If someone is going to run a marathon, they prepare for it. They don’t expect the body to put up with something of that level of strenuous activity for so long without training and preparation.
So why do we assume that the body can handle pregnancy and birth without preparing it? Here at the Wellness Way, we don’t. A marathon is hard on the body for a significantly shorter time; from several hours of running to a few days of recovery. Pregnancy and birth last for months on end with no break.
Over the next few months, we’re going to give you a few ways to prepare yourself and your baby for a good, healthy marathon.
If you’re preparing for a marathon, you have to stop making yourself sick. When it comes to getting pregnant, that means tossing the birth control pills and working to fix the havoc they’ve wreaked in your body.
Why Birth Control Stops You From Getting Pregnant
How does birth control work? The pills are either combination or progestin-only. Combination pills have a combination of two hormones–estrogen and progestin.
The NIH explains the process of combination birth control pills working like this:
“Combinations of estrogen and progestin work by preventing ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries). They also change the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy from developing and change the mucus at the cervix (opening of the uterus) to prevent sperm (male reproductive cells) from entering.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the progestin-only pill works as follows:
“The progestin causes cervical mucus to thicken and the lining of the uterus to thin, which keeps the sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg.”
The fact that these pills mimic and interfere with the body’s own hormones makes these pills endocrine disruptors, which the NIH defines as:
“Many chemicals, both natural and man-made, may mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones, known as the endocrine system. Called endocrine disruptors, these chemicals are linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems.”
Why the way Birth Control Works is a Problem
Whichever way you take the pill–or other methods of birth control that manipulates hormones, you are using an endocrine disruptor.
The NIH has this to say about endocrine disruptors:
“In this first Scientific Statement of The Endocrine Society, we present the evidence that endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity, and cardiovascular endocrinology. Results from animal models, human clinical observations, and epidemiological studies converge to implicate EDCs as a significant concern to public health.”
Hormone imbalances have side effects, even when they’re hormones made by the body itself. Artificial hormones even more so. What are the side effects for the birth control pills? In the physician’s package insert for Ortho Tri-cyclen under adverse reactions are listed the following:
- Thrombophlebitis and venous thrombosis with or without embolism
- Arterial thromboembolism
- Pulmonary embolism
- Myocardial infarction
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Cerebral thrombosis
- Gallbladder disease
- Hepatic adenomas or benign liver tumors
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abdominal cramps and bloating)
- Breakthrough bleeding
- Change in menstrual flow
- Temporary infertility after discontinuation of treatment
- Melasma which may persist
- Breast changes: tenderness, enlargement, secretion
- Change in weight (increase or decrease)
- Change in cervical erosion and secretion
- Diminution in lactation when given immediately postpartum
- Cholestatic jaundice
- Rash (allergic)
- Mental depression
- Reduced tolerance to carbohydrates
- Vaginal candidiasis
- Change in corneal curvature (steepening)
- Intolerance to contact lenses
- Pre-menstrual syndrome
- Changes in appetite
- Cystitis-like syndrome
- Loss of scalp hair
- Erythema multiforme
- Erythema nodosum
- Hemorrhagic eruption
- Impaired renal function
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome
- Changes in libido
- Budd-Chiari Syndrome
Need further proof the birth control pills are bad for you? The EPA says:
“Disruption of the endocrine system can occur in various ways. Some chemicals mimic a natural hormone, fooling the body into over-responding to the stimulus … or responding at inappropriate times … Other endocrine disruptors block the effects of a hormone from certain receptors … Still others directly stimulate or inhibit the endocrine system and cause overproduction or underproduction of hormones … Certain drugs are used to intentionally cause some of these effects, such as birth control pills.”
Birth Control and the Immune System
Your body is like a finely calibrated Swiss watch. If you mess around with one part, you’re messing around with all the parts.
The EPA says about endocrine disruptors:
“In the last two decades there has been a growing awareness of the possible adverse effects in humans and wildlife from exposure to chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system. These effects can include:
- developmental malformations,
- interference with reproduction,
- increased cancer risk; and
- disturbances in the immune and nervous system function.
- Endocrine disruptors–those little pills–can cause disturbances in the way the immune system functions. The immune system is one of the most important systems in the body–a close second to the nervous system, without which you’d be dead.
The immune system protects your body from diseases, viruses, and other pathogens that could damage the body. If you disrupt that delicate balance, you can no longer depend as heavily on your body to protect you from illness.
Birth Control and Your Weight
Most places proudly proclaim that any weight gained when on birth control is water retention, and, therefore, not actual weight. While this additional weight may not be from fat, it is additional weight, and a sign that something is wrong in the body. Namely, inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of just about every medical problem we face–pain, disease, you name it. An inflamed body retains water. That water retention weight, then? That’s a sign that something is wrong in your body–something that needs to be fixed before it leads to other problems.
Beyond that, though, there are hidden sources of weight gain in the birth control pills. For one, insulin resistance. The NIH had this to say about oral contraceptives and insulin resistance:
“However, [levonorgestrel-containing combinations] increased insulin resistance to a similar extent.”
Insulin helps the body absorb sugar. It is also a growth hormone. If your insulin resistance increases, then, your body has to make more of it. The more growth hormone you have, the more certain parts of your body grow, leading to weight gain. There are healthy ways to lose weight, but none of them will do much if the source of the weight gain–the pills leading to increased insulin resistance–are still there. If you’re weeding a garden and don’t pull the weed out by its roots, it’s just going to grow back.
Birth Control Brings You One Step Closer to Death
What’s the number one killer of women these days? Heart disease.
A study in The Journal of Human Reproduction found an increase of markers of inflammation in women on birth control. These women started the study with an average marker of .7. That’s good–the optimal level for inflammation markers is less than one. After the study? The levels were at an average of over five.
Anything higher than a three increases the risk of a cardiac event.
Inflammation is the source of nearly every medical problem we face, remember?
Stop messing with your body’s delicate balance–next time, use a condom. Learn more about how birth control affects your body in this video. Learn more about how it affects your immune system, in particular, in this article.
To get your body back on track and start fixing the damage birth control has wreaked on your body, contact a Wellness Way clinic today.