Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues

Birth control pills may contain varying levels of estrogens and progestins (not natural progesterone) and different preparations can affect nutrients differently.

The list of possible side-effects for Depo Provera injections experienced by 1% to over 5% of subjects have been included elsewhere.

Events reported by fewer than 1% of subjects included: galactorrhea, melasma, chloasma, convulsions, changes in appetite, gastrointestinal disturbances, jaundice, genitourinary infections, vaginal cysts, dyspareunia, paresthesia, chest pain, pulmonary embolus, allergic reactions, anemia, drowsiness, syncope, dyspnea and asthma, tachycardia, fever, excessive sweating and body odor, dry skin, chills, increased libido, excessive thirst, hoarseness, pain at injection site, blood dyscrasia, rectal bleeding, changes in breast size, breast lumps or nipple bleeding, axillary swelling, breast cancer, prevention of lactation, sensation of pregnancy, lack of return to fertility, paralysis, facial palsy, scleroderma, osteoporosis, uterine hyperplasia, cervical cancer, varicose veins, dysmenorrhea, hirsutism, unexpected pregnancy, thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis.

 


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General  

(Severe) abdominal discomfort



Symptoms - General  

Fatigability



 

Dizziness when standing up



 

General dizziness



Symptoms - Mind - Emotional  

Being anxious/nervous



Symptoms - Muscular  

Leg/foot cramps



Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle  

Constant hot flashes




Conditions that suggest Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues

Circulation  


Digestion  


Hormones  

Hirsutism

Some types of progestins can have androgenic effects and some women on birth control pills with an older formulation can find hair loss or hirsutism is actually promoted by the pill. Synthetically made progestins in birth control pills are not the same as naturally produced progestins like progesterone. Some synthetic progestins are structurally very similar to testosterone and/or estrogen so their androgenic or antiandrogenic effects supplement an individual’s natural hormone production levels. The response is quite variable from person to person. While some people have excess hair growth from using the pills others may develop hair loss.

New birth control pill formulations contain progestins with less androgenic activity. For example norgestimate or desogestrel are non-androgenic progestins used in modern birth control pill formulations. Those that find birth control pills promote excess hair growth or hair loss usually find switching to another formulation helps. Excess hair growth is usually reversible, but some dermatologists suggest that once androgenetic alopecia is activated it is difficult to stop or reverse even when the original trigger factor is removed.



 


Mental  


Metabolic  

Problem Caused By Being Overweight

If you’re concerned about gaining weight from the Pill, you should talk to your healthcare professional about which combination of hormones is right for you. An equal number of women tend to lose weight as gain weight while taking a birth control pill.



 

Hemochromatosis (Iron overload)

Premenopausal women using oral contraceptives may have a decreased need for supplemental iron, as the use of OCs can increase iron stores. Iron testing may be appropriate in long term users.



 


 


 


Musculo-Skeletal  


Nutrients  

Folic Acid Requirement

Birth control pill use tends to cause folic acid depletion.



 

Vitamin B6 Requirement

Several B vitamins are affected negatively by birth control pill use, especially vitamin B6 if depression is present.



 

Selenium Requirement

Selenium absorption may be reduced by the use of oral contraceptives.



 

Vitamin B Complex Requirement

As several B vitamins are affected negatively by birth control pill use, a B complex supplement is advisable.



 

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C levels are lowered by OC use which interferes with the metabolism of ascorbic acid.



Pain  


Risks  

Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

A British study sounds an alarm for some women who use the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera. The alert applies only to women at increased risk of cardiovascular disease because of a risk factor such as diabetes, high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease, says Dr. Dudley J. Pennell, leader of the study. A warning is needed because the study shows that Depo-Provera can reduce the ability of arteries to widen, so that they might not respond to a need for increased blood flow. That failure could result in a blockage that would cause a heart attack. His study contradicts the conventional wisdom that Depo-Provera is safer than other contraceptives for women at increased risk of heart disease. [Circulation, Sept. 3, 2002]

The combined effect of smoking and using birth control pills presents a significantly increased risk of suffering a fatal heart attack for women. Research demonstrates a 500% increase in the risk of a fatal heart attack when smoking is added to the risks associated with oral contraceptives alone.



Skin-Hair-Nails  


 


 


Uro-Genital  

Cervical Dysplasia

Birth control pills tend to increase the risk of cervical dysplasia.



 



Risk factors for Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues

Lab Values - Chemistries  

Excellent HDL level



Supplements and Medications  

Current birth control pill use



 

History of birth control pill use



 

Progestin use



Counter Indicators
Supplements and Medications  

No history of birth control pill use



 

Not currenlty on birth control pill



Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle  

Breast soreness with amenorrhea




Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues can lead to

Hormones  

Hirsutism

Some types of progestins can have androgenic effects and some women on birth control pills with an older formulation can find hair loss or hirsutism is actually promoted by the pill. Synthetically made progestins in birth control pills are not the same as naturally produced progestins like progesterone. Some synthetic progestins are structurally very similar to testosterone and/or estrogen so their androgenic or antiandrogenic effects supplement an individual’s natural hormone production levels. The response is quite variable from person to person. While some people have excess hair growth from using the pills others may develop hair loss.

