If you’ve been following FLO Living for a while, then you already know my feelings on synthetic hormones. Far too often, thepill and all other forms of hormonal birth control (patches, implants, IUDs, etc.) are marketed as the only way to treat period problems along with being fearfully positioned as the only reliable form of pregnancy prevention available to women. Not only is that information untrue; it perpetuates a culture that doesn’t take our unique health needs as women seriously.
It’s starting to feel like a bad case of deja vu: yet another study has emerged calling the safety of hormonal birth control into question. Each time this happens, it’s a strong reinforcement of the work we do here at FLO Living to help women become their own best healers of hormonal dysfunction. But this new research is so major and the results are so glaringly clear, perhaps it will be the scientific impetus for women on synthetic forms of birth control to rethink their choices.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month, followed 1.8 million Danish women for over a decade. During that time, 11,517 cases of breast cancer were identified, leading researchers to the conclusion that hormone users overall experienced a 20% increase in their relative risk of breast cancer compared to nonusers.
If those numbers seem hard to wrap your brain around, think of it this way: each year, hormonal birth control causes an additional 13 cases of breast cancer in a group made up of 100,000 women. So for every 100,000 women on the pill, there will be 68 annual breast cancer diagnoses compared to 55 for non-birth-control users.
If you find this revelation alarming — and I certainly do — then you’ll want to know the details and understand your options so you can make the most informed choice around your fertility, your health, and your life. This issue is far too important to ignore.
The Problem With Conventional Wisdom on Birth Control
This is what’s so frustrating about conventional women’s health. As Dr. Marisa Weiss, an oncologist who founded the website breastcancer.org told the New York Times, “Gynecologists just assumed that a lower dose of hormone meant a lower risk of cancer.” This of course is referring to the first wave of the pill that had a higher dose of hormones that at first was deemed safe for women, and then shown to cause cancer risk. So the doses were lowered, but as the new study shows, the risk is still there. Remember also that HRT (synthetic hormone replacement) was the gold standard treatment for menopausal women 20 years ago, until the cancer risk there was surfaced as well.
I’m frustrated by the culture of prescribing “treatments” to women based on assumptions where there isn’t enough research being done to support them. And when groundbreaking research like this is done, study findings will often be dismissed in some way because it doesn’t align with the status quo. It’s just become a cultural norm to feed women information that isn’t rooted in fact and as a consequence, women all over the world are making major decisions about their health care without adequate information. In this glorious age of information, this should not be.
The good news is that the current generation of women is questioning the status quo of their menstrual health care. Health and wellness has become a trendy lifestyle choice for these young women, and many are now starting to realize that the concept of medicating their cycles (even when that’s the prescription their doctor ordered) feels out of alignment with their values.
And if you’re one of these women starting to have doubts about the widely-accepted medical protocols around the female cycle, that’s great. You should follow that intuition and know that beyond this study, there is a long list of mounting evidence that should call your trust in hormonal birth control as a method for “dealing with period problems” into question.
The Rise in Synthetic Birth Control Syndrome
Over the past 16 years of treating tens of thousands of women around the world, most of whom have been on some form of birth control to address their period problems, I’ve seen first hand what researchers have been uncovering for many years – a phenomenon referred to as ‘synthetic birth control syndrome’. You may recall trying one form of birth control, and feeling not yourself or worse in the first few days. You are then advised to hop from one form to another until you can find one your body can tolerate. Regardless of how you feel you’re tolerating the synthetic hormones, they will absolutely do the following 3 things – stop you from ovulating and having an actual period, flush micronutrients from your system, and compromise your immune function by disturbing your microbiome. Oh, and there’s the potential to permanently lowering your sex drive. Those initial feelings of discomfort you may have had and were told to tolerate, were too much for men in a trial to test a form of male hormonal birth control and the men would not complete the trial!
Here are just a few of the detrimental things we already know birth control can do that we’ve shared about with you in other articles:
- Increase the risk for depression
- Promote inflammation
- Rob your body of important micronutrients
- Damage your microbiome
- Suppress ovulation
- Disrupt your pheremones and mess with your romantic relationships.
