How taking birth control pills as an adolescent reduces fertility later in life.

This shouldn’t come as news, and yet, it is commonly believed that young women on the pill are not affected later in life in regards to their fertility. Contrarily, research has shown that there is actually an affect of reduced fertility with long-term birth control use. Is it any surprise that infertility is on the rise?

One of the many problems: The pill is no longer just used for contraception. The main reason to use the pill for birth control was only 46% of the time.

Rather, evidence suggests a larger portion of the female population is put on the pill to treat:

crampingHeavy flow

Cramps

PMS

PCOS

Irregular periods

Acne

“Funny” cycles

Depression

The problem for using OCPs as treatment for any of the above is that they don’t treat the root cause. The above list has very little to do with oral contraception. Yes, some of these problems do have to do with hormonal irregularities—but usually those too have a deeper root cause. So, oral contraceptives just give the appearance of having resolved the real problem and instead the problem reappears or worsens with time, and will inevitably make is more challenging to conceive children later in life.

What can teens do instead?

  1. Detox estrogens and xenoestrogens from your body – did you know that tons of the beauty products that you use for your skin, to cover up acne and make you feel more beautiful actually make your acne worse? There are xenoestrogens in all kinds of beauty products- avoid the products with phthalates for starters. There are also xenoestrogens in plastics, canned foods that are lined with BPA, and even receipts you get at the store have BPA. Last but not least, plastic water bottles… I can go on and on about plastic water bottles but the short skinny version is avoid ALL of them! Even the ones that say they are BPA-free are using similar compounds which are actually just as toxic for your hormones as BPA.
  2. Stop eating sugar – the glow of your skin will be worth it!
  3. Wheat what?! – You don’t have to cut it out but at least limit it to a couple times a week. Your hormones will thank you.
  4. Avoid Dairy – yes, completely avoid dairy. The hormones in dairy throw your hormones out of whack.
  5. The deal with meat: it’s probably better to have a more plant-centric diet but if you want to eat meat, eat it in small amounts and make sure it’s organic & free-range!
  6. Eat more greens to alkalinize the body– or, get super-greens in the form of a tasty powder that you can drink.

What if you were a teen who was given birth control, who wants to have a baby now?

  1. If you have been off of the pill for more than 2 months and your cycle has still not become regular, it’s important to regulate your cycle first. Herbs used cyclically here can be great to help regulate your cycle.
  2. Detox your hormones. Yes, this is actually do-able. The hormones you have taken into your body for years have an energetic imprint on your hormones and a sequence of specific homeopathic remedies can help to detox the effects of those hormones from your body—often significantly improving your fertility.
  3. Know that it will take time. The effects of birth control are long lasting so give it time, patience, and get the support of a specialist.

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Why didn’t clomid work?

To stimulate ovulation, many women are given clomid as the first line of therapy. Usually, you don’t need to see a reproductive endocrinologist but rather, your OB/GYN can prescribe clomid for you. However, it’s often not the magic bullet. It doesn’t work for many women who have underlying problems that haven’t been diagnosed.

– PCOS is a condition that is often under-diagnosed and has many poor responders. Although clomid is a recommended treatment for PCOS women, studies actually show that it performs poorly compared to many natural agents such as myo-inositol.

In addition, there are women with thyroid antibodies which makes them clomiphene resistant and has been connected to treatment failure and higher miscarriage rates.

Women with low ovarian reserve are not great candidates for clomid. Trying to release egg follicles from ovaries that are general low on follicles is like pushing a weak horse into the desert. I suggest seeking guidance from a specialist if you have low ovarian reserves. Please don’t deplete the reserve more by taking ovarian stimulants.

Side effects of clomiphene include digestive upset, dizziness, HAs, and visual disturbance. It can also increase risk of ovarian cancer. Last but not least, greater than 6 months of use has been shown to impair fertility.

Other pharmaceutical options for ovulation:

HCG injections are used to stimulate the ovaries to release a mature egg follicle. The problem is that HCG can over stimulate the ovaries and lead to cyst formation

Bromocriptine is a medication used to decrease prolactin levels that could support ovulation. This might be an option for some women, though there are natural ways to potentially support ovulation.

Herbs that can help increase ovulation naturally:

Vitex

vitex

Lemon balm

lemon_balm-2

Licorice

licorice-plant

Shatavari

shatavari

 

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That stubborn weight and how it affects your fertility…

Your body weight is an indicator of your health – and is affected by so much more than your caloric intake and exercise. The women I see in my office are generally the ones that have been on so many different diets and exercise regularly. Yet, they are still heavier than they would like to be (or are overweight).

What could be causing that stubborn weight?
1. High levels of testosterone or androgens can lead to other imbalances that make it hard to lose weight.
2. Thyroid hormones play a huge role in weight management (but thyroid needs to be fairly tightly regulated, and unfortunately, most medical doctors don’t test your thyroid hormones completely so it’s hard to diagnose)
3. Insulin resistance – meaning the insulin that should be released by your pancreas in response to sugar consumption is actually released but has stopped having an affect on your cells processing sugar. This is why sugar and things that raise blood sugar causes a double whammy on your weight

What can you do about it?

** Get your hormones tested. I have created a specialty panel that you can order yourself if you don’t have a doctor that will order the tests for you. Thyroid problems or PCOS will make it harder to lose the weight. So, knowing where your hormones stand will go a long ways in helping you lose the excess weight.

** Eliminate sugar – believe it or not, sugar is a common ingredient in everything, including pasta sauce. And, honey is also a form of sugar. As is ‘evaporated cane juice.’ Nutra-sweet, splenda, and equal are even worst because the condition your taste buds to crave more sugar. Eliminate all sweets from your life for 3 weeks… you may actually change your taste buds away from cravings.

** Eat complex carbs like beans that actually help rebalance insulin resistance and increase the ability for your body to be less sensitive to sugar. Grains and beans actually fall into different categories. You don’t have to eat grains to get your complex carbs (their health benefits are less obvious) but eating beans can be quite beneficial.
If you have trouble digesting beans, this blog post can help you.