Do you currently take hormonal birth control (BC)?
I used to before I knew the risks. I mean the real risks.
These ones aren’t listed in the fold out packet that comes in the brown paper goodie bag they gift you with.
The longer-lasting side effects from using hormonal contraceptives include polycystic ovaries, estrogen imbalance, thyroid problems,and excess “male” hormones – all of which can lead to female baldness.
My first time using BC was when I was 20. It was Yasmin, containing drosperinone and ethinyl estradiol, and I used it for about 4 months.
But thinking it might be the cause of some “unexplained” weight gain, I threw it out.
The next time it was ortho tri-cyclen which containts ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate. After more rapid weight gain, I decided to quit hormonal BC for a couple of years.
In 2010, my hair started shedding badly, I decided to go back on ortho tri cyclen lo and was on it for almost a year. Hair loss didn’t slow down during this time, except sporadically depending on other factors in my life.
One of my cousins suggested the depo shot (Depo Provera) had helped hair loss, so I tried that next. This shot’s effect lasted 3 months, during which time my breasts shrank rapidly; I gained fat around my waist and lost fat from my hips; I got depressed; and I lost more hair from my scalp while growing more on my face and body. So after my shot was up, my gyno suggested I switch to Modicon, which I used until spring of 2013, when I stopped using hormonal BC.
Now, what happened to me might not happen for every woman who uses the above methods of BC. Due to my hormonal makeup, and possible other factors like diet and stress, my experience with BC may not be typical.
Still, there are some real risks that any woman takes when she opts for a hormonal BC. These can cause the problems that lead to hair loss and future infertility.
Most hormonal forms of birth control are designed to suppress ovulation using synthetic estrogen and progestin. Through the hormonal feedback loop, the birth control fools the pituitary gland into thinking that the body already has the hormones required for ovulation. Ok, many of us already know that – that’s how BC is designed to work.
But did you know that a lack of ovulation is one of the primary causes of PCOS? A lack of ovulation in itself can lead to a hormonal imbalance of excess estrogen, often referred to as estrogen dominance. Even though it is said that estrogen is “the female hormone,” an excess of it can cause some horrendous symptoms that end up making us feel and look more like men. I’m talking about hair loss, hirsutism, “apple” shaped bodies, and infertility.
Birth control also reduces the amount of thyroid hormones in your tissues by increasing the amounts of thyroid-binding proteins in your body. Thyroid is very important to your hair growth and your fertility.
There are even some types of BC that stimulate your androgen receptors, thereby causing further hair loss, hirsutism, weight gain around the belly, even insulin resistance after a time. Synthetic progesterone (progestin) is famous for this. In his book, Hormonal Balance, Scott Isaacs states, “Progestins cause androgen excess and disrupt prolactin balance.”
Prolactin is a stress hormone, that is partially responsible for post-partum hair loss.
These kinds of imbalances all form connections to one another in the body, and fixing the damage done by rampaging hormones requires awareness of this connection.
All of this can sound scary for anyone who has put their faith in hormonal birth control in an attempt to prevent both hair loss and pregnancy. But rest assured, you can solve the problem of hair loss, while at the same time preventing unwanted pregnancy.