Birth control pills are the most common type of contraceptive in the world, used by over 150 million women. They are primarily used for preventing pregnancy, but some people use birth control for hormone imbalance. On the other hand, many people blame oral contraceptives, claiming they got a hormone imbalance from birth control.
This can lead to some confusion and uncertainty for women. For example, does birth control help with hormone imbalance, or can you get a hormone imbalance on birth control? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so black and white.
Most birth control pills are created with combinations of synthetic estrogen and progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. After taking an oral contraceptive, these synthetic hormones enter the brain and act as endocrine disruptors where they interfere with the hormone signaling process.
These synthetic hormones prevent the hypothalamus from signaling to the pituitary gland to secrete the hormones that cause an egg to be released. This is primarily the action of synthetic estrogen. Suppose somehow ovulation does occur and an egg is fertilized. In that case, the synthetic progestin then thins the uterine lining, which makes it more likely that the egg will be shed.
Because birth control pills contain progestin and estrogen, there is an argument that they may also be able to help balance hormones and regulate the menstrual cycle of women with hormonal imbalances. In some cases, this may be true, as birth control pills can make your period more predictable and may also stop spotting between periods.
However, birth control pills are likely to have a long-term adverse effect on your endocrine system. This is because even though the human body contains these hormones already, the hormones in birth control pills are synthetic.
There is a big difference between how natural hormones work in the body and how synthetic hormones work in the body. Natural hormones bind to particular receptor sites in the body. Synthetic hormones, however, may bind to the wrong receptors, which may cause hormone imbalances and detrimental side effects.
Not all women will experience these side effects, but those who do can experience some adverse effects. Some of the possible side effects of hormonal imbalances include:
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements
- Depression or anxiety
- Mood disorders
- Numbness and tingling in your hands
- Slow or rapid heartbeat
- Higher-than-normal blood cholesterol levels
- And much more
For women already experiencing hormonal imbalances, the synthetic hormones in birth control pills may help balance hormones short-term, but they are not a real solution. Of course, it is best to focus on what may be causing the hormonal imbalances in the first place—such as diet, stress levels, exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, etc.
There are also better, more natural solutions to repairing hormonal imbalances than oral contraceptives that are highly unpredictable in their effect on your hormones. We at Zuma Nutrition have created our Happy Hormones Tonic to help women balance their hormones. This formula uses organic and wildcrafted herbal remedies that have a long history of use for women’s health issues and have been clinically studied for their effects on helping to regulate hormonal health.
While there may be a place for oral contraceptives, which is undoubtedly a personal choice, they can harm your hormones. Our hormones are involved in so many biological processes that you want to ensure you are doing your best to support hormonal health long-term and be cautious about anything that can disrupt the delicate balance in your endocrine system.