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Dr. Laura Pipher

The birth control lies you’ve probably been told



I speak to patients DAILY who have been told that the answer to all of their problems lies within their birth control pill. Whether they have irregular periods, painful periods, fibroids, endometriosis or PCOS, the treatment remains the same. 

But why? These conditions all have very different root causes and therefore require different treatment but hormonal birth control works to shut off your body’s natural hormonal processes, often leading to a temporary improvement in symptoms. 

Regardless of which treatment you decide to pursue when it comes to your period problems, it is important to understand that any improvements you experience on hormonal birth control is temporary and won’t help to treat the root cause of your concerns. 

Read the most common birth control control lies you’ve probably been told below

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Lie #1 : Birth control can “fix your period problems” (heavy, painful, irregular etc)

The truth is, birth control does NOT fix anything.  In fact, the whole point of birth control is to turn off your body’s natural ability to cycle (typically this is done through shutting off ovulation altogether) so that you will not get pregnant. In return, hormonal birth control provides you with a dose of synthetic hormones which have many other impacts on the body. Did you know? It takes about 12 years for your ovaries to regulate their communication with the brain to regulate your cycles. If you are taking hormonal birth control, this connection is interrupted and can lead to period problems down the road.This is also something I see often in young women. The moment they get their period it is often heavy, painful and may come with other not so amazing symptoms such as acne. Instead of supporting their body and giving them time to regulate, they are immediately put on hormonal birth control (usually until they want to get pregnant)

Lie #2: Your periods will regulate while you take hormonal birth control

Did you know? The “period” you experience while taking birth control is not a period at all. In fact I refer to “periods” on the pill as a pill bleed or a withdrawal bleed. Why? Because when you are taking birth control the only reason why you bleed at the end of your pack (or during the sugar pills) is because your body is withdrawing from the dose of hormones it has been given. Many women will even lose their “period” altogether when they are on a hormonal IUD and this is typically the result of being given consistent doses of hormones without a specific “withdrawal”. 

Lie #3: Birth control will help balance your hormones

When any doctor recommends my patient start hormonal birth control, my first question is “why”. If my patient is looking for a contraceptive option and has been well informed of the alternatives as well as the risks and benefits of hormonal birth control, then that is a well thought out informed decision. However, when a doctor recommends my patient take birth control for her PCOS, fibroids or endometriosis to “balance her hormones’, that is a different conversation completely. Birth control will NOT balance your hormones, and in fact can sometimes cover up conditions such as PCOS that can have long term consequences. 

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