This is a story I have told friends for years as I’ve warned them to get off of birth control or not even start in the first place. I have read too many cases where women haven’t even been able to have a period after being on birth control, and I really would like to speak out about what happened to me so that hopefully I can help another woman!
It was my freshman year of college and my doctor wouldn’t stop pushing me to get on the pill. He knew I had a boyfriend, and also knew I had great potential for a rewarding career and life path that did not include a child in my teens or early twenties. I’m with ya doc– I don’t need a mini organic olivia running around eating up all my protein pancakes (although one day it would be nice) so after months of him haggling me I agreed.
I went to my gyno and talked about my options. This is the same gyno that for years would not listen to me when I told her I had extreme pain during sexual intercourse. She told me it was probably all in my head. It later turned out I had systemic candida and needed to cut refined sugar, gluten, and pasteurized dairy out of my life completely in order to finally feel normal again! Candida is a concept shunned by American doctors and widely accepted by other forms of traditional medicine. Research from Rice University shows that 70% of all people are affected by candida, a systemic fungal infection. And sure enough, when I was having serious problems with my liver along with a host of other disorders (the same year I was prescribed birth control), I went to a little herbal store by my house. Before I could even tell the herbalist what I was there for he looked at my tongue and said “Oh my, LOTS of candida, parasites, and infection in you! Cut the sugar and take this!”
Here’s what he handed me:
Flor-Essence is an herbal detox for the entire body. It has treated cancer in hundred of people. If you’d like to see testimonies, just look at the Amazon reviews. It is also known as “Essaic Tea” but the brand Flor-Essence specifically has other herbs added to the classic essaic formula. The Yeast Cleanse tablets, parasite cleansing, a healthy sugar/gluten free diet, and the Flor-Essence tea took care of most of my Candida symptoms after many long, grueling months. No Western doctor has ever done that for me– gone to the root and treated my body/organs.
Anyway – getting back to my gyno visit and birth control prescription, which was was before I knew anything about the world of candida and cleansing. The gynecologist assured me that I would be on the lowest estrogen birth control out there, and that there are “no side effects” associated with birth control. This is back when I trusted Western medicine and pharmaceuticals blindly, so I agreed and thought nothing of it.
After the first 24 hours, I probably should have been on suicide watch. This is no exaggeration. I was at my house with my best friend and boyfriend, and when Nick had to leave to simply go home for the night I burst into tears and rage. Who does that? I talked to his mom about it the next day and she said that when she went on birth control she had to call a psychologist for the first time in her life (and she is someone that does not believe in psychology or therapy whatsoever). I was so depressed and didn’t know what to do. I felt like it was never going to end.
Fast forward another 24 hours: I’m sitting in my living room with my best friend watching TV when I notice my knee feels like it has a throbbing bruise under the cap. I looked down and sure enough, I did. I kept wondering when I banged my knee and why a bruise would hurt so much, but I figured I was just clumsy as usual. An hour later, I had a bruise under the opposite knee cap as well. Out of nowhere.
By 6pm, this is what my legs looked like:
My legs were hot, swollen, throbbing, and had red nodes all over them. (This is just the beginning – I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures at the hospital).
My friend immediately drove me to my doctor. I was googling like a mad-woman on the way. Listen when I tell you – you can find more accurate information and advice on internet forums from real people who have been through what you are going through than any textbook will ever tell you. The internet is your biggest learning tool and opens you up to the billions of humans on this planet that have something to say. Learn from them.
After some research, I discovered that antibiotics and birth control can cause a condition called Erythema Nodosum (EN). Erythema Nodosum is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a certain portion of the fatty layer of skin. It results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. I decided that’s what this was. As soon as my doctor walked into the office, I told him that I figured out it was EN and he said, “You’re correct! Why aren’t you in med school again?!” Instead of explaining to him that I’d rather be banished to Antarctica I just yelled “Do something!” in pain.
I told him that my research showed Erythema Nodosum can be a side effect of oral contraceptives. To this statement, of course he replied, “No way!” …… Sorry, doc. I told him to hop on Web MD and he did, right in front of me, because there was a computer in the room. A couple “hmm”s later and he apologized – birth control indeed can cause this severe inflammatory reaction. I checked more forums and it turns out this happens to thousands of women each year. Sometimes, it doesn’t go away.
Why did this happen?
