THE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL AND PCOS
When you were first diagnosed with PCOS, let me guess? Your GP offered you the birth control pill, convincing you this would ‘help your symptoms’, ‘regulate your cycle’ and ‘shrink your cysts’?
Yup, I’ve been through this many times, trusting my doctor as that’s what we’re meant to do – right? Little did I know that they really don’t have any idea about PCOS and how the pill can actually make it worse.
Contraception such as the pill, The Mirena IUD and the depo injection are excellent contraception tools, doing exactly what they are meant to – stop you from getting pregnant.
However, when we load synthetic hormones into our body, we are only contributing to the hormone imbalance we already have. They are not designed to ‘regulate’ our cycle.
The menstrual cycle is far more than a bleed, and after we ovulate our progesterone rises. When our body realizes, we aren’t pregnant, the levels drop drastically causing our uterus lining to shed – AKA a period.
The way the pill works is by blocking our body from ovulating. In each one of those pills you’re popping in a synthetic form of estrogen and progesterone which basically mimic our natural hormones.
The Pill and PCOS do not benefit one another in the long run!
When we bleed, you might think this is the main part of your cycle. However the reason you aren’t getting a natural period or why its so irregular is because your body is struggling to ovulate.
The pill only suppresses our natural hormones and therefore can switch ovulation off altogether.
I will never forget after being on the pill with PCOS for several years, I went for my first ultrasound when I moved to Dubai and was shocked to see the effects. My ovaries had shrunk so badly the nurse couldn’t find them. My LH was incredibly high, which is the hormone that stops ovulation.
If LH is too high, then the ratio of LH to FSH is unbalanced. The result of this is that an egg won’t be released.
I was told I would never be able to have kids or a family.
I’ve always coped with bad news quite well, blocking it out and keeping busy to not think about it. However, this was a totally different ball game. I literally broke down, tears pouring out my eyes not being able to breathe.
It was at this moment I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and do something about it. I made it my absolute mission to fully understand PCOS and get to the bottom of it.
Hence now, 15 years on from my first diagnosis I’m medication free, symptom free and I’ve completely reversed it.
I never want ANY of you to go through what I did. That absolute devastation, heartbreak and an all-time low.
I felt like a failure, and completely helpless. No one should ever have to feel that way.
We need to address the ROOT cause and dive deeper into our health. Our bodies are telling us something if they are in pain or something isn’t working correctly. Medication is not the answer and can just make things worse in the long run.
INSULIN RESISTANCE, THE PILL AND PCOS
Fun fact for you today you might not be aware of – the pill can actually CAUSE insulin resistance. This is a huge contributor to actually worsening our symptoms.
The pill causes a 30-40% reduction in insulin sensitivity.
For those that aren’t aware, insulin resistance is known as pre-diabetes. When our insulin is high, it causes our ovaries to produce more testosterone than we need. This leads to PCOS.
High levels of insulin equals many nasty symptoms such as Hirsutism – abnormal hair growth in areas such as the face, back and chest.
TESTOSTERONE, THE PILL AND PCOS
Many women will see symptoms such as hair growth reduce when they start taking the pill with PCOS. That’s because testosterone is reduced. This may seem great at the time, but it doesn’t fix the ROOT CAUSE of why the ovaries are over-producing in the first place.
80% of women have insulin resistance with PCOS. If we focus on this, and reduce the levels through nutrition and exercise, other symptoms will disappear too.
Contraception is obviously very clever, helping many couples be intimate without getting pregnant when the time isn’t right. It is a very personal choice with your preferred method and needs to be right for you.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and from my personal experience I have taken the route to be medication free for the rest of my life. I’ve written this to help you understand how important your menstrual cycle is and to have proper, natural periods.
I don’t know too much about contraception methods as there are so many out there, however here are a few I’m aware of –
FERTILITY AWARENESS METHOD (FAM)
You are only fertile for about 6 days of your cycle. FAM uses signs such as cervical mucus and temperature to confirm when these days are. If you don’t want a little one just yet, on these days make sure to use condoms!
I didn’t think this was a very safe method, however Studies have shown that the fertility awareness method is 98.2% effective for contraception. This is very similar to the pill.
Of course, this will only work if a women understands her cycle and the right education is given. A recent Australian study found that 87% of women who had been trying to conceive for a year, didn’t accurately know when they were ovulating (even though they thought they did).
If you are looking for something more physical which you trust a bit more, then the copper coil is 99.4% effective, making it more so than the pill.
This is the only one I recommend to my clients, as it doesn’t contain hormones or switch off ovulation. How it works is with the uterus, basically making it a place the sperm can’t live!
Once the IUD is removed, your periods return like normal so it doesn’t affect your chances of having a child when the time is right.
I’ve personally never had it, but I have heard from a few people that the copper coil can induce quite heavy and painful periods. We are all different, so give it a go and if your body doesn’t like it you can always get it out!
OLD FASHIONED CONDOMS
Condoms. Yes, they can ruin the moment and reduce the overall intimate experience, however they are 98% effective AND the only way to stop you getting an STD.
So don’t be silly, wrap that willy!
HOW CAN YOU REDUCE YOUR ANDROGENS NATURALLY?
As I mentioned before, 80% of women with PCOS suffer with insulin resistance. This can be easily managed through diet and exercise alone. Treating the underlying cause is the best way to overcome PCOS.
I would really encourage you to join my 1 to 1 coaching program.
I will help you understand why you aren’t ovulating and suffer from the nasty PCOS symptoms. I will provide nutrition and lifestyle advice, easy swaps and recommendations to ensure you say bye bye to PCOS for good!
Love as ever,
PS – firstname.lastname@example.org – I always LOVE receiving your emails with any questions of feedback. Go on – send me a quick one now and I’ll get back to you ASAP sister!