There are so many things we have not known about the pill and other hormonal contraceptives over the years…but now that science has caught up with women’s intuition – we can certainly see the common sense side of the pill – which suppresses vital areas of the brain that can also affect the neurological system – affecting our mind, moods and behaviors.
Many of you have heard me harp on the fact that the pill depletes nutrients – vital micronutrients that are needed for brain health. Those nutrients are near impossible to obtain from our food sources any longer.
No one understands the full implication of the pill.
But are the risks really worth the benefits?
The Pill and Your Mood
What if I told you that a product is available that can interfere with your hormones to the extent that your daily and monthly rhythms are no longer operational? And because you will no longer have a functional brain to ovary signaling, you will likely avoid conceiving if you have sex during what would otherwise have been your 6 fertile days a month. Of course, this product’s hormonal effects also leave you with the sense that everything is stable and predictable which is something like turning the white noise up so loud that you don’t hear your own baby crying.
For this, you will risk migraines, weight gain, hypertension, gallstones, cancer, and yes, sudden death without warning. Would you believe that millions of women the world over, line up to take it every day? In fact, they even fight for their right to take it.
After 4 months of post-pill amenorrhea (aka no return of my natural cycle after stopping 12 years of birth control), I decided to see what the research showed about lesser-known side effects of the pill. I was astounded to find evidence supporting its inflammatory, nutrient-depleting, metabolic, and microbiota-impairing effects. I’ve found recent research linking the pill to cancer, autism, and even brain-based changes. But because so many critical questions have not been asked about what happens when we manipulate the hormonal pathways and feedback loops in the body, we rely on post-marketing research including girls and women dying in the name of contraceptives used for acne or so they can avoid having an inconvenient period.
Then I began paying attention to my patients’ stories. Over and over again, I would learn about their onset of anxiety, depression, and even mania after beginning synthetic hormones.
The Pill and Your Mood
Since the 1960s, there has been controversy around the potential mood-altering effects of oral contraceptives, but over 50 years of their use has not settled the question.
There is acknowledgment; however, that depression is the most common reason for discontinuation of use with pilot studies demonstrating that women using the combined oral contraceptive pill were significantly more depressed than a matched group who were not. The existing research is of fairly compromised quality – mostly reflecting the fact that this topic has not been a research focus over the past several decades. What does exist in the annals of science suggests that there is likely a subset of women for whom oral contraceptives represent a major risk factor for depression and/or related mood disturbance.