The Pill Is Bad Medicine: 7 Ways Hormonal Contraception Harms Women

Via: Image Point Fr | Shutterstock


by Dr. Lara Briden

on June 30, 2015

The Pill is chemical castration. We cannot continue to not see this.

Clinicians know it. Women themselves know it because they feel better off the Pill. But researchers mysteriously decline to examine the reality that is right in front of us. They decline to challenge the Pill gospel and instead waste research money comparing one Pill to another. Why attempt to choose the best of a bad lot? The real question should be: “Aren’t women better off without these drugs?”

Challenging The Pill Gospel

The Pill gospel rests on the delusion that hormonal contraception is a substitute for real human hormones. It is not a substitute. The franken-steroid drugs in the Pill, patch or implant are not even hormones. Pill-induced bleeds are not periods.

Women and doctors have been duped into believing that Pill progestins (drospirenone and medroxyprogesterone) bear some resemblance to our own progesterone. But they could not be more different. Progestins cause depression, hair loss, abortion and fatal blood-clots. Wonderful progesterone does pretty much the opposite of all that. Progestins are about as far from our own progesterone as it is possible to be.

Via: areeya_ann | Shutterstock

Via: areeya_ann | Shutterstock

How Does Hormonal Contraception Harm Women?

1. Depression: At this stage, the research can only offer a speculation that the Pill causes depression. That reminds me very much of the speculation in the 1990s that HRT causes breast cancer. Anyone who treats women knows that hormonal contraception affects mood. Some researchers like Professor Jayashri Kulkarni at Monash University in Melbourne take it seriously. She says that progestins have a depressive effect, and her ongoing study of the popular Bayer-produced birth control pill Yasmin backs that up. “The onset of depression can happen within a day of taking it or within a year of taking it,” says Professor Kulkarni. “Women often tend to blame themselves for feeling depressed and forget to consider the effect of the daily hormone they are taking.”

2. Low Libido: What is sad is how few studies there are on this issue. We know that the Pill drastically reduces testosterone and DHEA in women, and we know that this causes women to have fewer sexual thoughts, and less interest in sex. We also know that it can take months — or even years — for testosterone and libido to return to normal after the Pill is stopped. Most doctors do not bother to mention low libido as a side effect, and once again, women are left to blame themselves.

3. Hair Loss: Synthetic progesterone (progestin) damages the hair follicle and can cause hair loss. Some progestins are worse than others, and modern pills like Yaz (another birth control pill produced by Bayer) tried using drospirenone to avoid the hair loss side effect. They hoped that drospirenone would be more similar to natural progesterone in terms of its benefit for hair. This is another example of the damage done by franken-hormones. Progesterone is healthy for the cardiovascular system, but unfortunately drospirenone carries an unforeseen 700 percent increased risk for fatal blood clots. Women died over this bungle. The solution for hormonal hair loss is not a different Pill, but to get OFF the Pill. Please see my “Hair Loss” post.

4. Weight Gain: The Pill causes insulin resistance, sugar cravings, and prevents the muscle gain that women should expect to see with exercise. My clinical experience is that most women lose weight when they come off the Pill, but some do not. I suspect that is because the metabolic damage has already been done, and is not so easily reversed.

5. Lack Of Periods And Post-Pill PCOS: According to a study funded by Bayer Pharma (who make Yaz), the question of post-pill syndrome has been laid to rest. Really? Fascinating. How nice that Bayer was able to tweak the numbers, but that doesn’t change the fact that many women simply cannot get their periods going after stopping the Pill. These are women who had normal periods before starting the Pill for skin or contraception, and then had the illusion of regular ‘bleeds’ for years. When they finally do stop the Pill, they find out that their periods do not return. Typically these women are slapped with a PCOS diagnosis and advised to get back on the Pill.

6. Post-Pill Acne: The synthetic estrogens in the Pill dry up skin oils and dry up acne. It is a solution of sorts for skin, but the synthetic estrogens do nothing to address the underlying causes of acne. The causes like sugar and dairy sensitivity and intestinal dysbiosis are still there, and when the Pill is stopped, there will still be acne. In fact, there may be more because of the skin’s horrid estrogen-withdrawal for the first 3-4 months. Post-Pill acne can be eased with diet and zinc supplements. The main thing that I ask women to do is to brave the Post-Pill acne and come out the other side. Don’t go back on it, or you will only delay the problem.

7. Fatal Blood Clots: The newer progestins like drospirenone (Yaz) carry a frighteningly high risk for blood clots, but all hormonal contraception is associated with some risk. A study by France’s Drug Safety agency (ANSM) estimates that there are 20 deaths per year from oral contraceptives in that country.

Via: Image Point Fr | Shutterstock

Via: Image Point Fr | Shutterstock

Need contraception?

There are better ways to prevent pregnancy. The best methods are condoms and fertility awareness and non-hormonal IUDs. Modern IUDs are safe and effective. They are inserted in a doctor’s office, and are fully reversible when a woman chooses to become pregnant. The main issue with the copper IUD is that it can cause heavier periods in some women. Fears of other complications are largely unfounded. Dr. Eve Espey from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists puts it this way:

“Women need to know that today’s IUDs are much improved from earlier versions, and complications are extremely rare. IUDs… are safe for the majority of women, including adolescents and women who have never had children.”

For more information about all the different types of birth control, please see Chapter 3 of my book Period Repair Manual.

Yours in Health,


Natural health evangelist, hormone expert, and author of Period Repair Manual, Lara Briden first worked as an evolutionary biologist at the University of Calgary. She went on to graduate as a naturopathic doctor from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto. Her love of science and the natural world has informed the way she practices medicine. During her nearly twenty years of practice, thousands of patients have entrusted her with their hormone stories. She shares what she’s learned at