Visit our Re-post guidelines
Are you one of the million of women who currently take a birth control pill? If so, beware of the artificial hormones contained in the birth control pill and the increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Beyond the Birth Control Pill
Are you on the birth control pill for one of these three top reasons?
- Pregnancy Prevention
- Menstrual Cycle Related Issues
If so, you are among millions of women who are on the birth control pill for those very same reasons. As a mom of two daughters and an alternative medicine practitioner, I have been bombard lately with questions regarding choices beyond "The Pill." Raising daughters, I have plenty of years of personal experience on the subject of monthly period pain, PMS, cramps and acne (the two other top reasons women use the pill) but I needed updated facts and more research regarding pregnancy prevention. The new information I found was startling!
Even though "The Pill" has now been used for more than 50 years, everything changed in the early 1980s. Let me explain. When "Direct To Consumer" advertising was approved by the U.S. Congress, the era of birth control pills with hip names being presented DIRECTLY to the American consumers via television and magazines began. The result, artificial hormones, i.e. birth control pills, are now a multi-billion dollar industry.
American women use 47 percent of all oral contraceptive drugs sold worldwide.1
But what do women in the rest of the world do to prevent pregnancy?
What are THEIR answers beyond the birth control pill and what do they know that the average American female does not?
Certainly the most important reason for using "The Pill" is pregnancy prevention. The convenience cannot be denied. However, every woman must weigh the risks vs. convenience. The most popular form of birth control in Norway, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, France, Czech Republic, United Kingdom and other countries is the hormone free inter-uterine device or IUD. Often this option is free under universal government health insurance with dozens of NON-hormonal IUD options available.
In the U.S. the Paragard IUD is the only non hormonal IUD. Of course, family planning, condoms, diaphragms and spermicides are all other non-hormonal birth control methods along with permanent sterilization procedures.
One reason you may want to consider a hormone free version of birth control has to do with a protein in our bodies called RANKL. An amazing discovery by an Austrian geneticist, Josef Penninger, uncovered a connection between RANKL and progestin, the artificial hormone found in birth control pills. Penninger's research proves progestin activates RANKL and causes breast cancer cells to grow.2 In October 2012, Penninger's team won the Innovator's award from the U.S. Dept. of Defense. The award recognizes the importance of his work and includes a $7.4 million dollar grant to continue research on hormone replacement and contraceptive pills leading to breast cancer. 3
Another reason to avoid a hormonal type of birth control pill is the 2012 large scale study of Depo Provera. The study found women ages 20 to 44 using these prescribed shots every three months, more than double their risk of developing breast cancer.4 This recent information puts a whole new spotlight on the factors of "The Pill."
Reason #2 for using "The Pill" is often easier and lighter menstrual cycles. Having two daughters has probably given me more insight into monthly cramps and PMS than even experiencing it myself. Seeing your daughters suffer is somehow worse. Today, many teen girls are experiencing excruciating pain each month and when they approach their doctor for answers, "The Pill" is the most commonly prescribed solution.
There are many natural alternatives to monthly menstrual pain that take the form of supplements, herbs and lifestyle changes. Alternative medicine practitioners such as acupuncturists, homeopathic, naturopathic doctors and chiropractors offer many solutions. I recommend a myriad of small daily changes, which together create a bigger impact on your body. Daily supplementation with magnesium, consuming only hormone free milk and meat, adding dong gui (Angelica sinensis) and other Chinese herbs to your diet, drinking filtered water free of BPA's (found in plastic water bottles), local abdominal heat application and gentle yoga, all improve blood circulation when pain is at its worst. These can make a huge difference in as little as thirty days.
But what about "The Pill" for that annoying acne? Young girls will try everything to avoid acne scarring, a quite understandable and very serious concern. I always recommend allergy testing as a first step for anyone experiencing extreme acne. Your skin is an expression of what is going on within your body and the bigger health picture needs to be evaluated by a professional. Diet changes should be the first step toward resolving acne, while topical treatments are also applied. For more information on natural approaches to acne prevention and treatment you can review the GreenMedInfo acne research database.
I hope to inspire you to consider all the information now available on artificial hormones and "The Pill" and make your decision an educated one.
2. Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, "Researchers find how HRT and the Pill can lead to breast cancer and suggest possible treatment", IMBA Press Release Sept. 2010
4. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center April 4, 2012 "Study finds a link between injectable contraceptive use and increased risk of breast cancer in young women"