But why? Why would this be a reaction to BC? If my quest through alternative and natural medicine has taught me anything, it is this: all “disease” and ailments are a result of an imbalance in the body. When an inflammatory reaction appears, or a sickness comes on, it is because the body is being impaired from performing its healing. All the body wants to do is heal, but you must give it the tools to do so (food, minerals, vitamins, pure water, clean air, positive emotions, etc). When you think about it this way, you realize that “supplements” like omega 3’s or vitamin C don’t have their own set of “benefits” and don’t perform any magic on the body… they simply give the body the tools or nutrients it was lacking in order to do its healing work. We are not meant to be sick. We are, in fact, very developed beings that can heal, replenish, and rejuvenate any part of ourselves if we live the right way.
Although I have not found exactly what imbalance the birth control caused, I know from my body’s intense inflammatory reaction that this pill was being rejected and acting as a toxin. My body is sensitive and always shows me when it does not like something. I take that as a blessing most days.
I spoke to one woman who has had chronic erythema nodosum for 12 years. She finally figured out that its root cause was leaky gut syndrome. “Leaky gut” is a condition where the intestinal lining of your stomach becomes permeable through tearing, holes, and wearing away of lining in general. This allows undigested food particles, pathogens (such as candida, parasites, bacteria, viruses), chemicals, and everything else you eat, breathe and drink to enter your blood stream.
Skin rashes are your body’s way of trying to dump the toxins let into your body because of leaky intestines. Leaky gut is often caused by GMOs, antibiotics (our overuse in modern medicine AND the antibiotics given to animals), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – think Motrin & Advil.
Leaky gut can also be caused by yeast. A multi-celled fungus like candida can grow tentacles to grab onto the intestinal lining and make its own holes. At this time, I was still suffering from candida severely.
Let’s make some connections:
Antibiotics can often cause an overgrowth of candida, and candida can cause leaky gut. Interestingly enough, birth control can cause candida as well. And as I said before, birth control and antibiotics are the two main causes of Erythema Nodosum. Therefore, I hypothesize that Erythema Nodosum can be a result of leaky gut and an overload of toxins (many of which are produced by candida) entering the blood stream via permeable intestines.
It’s obvious by now that both antibiotics and birth control create a severe imbalance in the body and make it a breeding ground for fungus/inflammation. Birth control pills actually alter or destroy the beneficial bacteria in your intestines, making you more susceptible to yeast overgrowth, lowered immunity and infection.
The standard birth control pills contain two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progestin. The estrogen in birth control pills sometimes comes from horse urine, know as Premarin. Once you take these synthetic hormones, you will no longer experience normal fertility cycles that correspond with the moon as we should. We cannot forget that we are connected to laws of the universe.
The synthetic hormones override the normal hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian hormonal axis. This is simply not natural. I’ve read hundreds of stories from women who now suffer infertility, cancer, and blood clots thanks to the pill. On top of that, there have been no studies to secure the safety of birth control pill usage over time.
The U.N.’s Cancer Research Agency re-classified hormonal contraceptives as carcinogenic to humans in 2005. Synthetic estrogen has been linked to cancer, as have other synthetic hormones. Dr. Samuel Epstein, world leader in cancer research has warned that the pill is “the largest unregulated human trial that’s ever been conducted.” In ‘The Breast Cancer Prevention Program,’ Epstein says, “more than 20 well-controlled studies have demonstrated the clear risk of premenopausal breast cancer with the use of oral contraceptives. These estimates indicate that a young woman who uses oral contraceptives has up to ten times the risk for developing breast cancer as does a non-user, particularly if she uses the Pill during her teens or early twenties; if she uses the Pill for two years or more; if she uses the Pill before her first full-term pregnancy; if she has a family history of breast cancer.”
To make a very LONG story, short:
The Pill is not the answer. It is not an investment in your health, although it may seem like an investment in your life since it will prevent you from having a child before you’re ready. Do not think that the pill is your only option. It creates serious nutritional deficiencies, makes a breeding ground for candida because it depletes all good bacteria, and has insane side effects. You do not need a toxin in your system just to prevent pregnancy. Your body needs to be functioning in its natural cycle with its own hormones.
EDIT: Since writing this post, I’ve been using a small German computer that logs my temperature each morning and tells me exactly where I am in my cycle. By flashing a green or red light each morning, this device tells me that either a) I can have unprotected sex and not get pregnant, guaranteed; or b) I have to use a condom because it’s a fertile day.
You can read the full post and review on the device here. I have been using it for 8 months now and absolutely love the freedom and control it gives my boyfriend and I.Affiliate Disclosure