The Consequences of Birth Control

Birth control is one of the worst pills you could ever take. If you were handed a pill and given a long list of negative side effects alongside it that included blood clots, cancer, high blood pressure, mood changes (including depression), cardiovascular issues (including heart attack and stroke), loss of vision, liver tumors, etc., why on earth would you even think to take it? Where is the common sense? This pill not only harms the women’s body but men, children and the environment as well. Birth control floods the women’s body of  high doses of artificial estrogen and progesterone. The contents of the pill eventually passes through the women's body when she uses the restroom and the artificial estrogen and progesterone gets into our environment and our drinking water. The pill does a lot more damage than you may think. 

I am going to start off this blog by explaining why you do not need birth control to regulate your period. Some women take this pill due to heavy or irregular periods. Having a heavier than normal or irregular period means you are unhealthy. A lot of the unnecessary and harmful food ingredients America adds into our food is a factor to this, such as seed oils and food dyes (Read my blog called "Food Ingredients To Avoid” to learn more). The National Institute of Child Health and Development has stated that irregular periods can be due to “hormonal imbalances, infections, diseases, trauma, and certain medications.” There are a lot of factors that can cause a hormonal imbalance such as harmful food ingredients, as I mentioned, certain cooking, and cleaning supplies. Some cooking supplies can contain toxic heavy metals. Toxic heavy metals can serve as endocrine disruptors which affect hormone homeostasis. Most non-stick cooking supplies also contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a large class of man-made chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they are very difficult to break down or destroy. There are thousands of different kinds of PFAS, which are commonly used in cookware and food packaging, such as takeout containers and microwave popcorn bags. Since the 1960s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized PFAS for use in cookware, food packaging, and food processing. These toxic metals and man-made chemicals can also leach into your food. I suggest using cast-iron cookware, it does not leach any toxic chemicals and heavy metals into your food. A lot of cleaning supplies contain hazardous chemicals, which are endocrine disruptors as well. I suggest visiting Chem Trusts website, protecting humans and wildlife from harmful chemicals. They explain how to avoid cleaning products that have endocrine disruptors in them, and how to make your own safe cleaning supplies! I want to make a clear point that there are a vast-amount of common everyday items that can actually be harming you. It is best to do your own research on topics like this for you to be safe. Always think for yourself and do your own research. If suggested I can write a blog about all the different hormone disruptors. I am now going to discuss how stress can cause both irregular and heavy periods. “Stress, whether emotional, nutritional, or physical, can cause an increase in endorphins and cortisol secretion which interrupt hormone production,” explained Randa J. Jalloul, MD, OB-GYN specialist with UT Physicians. This can lead to an abnormal menstrual cycle. “High levels of stress can even stop ovulation and menstruation altogether. This is called functional hypothalamic amenorrhea”, explains Joanna Jan, MD., expertise in internal medicine and primary care. A birth control pill will not make stress, toxic metals and chemicals go away. This is the point I want to make. These factors will still be there, hurting your body. The pill does not make you healthier. It is just another factor that adds onto hurting your body. I only discussed stress and two factors that cause hormonal imbalances, but there is much more that can cause irregular or heavy periods. However, the pill will not make you healthier. I know it can regulate your period and make it lighter, but the harmful factors that are actually causing that are still there. Some people have the misinterpretation that this pill makes them “healthier” because it can do this. It does not. You need to find the root cause, not take a pill and have those factors still present. There are many negative side effects to this pill, please think for yourself. I understand women do not want to get pregnant or have unprotected sex and end up turning to birth control for those reasons, but you can only get pregnant six days during the menstrual cycle. Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences explains that this fertility window “comprises the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself.” I urge everyone to be aware of how the human body functions.

