Normally I’m a happy girl. I’m generally positive and easy-going.
On birth control I am another creature. Just ask Richard.
I eat vegan and organic, don’t smoke, don’t drink, run marathons… and take birth control every day. I’ve been on birth control pills for five months and had up my dosage halfway through that time. (First I took Loestrin24, now Microgestin.)
- it’s birth control
- more timely periods
- increase in cup size (yessssss)
- weight gain
- two periods a month until I switched to a higher dose
- mood swings
When looking at the good and bad paper it only makes sense that the bad outweigh the good and I should just get off the pill. But right now the birth control pill works well for my busy lifestyle, budget and place in life.
And a lot of women are in that boat. Some women love the BCP and take it for various reasons. Some have switched to other methods of birth control.
Below are some tips on how to still be the best you when you’re on that powerful little pill.
“Birth control pills deplete vitamin B6 and folic acid. Folic acid protects against birth defects and both vitamins protect against cervical dysplasia, the abnormal cell growth detected by a pap smear. You’re much better off if you can avoid birth control pills, but if you must take them, be sure to get 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 200 mcg of folic acid daily.
Vitamin B6 is also necessary for the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, both important brain chemicals… depletion can inhibit the production of serotonin, which increases a woman’s risks of becoming depressed. In one study, one third of the women taking oral contraceptives for two to five years were found to be suffering from depression.
Studies have reported that oral contraceptive use causes a significant decline in vitamin C levels….Some of the problems associated with vitamin C deficiency include a weakened immune system, poor wound healing and easy bruising.
Studies report that women taking oral contraceptives also have lower serum zinc levels… depletion of zinc may weaken the immune system in susceptible women.
…Women taking birth control pills will be increasingly susceptible to becoming magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency is associated with a greater incidence of osteoporosis, muscle cramps, weakness, insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as cardiovascular problems, including blood clots, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and increased risk of heart attacks.“ -source
I’ve been taking supplemental B6, 5-HTP and magnesium and have noticed a complete turnaround of my mood swings. I’ve felt more balanced and healthy than ever.
- Spotting can happen in-between cycles and will usually correct itself after a few months.
- If you’re having extra periods (like I was having), your dose might be too low. Talk to your doctor!
“For a few women, the pill may cause some weight gain, often due to fluid retention. But not significant amounts, and not for most women. Indeed, a review of 44 studies showed no evidence that birth control pills caused weight gain in most users. And, as with other possible side effects of the pill, the minimal weight gain is generally temporary, going away within two to three months.” -source
Eating a clean diet, avoiding salt and regularly exercising combats bloating and weight gain.
Nausea is common and can be avoided by taking the pill at night or with a meal. -source
I’ve felt very little nausea since switching to taking the pill at night.
It’s more of a concern to not take BCP if you suffer from migraines (as 18% of women do).
Some women have migraines the seven days they take the BCP without estrogen. The drop in estrogen can trigger a migraine.
“Talk with your doctor if you think birth control pills are making your migraines worse. Switching to a pill pack in which all the pills for the entire month contain hormones and using that for three months in a row can improve headaches. Lifestyle changes, such as getting on a regular sleep pattern and eating healthy foods, can help too.” -source
Any other symptoms or tips you have related to birth control? Start a conversation in the comments!