The Pill has been cited to be one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, being the catalyst of the sexual revolution, female liberation and emancipation.
With more than 300 million women all over the world who have been at some point in their life taking the Pill, it is the most commonly used drug of all. In Denmark the statistics shows even more dramatic numbers: 42% of Danish women take regular hormonal contraceptives, ranking highest among the Scandinavian female population.
The Pill is uniquely designed to interfere with one of your normal bodily functions – your fertility. Contrary to any other drugs, the Pill is taken by healthy young women whose only problem is their fertility.
During a natural menstrual cycle your sex hormones fluctuate considerably and create measurable changes in most of your bodily functions – including your temperature, metabolism, nutritional uptake, blood sugar levels, blood acidity, heart rate, urine, size of your pupils, pain threshold, brain waves, senses of sight, sound and smell, your breasts, cervical mucus secretion, the size, position and colour of your cervix, the size and colour of your vulva, sexual interest and response and your sleep, energy levels, etc. You won’t be surprised to learn that the Pill impact isn’t limited to your ovaries, uterus and cervix. The Pill alters at least 150 bodily functions and affects all your organs.
Hormones also affect how you think and feel, and how you think and feel affects your hormones thus connecting your external and internal worlds. They have been called the molecules of emotion.
In this article we will explore 9 potentially dangerous side effects of the Pill on your body and mind.
1. Mood Disruptions: Depression, Mood Swings and Anxiety
Professor J. Kulkani (psychiatrist) says that “Depression is one of the most prevalent and debilitating illnesses among the female population”. In her research she found out that women taking the pill are almost twice as likely to be depressed compared to those not taking the Pill. Health Profession journals regularly publish information about the negative effects women have while taking the Pill. In these articles the use of oral contraceptives has been associated with increased rates of depression, divorce, tranquilizer use and suicide. Several studies have found that women taking hormonal contraceptives have higher rates of anxiety, fatigue, compulsion, anger and negative menstrual effects.
2. Low Libido, Vaginal Dryness, Chronic Infections
Sounds ironic, isn’t it? The promise of the Pill for worry free sex and the opportunity to consume your passion anytime with no restrictions. Initially it might be indeed mentally liberating however the artificial hormones flattens the natural oestrogen highs and suppress the production of testosterone (both hormones responsible for sexual desire and heightened libido). This can also cause vaginal dryness (due to inability for natural sexual arousal) and increased risks of chronic infections (lowering your immune response plus the Pill does not protect you from Sexual transmitted diseases)
3. Decreased Fertility & Choice of Biologically Compatible Mate
While many women take it in order to prevent pregnancy, most of them have great difficulties to fall pregnant when they stop the Pill. Fabio Bertarelli (owner of Serono Laboratories and manufacturer of 7 of 10 world’s fertility drugs) told the Wall Street Journal that “our usual customers are women over 30 who have been taking birth control pills since they were teenager or in their 20s”.
Fertility is also connected with attraction to a partner whose genes are different from yours in order to secure for the next generation a strong immune system and create biological diversity. This attraction is regulated by your sense of smell, which instinctually recognizes when someone is biologically compatible with you and thus creates sexual attraction between you too (opposites attracts yes!). However, this natural instinctual selection through detecting pheromones by smell, is disturbed when the Pill is introduced in the female body. Biologist C. Wedekind found out through his research that women on the Pill have reverse smell-immune signals and they tend to choose a mate who has a similar immune system, which impacts the future generations to have weaker immune system but most importantly it makes it harder for them to conceive.
4. Stroke & Heart Attack
A 25-year study of over 45 000 women found out a significant increase of vascular diseases like thrombosis, strokes and heart attacks among those being on the Pill. Even the lowest those of artificial hormones double the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
The Pill causes nutritional disturbance on your metabolism. The Pill affects vitamin, mineral, lipid, essential fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. Vitamin absorption especially affected by the Pill are B6, B12, Riboflavin, Thiamine and Folic Acid. That means that even if you take supplements or eat very healthy, the vitamins and minerals can not be properly absorbed by the body and over time that can lead to malnutrition and affect your overall mental, emotional and physical health.
6. Liver tumors and Liver Cancer
Liver is the organ that filters the blood from toxins, which includes also artificial hormones. Women over 30 and long-term users have increased risk of developing liver tumours and cancer. One study revealed that just 6 to 12 months of use is related with about 10% of women developing tumours.
7. Energy Reduction: Fatigue, Adrenal & Thyroid Dysfunction
Your Thyroid and Adrenals are responsible for your energy levels, moods, metabolism and their function affect every single cell of the body. When the Thyroid gland is not functioning properly it may lead to brain fog, dry skin, hair loss, gain weight and total lack of energy (unable to tolerate exercise). Number of things can disrupt your Thyroid like heavy metals, fluoride, infections, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, stress, nutrient deficiencies and medications, including the Pill.
8. Digestive problems, Leaky Gut and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
The Pill disrupts normal gut flora (good bacteria which grow in your gut) and produce an environment that stimulates the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. This may result in increase of gases, food sensitivities, bloating, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and even acne and/or eczema. The Pill can inflame the digestive tract and cause so much immune disturbance that it increases the risk of autoimmune disease of the gut. This can also lead to development of leaky gut (when your gut leak into your body large molecules of proteins, bacteria, yeast, food and other organisms that shouldn’t be allowed otherwise. This causes a strong immune reaction which overtime can develop in autoimmune disease).
A 2016 study revealed that past use of the Pill for more than 6 months significantly increased the risk of developing Diabetes in postmenopausal women. Nondiabetic pill users were found to have significantly elevated levels of insulin, which is a sign of insulin resistance and a risk factor for developing diabetes and heart disease. Pill users were also diagnosed with diabetes at a younger age.
The Pill played an important role for liberating women sexually and allowing them to experience other roles in society than just being wives and mothers. Choosing to take the pill as a contraceptive method is a very personal choice. It is also one of the main methods recommended widely by the most family doctors without proper information on the possible and potential side effects. This article does not intend to condemn the Pill but to fill up some of the missing information gaps and thus help women to make the best possible choice for their health, fertility and long-term well being.
I personally believe that the new wave of feminism is to truly know, embrace, respect and deeply care for the feminine body and make informed personal choices of the best and harmless natural birth control practices.
Note that a woman is fertile few days per month. A man is fertile all the time. Yet it is still the woman who bears all the risks and ultimately risks her life in order to manage her fertility.
If you want to know more about the magic, power and wisdom hidden in your natural cyclical body, you might be interested in joining my 4 months in-depth coaching program for women “Menstrual Wisdom & Power Circle Program” for living a natural and sustainable life in harmony with your Feminine flow.
Bennet J., Pope A. (2008) The Pill. Are you sure it is for you?
Brighten J. (2019) Beyond the Pill
Lindh I. (2017) Contraceptive Use in the Nordic Countries