The contents of birth control gets into our environment. When a woman takes birth control the synthetic hormones, such as estrogen (EE2) and progesterone, passes through her when she uses the restroom or through sweat that gets washed down shower drains or washing machines. The synthetic hormones then “travel to a wastewater plant, and from there, they can get discharged into nearby waterways such as rivers and lakes — some of which are used as sources of drinking water.” Some synthetic hormones are also slow to break down and accumulate which makes them potentially hazardous over time, even in low doses. In his book, "Troubled Water," activist Seth Siegel says “scientists don't yet understand the health effects of this potential contamination.” According to Siegel, “birth-control pills add more than 10 million doses of synthetic estrogen to America's wastewater every day.” A 2010 study by a group of women in a program on reproductive health and the environment at the University of California, determined that “birth-control pills account for less than 1% of the total amount of estrogen found in US drinking water.” However, since local water systems don't test for EE2, the authors noted that “it's hard to say for sure how much of the hormone is in our water.” In the northeast a group of scientists with the U.S fish and wildlife service, have discovered that estrogen in rivers and lakes can "cause male fish to develop female biomarkers like ovaries.” Other studies have shown that "exposure to EE2 has led fish to become less fertile across generations.”  A group of scientists from the U. S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, have observed that “EE2 exposure during development induces transgenerational phenotypes of reproductive impairment and compromised embryonic survival in fish of subsequent generations.” If synthetic hormones affect fish so much as to develop ovaries in males, what effect does this have on humans? Diana Aga, a chemical-pollution expert at the State University of New York at Buffalo, stated that “it's possible for similar effects to crop up among more complex creatures." If we take a look at testosterone levels in men, there has been a rapid decline in the past few decades. A 2007 study by Dr. Thomas Travison and colleagues from the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, have found a "substantial" drop in U.S. men's testosterone levels since the 1980s, and “it does not appear to be related to age.” “The average levels of the male hormone dropped by 1 percent a year.” This means that, for example, “a 65-year-old man in 2002 would have testosterone levels 15 percent lower than those of a 65-year-old in 1987”. “This also means that a greater proportion of men in 2002 would have had below-normal testosterone levels than in 1987.” Travinson went on to state that “It's likely that some sort of environmental exposure is responsible for the testosterone decline.” Some sort of environmental exposure?...Interesting. Testerone levels do decline as you get older however, there has been a population-level drop with each generation, “at least since the 70’s.” states Dr Joshua Smith, a Research Scientist with a bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida. “This means, on average, Gen Zers and millennials have significantly lower testosterone levels compared to their predecessors.” There are many factors that go into this lower testosterone trend, I do believe that birth control plays a bigger factor. Birth control pills became available in 1960. In 2010, research conducted on 5,000 Danish men by the Rigshospitalet Clinic, shows that “those born in the 1960s have on average 14 percent lower testosterone levels than males from the 1920s.”  With Estrogen in the water men can also struggle with abnormal development such as developing more breast tissues. Chronic consumption of this estrogen can also affect the sexual development of pre-pubescent teenagers. The body of these groups of children relies much on the presence of the regulated amounts of female and male hormones to develop the appropriate sexual characteristics in the specific period. Estrogen and progesterone in the water and environment disrupts this balance of hormone homeostasis in pre-teens and teenagers causing a range of negative side effects including depression. Remember earlier when I wrote that the National Institute of Child Health and Development stated irregular periods can be due to “hormonal imbalances.” The contents of the birth control pill in the water causes exactly this. 

Now that you know how wide-spread the effects of birth control are, what are your thoughts on it? Would you take it, or allow your daughter to take it? I personally think that this pill is horrible for women. Even though only a woman consumes this pill, the contents of it goes into men, children, teenagers and the environment overall. This however is great for big pharma as it causes more people to purchase prescription medications. For example, men purchasing testosterone boosting medication and drugs to block the effects of estrogen in the body,  teenagers buying acne medication, even antidepressants. This pill causes a vast amount of wide-spread damage that is evident in our society. 

 

Resources

Bendix, Aria. “Birth-control pills could add 10 million doses of hormones to our wastewater every day. Some of that estrogen may wind up in our taps.”. 24, October 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/birth-control-pills-hormones-estrogen-drinking-water-health-effects-2019-10

Bhandari, R., vom Saal, F. & Tillitt, D. Transgenerational effects from early developmental exposures to bisphenol A or 17α-ethinylestradiol in medaka, Oryzias latipes. Sci Rep 5, 9303 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep09303

Harding, Anne. “Men’s testosterone levels declines in last 20 years”. 9, August 2007. https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKIM169763/

Joanna Jan, MD. “How Does Stress Affect the Menstrual Cycle?”. 1, November 2021.  MDhttps://www.goodrx.com/health-topic/womens-health/how-does-stress-affect-your-period

Maslen, Katherine. “Choosing the right non-stick cookware for your health.” January 2024. https://katherinemaslen.com/choosing-the-right-non-stick-cookware-for-your-health/#:~:text=ENDOCRINE%20DISRUPTORS%20THAT%20DON'T,as%20an%20endocrine%20disrupting%20chemical.

Nordal, Erlingur. “Testosterone levels decreasing in Danish men”. 17, May 2010. https://www.icenews.is/2010/05/17/testosterone-levels-decreasing-in-danish-men/#axzz4f1HF2xrr 

Smith, Joshua. “Why do Gen Z and millennial men have lower testosterone levels?” 10, January 2024. https://www.medichecks.com/blogs/testosterone/why-do-gen-z-and-millennial-men-have-lower-testosterone 

Sonnier, Simone. “How stress can affect your menstrual cycle”. 2, August 2022. https://www.utphysicians.com/how-stress-can-affect-your-menstrual-cycle/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CStress%2C%20whether%20emotional%2C%20nutritional,to%20an%20abnormal%20menstrual%20cycle.

Ruder, Kate. “Can Cooking With Nonstick Cookware Increase Your Cancer Risk?”.16, May 2023. https://www.cancer.net/blog/2023-05/can-cooking-with-nonstick-cookware-increase-your-cancer-risk#:~:text=Instead%20of%20PFOA%20or%20PFOS,these%20new%20types%20of%20PFAS

US Department of Health and Human Services. “What causes menstrual irregularities?.” 31, January 2017. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menstruation/conditioninfo/causes#:~:text=Menstrual%20irregularities%20can%20have%20a,%2C%20trauma%2C%20and%20certain%20medications.

Wilcox, Allen., Dunson, David., Baird, Donna Day. “The timing of the “fertile window” in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study”. 18, November 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC27529/#:~:text=During%20the%20average%20woman's%20menstrual,the%20day%20of%20ovulation%20itself.&text=Just%20as%20the%20day%20of,of%20the%20six%20fertile%20days.
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