What Are You Looking For?

Is Birth Control Treating Your Hormone Imbalance?


Oral contraceptive pills are prescribed for almost every female trouble known, are there drawbacks to this widely prescribed cure-all?


Cassie, a 22-year-old female presented to the the clinic with a chief complaint of weight gain that is accompanied by gas and bloating, anxiety, hair loss, and low libido. After taking a careful history, she revealed that she was prescribed the oral contraceptive pill 7 years ago to address her heavy periods. Just like Cassie, there are millions of women in the world that are prescribed birth control to treat symptoms associated with hormone imbalance. 


While the oral contraceptive pill gave women a simple and effective means of achieving reproductive freedom, today around 58 percent of women on the pill are not taking it to prevent pregnancy (Kao, 2000). According to a 2011 Guttmacher Institute study, thirty-one percent of women use it to control cramps, 28 percent to regulate their cycles, and 14 percent to treat acne. In fact, 14 percent of current pill users cite one of these purposes as their sole motivation for taking birth control (Sole-smith, 2013).  


The oral contraceptive pill works by shutting down communication between the brain and the ovaries, leading to suppressed sex hormone production. The pill gives women the perception of a having a normal menstrual cycle because they have “normal” monthly “periods.” The hormones in the contraceptive pill stop and prevent the ovaries from preparing and releasing the egg. They stop the usual hormonal “cycling,” including ovulation, the typical growth of the endometrium, and, as a result, the natural period. Your “period” on the contraceptive pill is actually called withdrawal bleeding, and it happens when the levels of hormones in your pills drop. The drop in hormone levels causes the lining of your uterus (the endometrium) to shed, leading to the withdrawal bleeding (Duret, 2022).


Conventional medicine has adopted the birth control pill as a cure-all solution for hormonal imbalances. However, when women are prescribed the pill to address hormonal imbalances, they often experience symptom recurrence once they stop taking it. In fact, many are left with worsening symptoms and a grocery list of side effects. Some of these include depression, anxiety, hair loss, gas, bloating, low libido, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, acne, mood swings, weight gain, PMS, amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, and others. 


Cassie’s weight gain and associated symptoms of gas and bloating, anxiety, hair loss, and low libido were side effects of the oral contraceptive pills she had been taking since she was a teenager. Once she got off of the pill and began to address the root cause of her hormone imbalance through lifestyle changes and supplements, she was able to regain her life and finally began to feel like her old self. 


As a naturopathic doctor, I learned that the best way to address hormone imbalances is through lifestyle and nutrition. A diet that focuses on organic, whole foods, healthy fats, animal protein, fiber, antioxidants, and low in sugar and processed foods, is one of the most powerful interventions one could implement when addressing hormone imbalances. In addition, regular exercise, stress management, sleep hygiene, and addressing gut and liver health through herbs and supplements can have a drastic impact on hormone regulation. If you are on the pill and are struggling with some of the symptoms I previously mentioned, schedule an appointment at Avena Natural Health. Together, we will work to find the unique cause of your hormone imbalance and create a customized treatment plan that suits your individual needs and lifestyle. 



  1. Kao A. History of oral contraception. Journal of Ethics | American Medical Association. https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/history-oral-contraception/2000-06. Published June 1, 2000. Accessed December 9, 2022. 
  2. Sole-smith V. The Birth Control Pill has become a widely prescribed cure-all… but what about the drawbacks? ELLE. https://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/advice/a12605/birth-controll-pills/. Published October 31, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2022. 
  3. Druet A. Bleeding on the birth control pill. https://helloclue.com/articles/sex/pill-your-period/. Published April 14, 2022. Accessed December 9, 2022. 
Book Now