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Hormonal birth control (The Pill) and primal living.

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  • Hormonal birth control (The Pill) and primal living.

    Women (men are welcome too of course) of MDA, I'd like to have a general discussion! Personal experiences, research, everything.

    Prompted in part by this post: http://huntgatherlove.com/content/co...ll-be-ok-right But I've been thinking, and reading, about the pros and cons of, and research on, HBC for a long time.

    I'm 25 and have never used it. Given that I've had a period every month for 11 years now, and that I have no plans for kids in my immediate future, and also that I would love to experience weight gain as a side effect since I'm perpetually skinny - I've been thinking of taking the pill. Just for 9 months or so, to give my body a break from cycling, simulate a pregnancy. What say you?

  • #2
    I say don't mess with your body chemistry, not to mention risking breast and other cancers later in life, in order to gain weight. Try eating more and/or exercising less.

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    • #3
      Don't do it. Too easy to stay on it, IMO.
      I was on the Pill for 23 years and it really messed up my hormones. And it was low-dose.
      Learn fertility awareness for birth control. Eat more red meat/liver for iron.

      Plus, there is some evidence that our pheromones change when we are on the Pill and that men who are attracted to us when we are on the Pill may not be attracted to us at all when we go off it--and vice-versa.
      Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
      Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
      Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article

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      • #4
        I personally would not go near it with a 10 foot pole. I recommend checking this web site out http://familydoctor.org/online/famdo...ptive/126.html. No hormones, or additives in your body. =)

        This one is pretty good as well http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pre...renessNFP.html
        Last edited by freethinkingcavewoman; 02-06-2011, 12:30 PM. Reason: added link
        http://freethinkingcavewoman.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          HBC has a lot of far-reaching consequences including estrogen dominance, leaky gut, potential thyroid problems, weight gain/difficulty losing weight, increased caner risk, etc.
          http://www.prettyinprimal.blogspot.com

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          • #6
            I think it's important to balance the risks of the pill against the risks of unintended pregnancy, both physical and emotional for you. Short-term pill use prior to wanting a family, then fertile years using natural spacing techniques (at a time when an oops wouldn't matter as much) then permanent birth control through tube tying or vasectomy might be a good balance of risks and benefits.

            For me, the pill went into the category of "I'll take the increased cancer etc risks in return for the benefits". And I'm still OK with that, despite getting cancer which was at a minimum a side-product of pill use (cervical cancer, which I wouldn't have had if I'd used barrier methods).
            Liz.

            Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
            Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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            • #7
              I took the pill for years too, and ended up with breast cancer. May or may not be any causation in that correlation. For me, as a youngster, the benefits outweighed the risks too.

              My concern is that the OP cited weight gain as a reason to take the pill. Seems like there are better ways to achieve that.

              Also, there are a lot more non-hormonal options available these days than there were for us back in the day. For example the technology of IUDs has come a long way.

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              • #8
                Yes, the IUD was my favorite form. I almost mentioned it, but I know they used to recommend it primarily for people who've had one baby already. But I do recall hearing somewhere that they've relaxed that now.

                And yes....using the pill for weight gain is not something I'd recommend. (Getting pregnant's actually better for that )
                Liz.

                Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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                • #9
                  I have tried many different hormonal contraceptives and can say for me they adversely affected me in many ways. I stopped taking Depo Provera a few months back and oh god I'm still messed up from it, but my cycles seem to be getting better. I don't think I have actually ovulated even though I got my last shot approx 6 months ago.

                  I wouldn't suggest it for the reasons you are mentioning. I do think it's important to have available for those looking to prevent pregnancy that condoms or FAM will not work for. Having had a few unplanned pregnancies I can say I would prefer to have the birth control effects than conceive a child without intending to.

                  Of the hormonal birth control methods available I would say merina IUD or the nuva ring stacked up as the best options in my research. Depo Provera is absolutely the worst. If you want something non hormonal you could go with a copper IUD but that could make the periods worse.

                  Also for anyone looking at an IUD I don't suggest using it if you use a Diva Cup. The suction created by the Diva Cup to stay in place and when removing can dislodge an IUD. I had it happen. Twice. (conceived my twins right after the first time).

                  For now I am happy finally living life off of hormones and since I'm not in a relationship I use condoms regardless when I get some play so it works for me. The weight loss, my moods, my skin, my life all dramatically improved once the depo started wearing off.


                  eta- The weight gain this is complicated. I have seen studies that indicate that it is much more difficult for women on hormonal BC to build muscle tissue- def not what you want. I am far too lazy to google and link this info but it's something to look up if you are thinking about taking it for "weight gain". It certainly wouldn't help your body composition, IMO.

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                  • #10
                    Ok, I'm playing devil's advocate here.

                    It upsets me a little bit when I read that people are so against The Pill, because I am currently taking one (Loestrin 24 Fe) and it kind of makes me feel like even though I'm doing everything else right, I'm still screwing up my body.

                    I took Yasmin a couple years back for hormonal issues (not birth control) and even though I was really thriving on it I think it messed with my head after a while. I got really horrible anxiety (I'm an anxious little person to begin with) and some other pretty bad side effects. I decided to discontinue the pill and wrote a lengthy thread on the "Yasmin survivors" (yes, it's that serious) saying that I'd never touch a hormonal bcp again.

                    Fast forward a couple of years, and I'm back on another one. Why, after being ridiculously adament before?

