed you at 16 to help with acne or cramps (plus, spoiler alert, it simply masks symptoms and doesn’t address the root of your imbalances… a dangerous game to play in my book).
So, with that said, I hope this information helps and I’d love to hear your stories about coming off the pill or alternative birth control methods. Let me know in the comments :).
P.S. Are you struggling with Hashimoto’s or another autoimmune/chronic health condition? Click HERE to explore my 4-month 1:1 health coaching program “Vibrant + Thriving”. This program is the result of my personal experience healing Hashimoto’s holistically and certification from the Insititute for Integrative Nutrition. Together, let’s get your mojo back!