I am trying to learn as much about the female body as possible, especially when it comes to hormones and periods! Yup, periods. They fascinate me. They never used to and I never really cared for them. I was a happy birth control pill popper. That was until I realised the side effects caused by the pill ranged from increased risk of cancer(s) to poor gut health resulting in malnutrition.
What I would like to do is share my knowledge with you as I navigate this mindfield surrounding female reproductive health and why periods are so damn important for us.
I plan on breaking this large mass of research and personal experience into little nuggets of easy to digest information. I am no expert but as a way to help me learn I thought it would be good to document it, write it all up and share it with other women who are looking to reclaim their hormonal health!
So first - if you are new to my blog, welcome. I am Ashleigh and until 2017 I had been on the pill for 12 years. When I was 15 I got involved with my first serious boyfriend and a few months into the relationship my mum told me that it was time to go on the pill. No discussion was had regarding other methods of birth control. So off I went to the family planning clinic and got the pill - oh and a bag of flavoured condoms (flavoured condoms - why?!?!). Back then, I literally knew nothing about the pill so I made sure that I read the little leaflet that came with it and I started popping them everyday for 12 years.
Flash forward to 2017, I started doing research into the pill and all the nastly little side effects that come with it and I was shocked. Honestly, I could not believe what I was reading. I didn’t even know that it stopped you from ovulating, I didn’t know that that bleed I have every month was not a PERIOD!
Lesser Known Side Effects
Here are a few side effects that the leaflets do not tell you about and that I was not aware of until I was 27:
It messes with your digestion - the pill can really upset your gut microbes killing off the healthy bacteria, this can then increase the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.
The pill can inhibit absorption of vitamins and minerals - Because it messes with your gut lining and bacteria, it has a knock on effect that leads to poor ability to absorb B vitamins, zinc and magnesium all of which are essential for healthy happy hormones.
The pill can alter who we are attracted to - Explains a lot! Women who take the birth control pill are more likely to pick a partner who shares too many similarities as opposed to those who are not on the pill. Those not on the pill tend to seek partners based on their differences.
The pill alters your sex drive - this was something I struggled with a lot when I was on the pill, I literally never wanted sex. Not only does the pill stop you ovulating, it stops you wanting sex (win win for those not wanting to get pregnant!) It does this by reducing the testosterone in your body which is essential for a good healthy libido.
So What Next?
After learning all about the pill I knew I had to get off it. So, me and my ex had many discussions and I opted to go for the copper coil/IUD. I chose this method because it was hormone free and wouldn’t affect me in the same way the pill did. Just referring back to how the pill can alter who we are attached to, after 9 ½ years together, three months after coming off the pill we split up. So ladies, don’t take on a long term relationship whilst under the influence. For the first two years the copper IUD was fine. I mean, my periods were very heavy and quite painful but I didn’t know what was ‘normal’ as I hadn't had a proper period for 12 years and only had probably 4-6 periods before going on the pill. After two years and excruciatingly painful periods, I had the IUD removed. So far I have only had one period post IUD which you can read about here. As I experience more periods without anything in my body altering the process I will make sure to keep you updated.
Now that we have covered my story we can start learning about the menstrual cycle. In part two I will be looking at all the four phases of our menstrual cycle.
Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of the posts.