                    Because after two years of trying to control debilitating endometriosis and PCOS, I just couldn't take the constant pain anymore.

                    I tried regulating my hormones myself for too long. I went to a naturopathic doctor. I did the progesterone cream and the chinese herbs, the dong quai teas and the estrogen blockers and I was still nearly hospitalized once a month because of crippling pain, or going without a period for months at a time. When I did have a monthly cycle, I was bloated, exhausted, and in pain for two weeks out of the month.

                    So I succumbed. Like everything in life, you have to consider the trade-offs. Will make it a little more difficult to lose weight because I'm on this pill? Maybe. Am I manipulating my body's own (effed up) hormones? Yes.

                    But is it worth not being in constant pain or developing stress-based insomnia due to missing a period 5 months in a row? In my opinion, abso-freakin-lutely.

                    "The Way We Do Anything Is the Way We Do Everything"
                    ~ Kancho Cameron Shayne

                    Blog - The Primal Pantry
                    My Leangains/Primal Lifestyle Challenge to begin 2/7/11!
                    Check out the Blog for Daily Progress

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                    • #11
                      i'm sort of in a similar situation - i have been considering taking the pill to get my period back under control, even though i know it'll wreak havoc on my body. i haven't had a period in 8 months now, and it's gotten to the point where my mom and others have urged me to look into hormone treatments or, at the very least, a low-dose BC. this isn't the longest i've ever gone w/o a period, but it's the longest i've gone while at a healthy weight/eating properly/exercising moderately/being in great general health. no extreme stress, no huge changes...but my body is still rebelling.

                      like i said, i've only been considering it. but it's gotten kind of worrisome, and there's the small fact that i do want to get pregnant somewhere down the line, and i don't want to develop complications before/during/after pregnancy.

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                      • #12
                        I found that the pill didn't result in weight gain for me. I'm going back on low-dose stuff next month (Alesse, or something similar), because when I was on that I had no issues whatsoever. I only started having issues with subsequent brands probably after I started developing gluten intolerance (which I don't think in any way is related to pill use)--so I was on pills that were bad for my body, and unknowingly developing an autoimmune disorder, so I stopped them. Just make sure you talk to a good doctor when looking for a prescription...make sure they really listen to you about any past medical problems or concerns you may have had. I went to two doctors after being on Alesse for a year that clearly weren't interested in my medical history, and ended up going through two different brands that were bad for me--which I only discovered through my own research afterwards. I wish they had never insisted that I switch contraceptives to begin with.

                        The Pill isn't perfect. But I'm not married, am in a relationship, am not prepared in any way to have children, and don't want to have to rely on condoms--so I think this is the next most responsible thing. Some people do well with natural family planning but that is not realistic for a lot of people, unless they're very well informed on it and prepared for the possibility of unplanned pregnancies. But I know I am not ready to be a mother, and my body can handle low-dose contraceptives. There are horror stories out there but there are also plenty of women that go on the pill for a few years, go off of it when they're ready to start a family, with no problems they can trace back to pill use. It's just a matter of finding a pill that is right for you.
                        I don't own a scale and don't care to!

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                        • #13
                          I would recommend looking into the Paragard IUD if you're looking for an alternative to a BC pill. It won't make you gain weight (since it is hormone-free, which is why I chose it), but like others have said, I'm not sure you should take the Pill primarily because you want to gain weight. If your primary goal in beginning BC were to prevent pregnancy, though, I would absolutely recommend Paragard. I've had it for five months and have never had a baby, and it's been wonderful. Once it's inserted, you don't have to ever think abotu BC again for 10 years. It rocks.

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                          • #14
                            I had a lack of periods for 18 months, long cycles before that. Investigations show low lh and no oestrogen! So doc reccommended microgyn. I have been on for 2 months and I feel really low, really low. This is my first time on OC. I am considering finishing my second packet and taking a break for 2 months to see if my mood changes . I can't continue to feel so bad. I have a holiday booked next week and don't feel like going, just want to sleep. Perhaps I need to change pill? I don't want to mess around with my hormones but I feel so low. Not good.

                            I don't even know if the hormones are causing the low mood and general tiredness. I am new to primal too so there are a few things in the mix.

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                            • #15
                              As I recently had a pulmonary embolism caused by Birth Control pills (and a previously undetected genetic condition), my tendency is to shy away from hormonal birth control and scream "don't do it!" to everyone.

                              That said, if you need it (for the regular reasons, or health reasons like PCOS or what have you) just consult carefully and go for it. Know the risks before hand, though. For real. If anyone in your immediate family has had blood clots, get tested for Factor V Leiden and other clotting disorders before going on them.

                              The other thing to consider is mood. Having no period is fine and dandy (I had gone 3 yrs without one, thanks to Loestrin FE!) and there can be some benefits to that. But the drawbacks? Every BCP I ever tried had serious mental effects on me. At best, I was indecisive or fatigued all the time. At worst, I was out and out depressed. I have a friend who switched BCP and the one she went on made her near suicidal. Messing with hormones is a very serious thing.

                              Off of BCP I felt much more awake, much more in charge of myself, and more mentally clear.

                              I think a lot of women go on BCP just because that's what people do - and many don't really get all the health implications. Investigate carefully Also note mental issues/depression/fatigue can sneak up on you. You may not even realize it's happening because it's so gradual. I went off BCPs about 7 years ago for 1 year, and was amazed at how shitty I'd actually been feeling. I only noticed it when I got the stuff out of my system.

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