The Not So Magic Pill

7 December 2021

The Not So Magic Pill

The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) has become the panacea for virtually all forms of women's health issues - prescribed to our daughters for acne, painful or heavy periods, PMS and even to restore menstrual cycles. To prescribe birth control for “hormone balance” is a huge dichotomy - birth control does not balance hormones; it switches them off!

From the age that a woman begins menstruation, her body dances to a monthly tune - swipe to understand. Beginning with a rise & peak in oestrogen (O) around day 14, triggering ovulation providing a surge and 10-14 days of progesterone (P) being in ascendance. This dance of O+P for 30+ years of a woman's life promotes the long-term health of the brain, metabolism, weight management bones, thyroid and cardiovascular system - it's literally depositing health into a long term savings account.

The OCP, as a birth control, STOPS ovulation. STOPS, ceases, closed for business! And no ovulation = no progesterone, no dance between O+P = no restoring of cycles or depositing of health into a long term bank account.

What about the fact that there may be a bleed while on the pill? This is simply a pill withdrawal bleed, it’s not anything at all to do with the health giving ebb and flow of progesterone and oestrogen, because - it’s been shut down! So, taking the OCP to “regulate” periods is a heavily flawed concept! 

The pill is also often prescribed to help with teen acne. Most OCP’s contain oestrogen and progestin - not the same as progesterone. Progestins affect the body very differently to natural progesterone, mainly because they are a) synthetic and b) highly androgenic (a male sex hormone) acting like testosterone. An increase in androgens can trigger the excess production of sebum = pores become clogged = trapping dead skin and dirt and causing the formation of spots. 

Higher Androgen-like Progestins: 
Generic names                     Brands of OCP
Levonorgestrel                     Microgynon, Rigevidon and Ovranette
Desogestrel                          Cerazette
Norethisterone                    Loestrin 20
Medroxyprogesterone        Depo-Provera, Noristerat & Sayana Press (The contraceptive injection)

In the UK there are three brands of injection Depo-Provera, Sayana Press and Noristerat. The talk among young women is this is the “best”.....lets look at the “possible” side effects:

  • Periods – your periods may become irregular, heavier, shorter, lighter or stop altogether. These changes can carry on for some months after you discontinue using the injection
  • Weight – you may put on weight due to a change in appetite. Headaches
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hair loss
  • Sex drive – you may lose interest in sex
  • Mood swings

These side effects can last as long as the injection does and they can continue for some time after you have stopped using the contraceptive injection. Once you have come off of the injection it can take a year for your periods to go back to normal!

Takeaway: progestins in OCT and some HRT preparations (yes menopause ladies -  heads up!) are not progesterone, and if they contain higher androgen-like qualities can result in unwanted side effects of weight gain, mood disturbances and acne….. Check your prescriptions! and see lower androgen products & body identical progesterone below.

Lower androgen like progestins: 
Generic names                Brands of OCP
Norgestimate                  Cilique
Drospirenone                  Yasmin
Cyproterone                    Dianette

Progesterone: Body-identical PROGESTERONE Utrogestan