I know how scary it can feel to come off the pill. I was on it for 7 years and believed so strongly that I needed to be on it, to prevent my endometriosis from spreading and getting worse. I was completely convinced that it was my only hope at keeping endometriosis at bay. This message had been drilled into me by my doctor for years and though I experienced incredible side-effects from being on the pill, I didn’t want to take the risk of endometriosis getting worse.
The trouble is, that this approach is limited. It is limited by the way we look at the body and how we approach healing.
Why is the Contraceptive Pill Recommended?
When we consider what endometriosis is, it makes sense that the contraceptive pill might be considered as a treatment option for it. The cells which are supposed to line our uterus are essentially misplaced and sit within the abdominal cavity. These cells do what they do normally inside the uterine lining – they grow and change as our hormones change. They also shed like they would in the uterus, causing more cysts and nodules and bumps on the surface of pelvic organs.
The idea behind taking the contraceptive pill is that we stop this natural cycle of these cells and stop menstruation completely. The theory is that by stopping menstruation, we stop the cells growing and thereby stop growths of endometriosis.
What are the flaws with this approach?
We haven’t treated anything by being on the pill! The cells and lesions simply return once the “treatment” has stopped. Is this really any kind of treatment? The contraceptive pill might (and I say might) reduce the endometriosis growths but it isn’t actually treating endometriosis when it simply returns when we stop taking the contraceptive pill.
We are stopping a natural cycle within our womanly bodies and this is going to have all sorts of repercussions.
We are also creating further risks and health implications for our body which will directly affect our ability to manage endometriosis – slight irony there!
The Health Risks of being on the Contraceptive Pill
It is seldom we are told about women who have died of a stroke from being on the pill. It is seldom we are told that it completely changes our digestive lining and gut flora and that these are crucial for our overall health. We are so busy focusing on the endometriosis that we forget to realise that everything we put into the body has an effect on everything else.
The contraceptive pill is one of those things and poses many health risks for you beyond endometriosis:
- The contraceptive pill has been linked to an increase risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer.
- You are more likely to develop blood clots which could lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Because the contraceptive pill effects our digestive health, it will affect our ability to absorb valuable nutrients we need from our foods. Iron is a common one, which could lead to anaemia. Other common vitamins which can become depleted are the fat soluble vitamins which aid in detoxification, collagen production and circulation. The stress reduction vitamins are also often depleted, which include the B vitamins and most importantly folate. Folate is crucial for women who wish to get pregnant and can have implications on the health of their unborn baby!
- What’s interesting is that women with endometriosis are typically depleted on zinc, iron, magnesium and selenium – all of which become depleted further by being on the contraceptive pill.
Watch this interview I did with Jane Bennet on the dangers of the contraceptive pill.
My preferred approach
At some point we need to establish why those cells have decided to settle outside of the uterus and what they are doing there? There are more and more studies which are revealing the connection with endometriosis and auto-immune conditions and it’s connection with toxins in the body. Another study also indicated an immune deficiency which relates to low levels of NK Cells and how elevating them, could reduce the endometriosis. (read this study)
My approach looks at the whole body and at connections with the development of endometriosis. There are many factors which create imbalances within the body. We look at endometriosis by looking at reducing inflammation and pain, regulating hormones and supporting the immune system. This three pronged approach has been very effective in managing endometriosis for many women, including myself. Our digestive health and hormone health are vital in managing endometriosis and sadly this aspect of health is often overlooked and being on the contraceptive pill contributes to its disfunction.
If you come off the contraceptive pill and you don’t have an action plan or a strategy on how to rebalance your body holistically, then it is likely that yes, you will have issues with your endometriosis because the symptoms of endometriosis will return. However, if you treat endometriosis holistically and consider ALL aspects of the condition and how all our organs and body functions affect our health, then you will be able to manage endometriosis without the contraceptive pill.
I prefer to look at the root cause of endometriosis and treating the condition holistically. At least that way, I am not posing any further health risks on myself and I am a far happier, less moody person to be around.
The choice is yours but as always, get informed about what these supposed “treatments” are really doing for you.