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Is The Birth Control Patch Good for Perimenopause Misery? 

 July 20, 2020

By  Dana LaVoie, LAc

Is the birth control pill or patch good for perimenopause misery?

Is the pill or patch a good choice for controlling the symptoms of perimenopause?  

In this video we're going to look at

#1 How much the birth control pill or patch can help with individual symptoms of perimenopause 

#2 The overall pros and cons to using the pill or patch

#3 Possible alternatives that may help get the same relief but are more targeted for some of the other changes happening during perimenopause

Get customized next steps on how to using diet, lifestyle, and supplements to balance hormones for menopause relief and healthier aging - all based on your FREE Hormone IQ Quiz results. 

Let's look at the birth control patch's potential for helping with particular symptoms that are often problems during perimenopause


First - mood changes.

One one hand - Dr Sara Gottfried says the birth control pill can make PMS and especially the emotional symptoms of PMS like mood swings or depression worse

But Shannon Perry says that low-dose birth control pills may ease mood swings during perimenopause.

So it could go either way on using birht control pills for perimenopause anxiety.


Heavy bleeding and irregular periods

This is one where - yes.  Birth control pills can help with irregular periods and help control heavy bleeding.

But irregular periods are normal during perimenopause as your periods taper off then stop.  This happens when your body is ready, and while both control pills won't necessarily delay menopause, you don't necessarily want to mask that happening. 

And heavy bleeding during perimenopause - where the bleeding itself is too heavy and/or the periods are too close together - are often related to low progesterone.

But there are ways to supplement progesterone and help control to bleeding that are more targeted to perimenopausal low progesterone than to contraception. 

We'll talk about this more in a minute - especially as it relates to some of your other sex hormones like testosterone!


Migraines

This one would be a no.  Because some sources have found that the pill or patch can make migraines worse, and if you're like me and you get migraines...

You don't ever want to take a chance of getting on something that could make them worse if when you go off that new thing - it could take your body over a year to go back to normal!  (Which can be the case with the pill)


Libido and Lubrication

This would be a no.  Because the birth control pill decreases testosterone, which may cause low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse.

25 percent of women on the birth control pill have decreased lubrication, vaginal dryness, and lack of arousal.  and since this is something so common in peri and menopause, we want to be doing everything we can to prevent it.  We always want to promote a great sex life in your 4os and 50s and 60s and 70s - not be doing anything we know is likely to make that harder.


Hot Flashes 

The pill may help control hot flashes during perimenopause - because its raising your hormone levels a bit.  So yes it can help with this.  But - HRT or herbal remedies targeted at perimenopause can do the same thing without some of the side effects.


So the pill may help with some perimenopausal discomforts but not with all, and it may not be the best way to get relief.   And yes it is effective against preganancy - but that's what this article is about.


Overall pros and cons of the birth control pill or patch during perimenopause


Pros

THE PILL may help with heavy bleeding or irreg periods but - heavy bleeding means low progesterone there may be better ways to boost progest. I periods are normal as they taper off and you dont necessaritly want to mask that happening.

The pill may help reduce hot flashes by giving your body more hormones - but at the same time decreasing testosterone we're going to talk about that in a sec - so there may be smarter ways to support female hormones at this time.

The pill does work at contraception for perimenpause. 


Overall Cons

Increased health risks

These are the contraindications to using the pill listed on Dr Gottfried's website, "Hypertension, migraines, breast cancer, risk of blood clot or deep venous thromboembolism, or pulmonary embolism; history of cerebral vascular accident; coronary artery or ischemic heart disease; personal history of estrogen-dependent cancer including known or history of breast cancer; in smoker, age greater than 35 years."

So you know there is increased risk here. 


Decreased testosterone

Another con is that the pill decreases testosterone levels.

From a chinese medicine perspective, which is my perspective, this is a problem because starting in early perimenopuase, the underlying focus of all treatment is to keep all your hormones as high as possible while they change and when they stabilize after menopause.

These higher hormone levels are what lead to healthier aging!

