Okay in one of my previous videos I shared with you my story of vulvodynia and history of chronic vaginal pain and one thing I get asked about a lot is how this happened and what do I do about it now.
So I thought Id share a few things.
First off, this experience was mine and is not indicative of other peoples experience on the birth control pill. There are many benefits to many people who choose to take birth control pills especially when it comes to different hormone issues, endometriosis, PCOS and other disorders where the benefits outweigh the negative. And without a doubt the pill has helped women tremendously. So theres no judgement here if you are on the pill.
I do however want to raise awareness about problems that can be attributed to the pill and I think women need to be provided with resources to properly understand what is best for her body and reduce the risks of some of the side effects.
When I was 16 I didn’t know about the risks of autoimmune disease, heart attack, adrenal issues, thyroid disfunction, I didn’t know that over 1 million women on birth control pills are prescribed antidepressants.
I was prescribed the pill way too early. I didn’t have my first period until I was 16 years old and in that same year my doctor prescribed the hpv vaccine and gave me a prescription for birth control pills to “regulate my irregular period”. So my little hormones didn’t stand a chance. My body never had the opportunity to actually make its own hormones.
I feel like I need to say this. And I wish the medical community would have said this to women. The pill will not fix a hormone imbalance. Period.
One common misconception is that going on the pill tricks the body into thinking its already pregnant by putting it into a hormonal state of pregnancy. This isn’t true. Here we are years later and the data is showing us that the pill in fact turns off our regular hormone production. So the opposite of pregnancy. Its actually menopause. And for some women this has catastrophic side effects.
So while I didn’t experience weight gain or acne or mood swings what I did have was debilitating vaginal pain, atrophy, vaginal dryness, chronic infections, hot flashes, insanely dry skin, eye problems, my hair fell out constantly I would forget things all the time. So why did that happen?
Dr. Andrew Goldstien talks about this a lot and has published a lot of good data in this area. What happens to some women is that some birth control pills – especially anti androgen pills, like the ones for your skin, are designed to lower testosterone. Now this next part blew my mind. its testosterone actually as well as estrogen that provides your vaginal and vulva tissue with thickness and lubrication, and unlike estrogen when you go off the pill testosterone doesn’t really come back.
Anyways back to my vagina. So after discovering the pill could be causing my problems I stopped cold turkey discontinued that but as soon as I went off the pill things got so much worse. My symptoms before were now 10 times worse.
Having sex felt like razor blades, I couldn’t remember peoples names, my skin burned all the time it was awful.
Another person who has looked into post-pill syndrome extensively is Dr. Jolene Brighton. She wrote this book called Beyond the pill and she talks about problems women experience while their on the pill, what happens when they come off and I really like the way she explaineds whats going on with our bodies when we flood our systems with synthetic hormones and why this messes up our bodies when we go off.
Things Im trying:
1. Compounded bioidentical hormones. Its really hard to get testosterone in Canada, but one thing ive tried that is working really well are hormone creams. I have pretty low estrogren in general and I have found this really helps for the vaginal issues.
2. I also do a lot of pelvic floor work. I think Ill devote a whole episode to the benefits of pelvic floor physisiotherapy. Really tight muscles can actually causing burning pain around the vaginal opening so working on lengthening those muscles can really help.
3. Other things I haven’t tried yet are botox injections to release the muscles. Ive hear a lot of women say this can help.
I think if you're interested in this area or maybe you're struggling with your own experiences with birth control it would be worth checking out this other woman who is doing a lot of really cool research in this area is Holly Grigg Spall she has a book called “ sweetening the pill” Ill link it below. I listened to her on my friend Mark Groves Podcast and she's great. She speaks a lot about how the pill affects our brain chemistry, our choices in partners, and different aspects of fertility.
Ive been struggling pretty badly since coming off birth control and I know a lot of women can relate so if you have a story you'd like to share or you have questions please send them to me because I love talking to other women about their experiences.
Alright. That’s it for today. Thanks for checking out this episode I cant wait to share more with you next week.