Fertility Fridays: how the Pill screwed up my fertility

Such tiny pills, such huge problems.

Such tiny pills, such huge problems.

I made the decision to go on the Pill at the tender age of 17 without having the slightest idea about the impact it would have on my body for years to come. Had I known about the side-effects of the Pill, or about the hell I was going to experience, I would have thought twice about my decision. Ah, hindsight, you’re a cruel mistress.

Now, if I knew that my experience was a one-off I probably wouldn’t be writing this but I have come across so many women (and read accounts from many more) who have experienced issues from taking the Pill that I feel I have to share my story, in the hope that it helps others.

We’ve been told that the Pill is safe and that it has no effect on fertility, which, to be perfectly frank, is utter bollox! By design, the Pill stops you from being fertile. That’s what is was created to do.

The Pill is made up of 100% synthetic hormones, which wreak havoc on your real hormones and throw your body into disarray. It is often prescribed to treat a whole range of problems from acne to polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is actually only a bandaid though and when you rip it off your problems will return with a vengeance. They may also be worse as a result of the synthetic hormones that have been circulating through your system while you were on the Pill. That’s exactly what happened to me.

I had undiagnosed polycystic ovaries and the symptoms would resurface every time I periodically went off the Pill during the five years I was taking it. Whenever I would raise the issues I was experiencing (irregular periods, hair loss, skin issues and ovarian pain) with my doctor, the answer was always, ‘Go back on the Pill and that will sort you out’. And I would, because I didn’t really understand then that the Pill was a big cause of my issues to begin with!

I finally gave the Pill the flick for good three years ago and began the long process of repairing and rebalancing my hormones, through working with a naturopath. In addition to trying to level out my body’s estrogen dominance, I had to replenish my vitamin and mineral stores because the Pill sucks a lot of essential things out of you, including zinc. Zinc is incredibly important, especially if you are trying for a baby. If you are zinc deficient, your skin is much less elastic than it otherwise would be and this can cause the perineum to tear during labour. Ouch! If a mother is zinc deficient, her bub will likely be too, and babies with zinc deficiency tend to be less settled. You can find out more about this here.

Not long after I came off it, I asked my naturopath if I could just take a multivitamin and resume taking the Pill. He said I could but it would only result in very expensive urine. Ha! This is due to the fact that, in addition to leaching your body of vital minerals and nutrients, the Pill blocks vitamins from being absorbed in the first place. Talk about a double whammy!

It took a solid three months of intensive treatment and detoxing before my period returned (it had been MIA since going off the Pill), and another six months before the ovarian pain dropped off and my cycle became regular again. My hair took almost a year to stop falling out and my skin took even longer to settle down.

After that experience, I was well and truly convinced that the Pill wasn’t the fix-all implication-free miracle drug I had been led to believe it was. I was also well and truly convinced that I wouldn’t ever be going back on it. My fertility is just too important to me to risk messing it up again.

Laura

4 thoughts on “Fertility Fridays: how the Pill screwed up my fertility

  1. Nikeeta says:

    The only BC options I was concidering were the implanon (had a terrible two years of it after Grace) and the mirena coil. By a stroke of either good or bad luck, depending on how you see it, there were & are no appointments free at my local clinic to have the coil fitted & so I just started on the pill as an interrum plan. I’m guessing that if the pill messes with your body then the coil probably will too? Think Neil & I may have to opt for a non-invasive BC method. Thanks Laura x

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  2. thislittlegreenpocket says:

    Hi Nikeeta,

    Hormone-based contraception types all have similar effects on your body and none of them come without consequences. The coil is marginally better but jamming something into your womb just doesn’t sit quite right with me. Nat Kringoudis’s site is a great reference for all things fertility and contraception. She also discusses alternative contraception options that won’t cause you harm. Check out this post for more info on the coil: http://www.natkringoudis.com.au/2013/04/the-copper-iud-what-you-need-to-know/

    Laura x

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  3. Ghada Turner says:

    Great article Laura. We were having trouble getting pregnant and the first question my doctor asked was ‘how long ago did you get off the pill?’. What I never knew was that it can take up to 12 months for your body to get rid off the pill from your system, delaying the ability to conceive. And like you mentioned, my side effects from going off the pill included painful irregular periods, poor skin and for me, significant weight gain which I’m sure has now indirectly contributed my weight and diabetes related issues while pregnant. The issue is that generally either women are not well educated by their physicians about the risks, or alternatively they fall within the ‘I don’t plan on having kids now anyway’ category. I consider myself ‘lucky’ that I was only on the pill for 5 years. I have friends who have been on the pill from as young as 14 who are now in their 30’s and 40’s, with their bodies fully dependent on a tablet who’s long term side effects may not have been significantly or adequately tested at the time they started taking it.

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  4. thislittlegreenpocket says:

    Thanks Ghada. I’m sorry to hear you went through that. It makes me so angry that the Pill is prescribed with little explanation or thought about the consequences of it. It’s terrifying that our doctors don’t recognise these issues! Thank you for raising the ‘I don’t plan on having kids now anyway’ point too. I used to think exactly that! I wish I had really understood that it’s about so much more than having babies.

    Laura x

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