Down the road low testosterone can mean bone loss, joint degeneration, muscle loss, low thyroid, and low libido. 

And - once you're already in your 40s or 50s its hard enough to keep testosterone from dropping too low - it's even harder to bring it back up after driving it down with birth control.


Nutrient depletion

The pill depletes certain nutrients - important ones like B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and minerals like magnesium, selenium and zinc.  All of which are really important, so it can be a blow to your overall health and nutrient density. 


The pill or patch can lower thyroid hormone

The pill can lower thyroid hormones.  And because for women in meonpause low thyroid is common, we dont want to do anything to drive it down even more.


The pill or patch can damage gut health

The birth control pill can increase or cause candida overgrowth!

At menopause you naturally experience a decrease in gut health.  Many women develop bloating and food sensitivites.  And it's because you naturally have less variety of good microorganisms in your gut - and less digestive juices!

So it's a time to support gut health more than ever - and a bad time to be doing anything that damages the strength of the digestive system or encoursages the overgrowth of candida.


Clots

Another con is that the birth control pill can increase the risk of clots, something that has been consistently agreed up on for many years, and clots are very serious.


There are a number of down sides or possible reasons not to use the birth control pill or patch for controlling permineopausal symptoms.  


Alternatives & solutions


Solution: Replenish lost nutrients

If youre going to use the pill be proactive about supplementing with the nutrients that are being depleted, and stay in close touch with your hcpractitioner about when its time to stop or transition to HRT or herbal remedies. 


Alternatives to birth control for peimenopause

As you may have picked up, I think there are better alternatives when it comes to manageing perimenopausal symptoms than the birth control pill or patch.

You can support your female hormone levels for relief from hot flashes, heavy bleeding, and mood swings, everything the pill was potentially helping with except cotraception...

And you can do it with things that will

  • support and strengthen your gut health for increased instead of decreased nutrient levels
  • support progesterone estrogen and testosterone - for maintaining a healthy sex drive, healthy bones, and healthier aging overall 
  • and help decrease inflammation in your whole body - helping reduce the risk of things like cancer, and clots

So if you're using birth control pills or the patch primarily for relief of perimenopausal symptoms, I would argue there are better alternatives.

You can use natural remedies like diet, lifestyle, supplements

And really powerful, targeted hormonal support like herbal remedies or HRT (hormone-replacement therapy.) 


Takeaways

I always say - consider trying the natural remedies first see how well they work.  You can always transition to HRT if needed. 

And if you'd like help with those natural remedies, you're in the right place, because that's what I do.

So go straight to the free resources on my website to get detailed next steps on how to get started.  

Then make sure you're one of my email insiders, so you'll be the first to get a special invitation the next time my online program on Menopause Made Easy with Herbal Remedies opens for enrollment...

And you'll get special offers on my Manage Your Stress in Minutes a Day online program.

Free Resources

 Start getting serious momentum in hormonal balance, menopause relief, and vibrant aging


GET STARTED WITH THE BEST DIET FOR YOUR HORMONES

hormone iq quiz

TAKE THE QUIZ AND FIND OUT WHAT YOUR HORMONES ARE MISSING

And remember, there's a reason why perimenopausal bleeding, migraines, mood changes, night sweats, weight gain - and all the rest happen. 

Once you understand whey they're happening you can feel better by controlling your hormones.  I can help you find the best remedies at each stage of your menopausal transition and post menopause to keep signs of aging at bay. 

You can feel great during & after menopause.  You can enjoy menopause. 



Thanks so much for joining me today!  Please put your questions & comments in the comments section below, I'd truly love to hear from you!

Or you can post them in my free private facebook group, or ask them during my live Q and As on my facebook page!



This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment.  For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://danalavoielac.com/disclaimer-2/


Dana LaVoie, LAc


Hi, I'm Dana, an Acupuncturist & Herbalist with over 15 years' experience specializing in women's health. I'm here to show you how to use customized Chinese Herbs supported by the best diet and lifestyle for your hormones to feel amazing during & after menopause.

Dana Lavoie, LAc

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