Not to mention, all forms of hormonal birth control used to “treat” problematic issues like PCOS and PMS are simply masking the root cause of those issues. Birth control is simply a Band-Aid, which can be a dangerous non-solution; once you come off the method, the problems will return and potentially have worse symptoms than before, as well as becoming harder to treat and resolve. By continuing to take the pill or use other forms of hormonal birth control, you’re compromising your future fertility and long-term health. It’s important that you know there are side effects as you weigh your options.
Debunking The Pregnancy Fear
So many of my clients tell me that they simply can’t quit the pill because they’re so scared to become pregnant. This fear is understandable considering how sex, fertility, and reproduction are taught to us in schools. Girls are basically told in grade school that once they get their periods, they’ll always be in danger of getting pregnant.
This fear-mongering goes hand-in-hand with the vilification of menstruation that makes it a natural step for women to choose to medicate their cycles; first girls are told that their periods are gross and taboo, and then they’re taught to live with constant anxiety over possible pregnancy. And of course, all of this is done in the absence of proper education around the super specific conditions that have to be in place for conception to occur — like the fact that fertilization is really only possible during a 3-5 day window each month. This perfect storm sets women up to feel that their periods are a mysterious problem best left to medication to try to handle.
Where You Can Go From Here
The fact of the matter is, you now have access to all the information you need to make the most informed, educated decisions for your body and your life. If you’re using birth control because you think it’s the only way to prevent pregnancy, then you’ve simply been misled and it’s time to learn the nuances of female fertility so you can have the freedom to make other choices. And if you’re on birth control to try and remedy your hormonal imbalance, then take this study and all the other mounting evidence to heart and understand that the pill is not the answer.
There’s simply no reason to live in confusion and with symptoms around your period! It’s your birthright to enjoy the biochemical gifts of your whole and healthy cycle. Relying on synthetic hormones to balance your cycle isn’t necessary once you get in the FLO.
If you’re ready to get off the hormonal birth control roller coaster and remedy your endocrine issues the right way, download my special report: Birth Control Rehab: How to Quit the Pill Without Going Through Hormone Hell and you will discover:
- 4 ways synthetic birth control makes your underlying hormone issues worse
- Why synthetic birth control can negatively affect your future fertility
- How the Pill alters your chemistry to make you choose the wrong partner
- The exact steps you need to take before considering quitting your synthetic birth control
Take control of your hormones and your reproductive health by getting the facts now.
Introducing the BALANCE by FLO Living Hormone Supplement Kit
You’ve been asking me for hormone-friendly supplement recommendations, and I finally have created a solution that I am so thrilled to be able to offer to you on your hormonal balancing journey:
Balance by FLO Living Supplements are a complete package that work together to keep your hormone levels healthy. They include a 2 month (2 cycle) supply of the following formulations so you’re never caught short in any phase of your cycle.
When you take these 5 supplements daily, you’ll be giving your body excellent micronutrients to support healthier hormone levels. Which means that you’ll start to see your worst period symptoms get better… and even disappear after a while.
Click here to learn more about the brand-new BALANCE Supplement Kit.
I was wondering about ParaGuard.. the non-hormonal IUD? Since it doesn’t contain hormones, wouldn’t it be an option to consider?
Hi Megan, Here is my blog post on the copper IUD: https://www.floliving.com/the-benefits-of-the-copper-iud/
It’s just so sad, that even 20 years after I first hesitantly started to take a “weak” pill we seem to be no where further. I took the pill only a short time. It did not do me good. The second time I wanted to start I stopped after 3 days because it made me feel so bad. Since then I am off the pill but longing for a contraception that would feel safe and would not affect my health. My doctor suggested the IUD with low hormones, but I do not want hormones. I could not find anything fitting until now. After having 3 kids I really, really do not want to get pregnant again. So we are down to condoms and days that are “off limits”. It’s ok but not perfect. But I prefer it to hormones and my husband supports me. Vasectomy would probably be a good thing, but then this would be my husbands decision and he’s not really fond of this idea.
I just wonder what I will recommend to my daughter in a few years, when she will reach the point where she might need contraception…