Absolutely. Used as directed, the pill is convenient, generally safe and around 99 percent effective. However, so many women on the pill experience a range of side effects like weight gain, fatigue or a drop in sex drive, but they can never figure out WHY. It’s the pill. Most versions use a combination of synthetic estrogen and progesterone to replace hormones the ovaries would normally produce; effectively “tricking” them into shutting down in order to prevent ovulation.
The problem? It’s missing a key ingredient. The ovaries make around 90 percent of the testosterone the body needs to function well; and the rest is made by the adrenals. Testosterone is 40 percent of women’s hormonal makeup, so now the body must now rely on the 10 percent that’s still made by the adrenals to drive all the metabolic functions. That’s a critical deficit, and over time and years of use, there can be health consequences. “Low estrogen” pills are worst of all, because they contain lots of progesterone, the PMS hormone that makes us gain weight, bloat, and feel irritable before we start our periods.
Oral contraceptives also process through the liver, producing a protein that starts to bind up testosterone made by the adrenal glands, and another that binds the “free thyroid” hormone needed to fuel metabolism. Testosterone deficiencies, or low T, cause weight gain, fatigue, low libido, mental clarity, and increase insulin resistance, so we gain more weight, and the cycle continues — raising the risk for diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and other serious conditions. Smokers should avoid using OCP due to increased risk of clotting and strokes.
Consider a non-oral contraceptive method like Nuvaring, IUDs or the Ortho-Evra patch. These aren’t processed by the liver, so they don’t bind up testosterone made by the adrenals, and are less likely to produce side effects.