How exactly do birth control pills destroy the gut? What does it mean when someone says that? I went on b/c years ago to clear up my skin. Totally worked, but not completely. Then I discovered Paleo in hopes that would clear up what I had left...and my skin's cleared up 80% but not completely. I still break out and it's always in the same spots on my face.
But I'm afraid of going off b/c because I don't want my acne coming back. I'm also sexually active and don't want to get pregnant. There's another reason I went on b/c in the first place....I used to get HORRIBLE pains and cramps when I got my period. It would last days and I would be bedbound because I couldn't move my legs. My cramps were AWFUL and I don't want to go back to that! I'm currently on Loestrin24 so since my b/c has low estrogen in it, I don't get a period at all. No period, no cramps, no babies. What more could I ask for, right? But I've been experiencing a lot of bloating and a thick midsection since starting Paleo 5 months ago-I can't seem to flatten my stomach, I've always had abs that stuck out. I was wondering if it was due to the b/c and it destroying my gut or my diet? Any advice?
asked byChris_14 (193)
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on June 11, 2011
at 02:16 PM
I was on the pill for many, many years due to irregular and painful periods. I was on ortho-tricyclen which was supposed to help with my acne. (which it did) After years without problems, my doctor switched me to orthotricyclen low so I'd have less hormones. Soon after I developed an infection that never went away and turned into chronic fatigue syndrome. I've now felt sick, flu like, every day for almost 4 years. Through more research I discovered that my health issues are linked to my gut. Basically I have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria (too much bad and no good). I have an overgrowth of candida (yeast) and my digestion is very poor. How did it get in such a bad state? Using birth control pills and taking antibiotics completely messed me up. I've been off the pill now for years and have stopped taking antibiotics. I'm trying to rebuild my digestive system and heal my gut through eating an autoimmune paleo diet and with lots and lots of bone broth. I also take probiotics! It's my personal opinion, but I would never, ever go back on the pill. I've been slowly trying to heal and it's taking my body forever. There is significant damage and now I really want to have a baby, but I need to wait until I get things all back to normal.
on June 11, 2011
at 05:42 AM
I used a copper IUD LINK TO IUD
It was the most natural choice I could find for myself because I couldn't use BC with hormones due to my cancer history. I liked it a lot, I had no heavy periods or bad reactions and I didn't have to remember to take something everyday, no weight gain, or no acne.
on December 09, 2011
at 11:53 PM
As someone who also takes a similar pill (mine has no estrogen, it's progestin-only) and also didn't get a period for a long time, you should be aware that it generally comes back. For some people, in a few months, for me, 2-3 years. That is, if I'm on it continually for 2-3 years, I start menstruating again.
I also get horrendous non-BCP periods (extreme allergies every 28 days like clockwork, people don't believe it until they see it). However, when my period does come back on the pill, it's not 1/2 as bad as without it.
All of this is to say (a) when the period does come back, the first one is a hormonal monster, so your bloating, etc., could be the lead-up to the first period you've had in a long time; (b) the rest of the periods, in my experience, are better, but they do come regularly just like when I'm not on the pill.
So, if that's the case for you (i.e., if your period pops up in the next week or two), either power through for a week or so and see how you feel, or go off it for a few months. When I do that and go back on, I get no periods for another 2-3 years. Some people also just generally think it's a good idea to go off of it every once in a while.
on December 09, 2011
at 11:30 PM
Another opinion besides IUDs is the Nuvaring, which leads to less hormonal exposure in the gut compared to pills.
I can't find any papers about intestinal permeability and BCP, but it's well-known that it can lead to vaginal yeast issues in some women, including myself. Nuvaring worked well for me. In terms of fat gain/loss, it's usually through other hormonal pathways and not the gut.
Ultimately you have to make the decision that's right for you. BCP might not be ideal, but it's better than an unplanned pregnancy.
on December 09, 2011
at 10:55 PM
I know nothing about birth control and the gut but I was in a similar position with acne. After going paleo most of my acne was resolved but not all of it. After about 8 months of testing all sorts of diets I finally figured out that it was nightshades that cause my acne. I already knew that tomatoes caused me problems but I didn't realize until two weeks ago that potatoes also caused me problems. Since this realisation I haven't gotten a single spot! Something that hasn't happened in years.
So my point is check to see if you could have a food intolerance. Now I'm sure food intolerances are just a symptom of poor gut health but it seems like gut health can take a long time to fix so for the short term in might be worth thinking about.
on June 18, 2011
at 08:37 AM
I recommend women avoid the birth control pill – since not only does it mess with your hormone balance (which is key to foundational health), it creates a gut environment that makes it difficult to establish a healthy bacterial flora. Increased estrogen during pregnancy leads to higher sugar levels, the preferred food of ‘bad’ bacteria and Candida albicans yeast. Likewise, the surge in estrogen from the birth control pill causes this same candida overgrowth and proliferation of unhealthy bacteria in the gut. If that’s not nasty enough, continual, high levels of estrogen will also increase your risk of breast cancer, blood clots and thin your bones. Just like menopausal women have come to realize that one of the reasons medical Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is damaging is due to the estrogen – well, guess what? If its not healthy for you at 40, why would it be healthy for you at 30, or 20? Okay, so if you don’t want to use the birth control pill (BCP), then what can you use that is safe and reliable? There are a number of family planning methods that – when used correctly – have similar efficacy rates to the BCP. The Creighton Model Fertility Care System (CrM) is one recommended by Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND (who has contributed many articles and teleseminars for our JPT Wellness Circle) and it is based on the well-known Billings Method.