New birth control pill formulations contain progestins with less androgenic activity. For example norgestimate or desogestrel are non-androgenic progestins used in modern birth control pill formulations. Those that find birth control pills promote excess hair growth or hair loss usually find switching to another formulation helps. Excess hair growth is usually reversible, but some dermatologists suggest that once androgenetic alopecia is activated it is difficult to stop or reverse even when the original trigger factor is removed.



Metabolic  


Skin-Hair-Nails  

Female Hair Loss

Women starting or stopping birth control pill use have experienced hair loss.



Uro-Genital  

Metrorrhagia

While birth contol pills can help with abnormal menstrual bleeding, irregular menstrual bleeding can be a side effect also.




Recommendations for Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues

Diet  

Lemons

After investigating traditional contraceptive techniques, an eminent Australian-based scientist, Roger Short, has proved that lemon juice diluted one to five with water kills HIV and sperm within seconds.

Historically, lemon juice on a sponge, or half a lemon placed over the cervix, was widely used as an effective contraceptive. He has shown that 20% lemon juice in human semen irreversibly immobilises 100% of sperm in less than 30 seconds. A similar concentration also rapidly inactivates HIV. Thus intra-vaginal lemon juice might provide a cheap, readily available and extremely effective way of stopping the sexual transmission of HIV, whilst also providing contraception. [AllAfrica.Com October 4, 2002]



Key

Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
Likely to help

Glossary

Galactorrhea

Galactorrhea is inappropriate lactation in the woman who is not pregnant or has not recently given birth. It can be unilateral or bilateral.

Gastrointestinal

Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Jaundice

Yellow discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes and excreta as a result of an excess of the pigment bilirubin in the bloodstream.

Cysts

A closed pocket or pouch of tissue; a cyst may form within any tissue in the body and can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material. Cysts within the lung generally are air filled, while cysts involving the lymph system or kidneys are fluid filled. Cysts under the skin are benign, extremely common, movable lumps. These may develop as a result of infection, clogging of sebaceous glands, developmental abnormalities or around foreign bodies.

Paresthesia

A skin sensation, such as burning, prickling, itching, or tingling, with no apparent physical cause.

Pulmonary

Pertaining to the lungs.

Anemia

A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.

Dyspnea

Difficult breathing.

Asthma

A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.

Tachycardia

Excessively rapid heart rate.

Dyscrasia

Abnormal or pathological imbalance due to excessive material in the blood.

Cancer

Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Lactation

Production of milk; period after giving birth during which milk is secreted in the breasts.

Osteoporosis

A disease in which bone tissue becomes porous and brittle. The disease primarily affects postmenopausal women.

Varicose Veins

Twisted, widened veins with incompetent valves.

Dysmenorrhea

Difficult or painful menstruation.

Thrombophlebitis

Venous inflammation with formation of clots. It can occur without any symptoms until the clot reaches the lungs. However, in about half of cases, there are warning symptoms including swelling, pain and warmth in the entire calf, ankle, foot, or thigh (depending on where the involved vein is located).

Thrombosis

Formation of blood clots causing vascular obstruction.

Testosterone

The principal male sex hormone that induces and maintains the changes that take place in males at puberty. In men, the testicles continue to produce testosterone throughout life, though there is some decline with age. A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.

Estrogen

One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.

Antiandrogenic

Substance capable of preventing full expression of the biological effects of androgenic hormones on responsive tissues, either by producing an antagonistic effect, as in the case of estrogen, or by competing for receptor sites on the cell surface.

Hormones

Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.

Alopecia

Loss of hair.

Premenopause

The period when women of childbearing age experience relatively normal reproductive function (including regular periods).

Iron

An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.

Folic Acid

A B-complex vitamin that functions along with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C in the utilization of proteins. It has an essential role in the formation of heme (the iron containing protein in hemoglobin necessary for the formation of red blood cells) and DNA. Folic acid is essential during pregnancy to prevent neural tubular defects in the developing fetus.

Vitamin B6

Influences many body functions including regulating blood glucose levels, manufacturing hemoglobin and aiding the utilization of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It also aids in the function of the nervous system.

Selenium

An essential element involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium- containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. Clinical studies show that selenium is important in lowering the risk of several types of cancers. In combination with Vitamin E, selenium aids the production of antibodies and helps maintain a healthy heart. It also aids in the function of the pancreas, provides elasticity to tissues and helps cells defend themselves against damage from oxidation.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.

Metabolism

The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Cardiovascular

Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Diabetes Mellitus

A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Cholesterol

A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Cervical Dysplasia

Abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix, classified as either mild (70% of cases fall into this category; the cells regress on their own), moderate, or severe, or as class 1, 2 or 3. While dysplasia itself does not cause health problems, it is considered to be a precancerous condition. Left untreated, dysplasia sometimes progresses to an early form of cancer known as cervical carcinoma in situ, and eventually to invasive cervical cancer.

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