Studies show that birth control pills do shrink your hypothalamus.
I find it really interesting. I’ve been working with the hypothalamus and hormone disorders for over twenty years, and I’ve seen many many women who have a long history of birth control pill use with hypothalamic dysfunction.
So what’s actually going on? What did the researchers find with birth control pills shrinking your hypothalamus?
Well, a new study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that for women who use birth control pills their hypothalamus was actually smaller on MRI than women who did not use birth control pills.
First of all, the researchers did not want to indicate any implications that birth control pills shrink the hypothalamus in women. But I’ll tell you what they’re seeing on the MRI. It’s a lack of use. The hypothalamic-pituitary axis, which is the communication network between your hypothalamus, the middle manager we call the pituitary gland, and your ovary which produces your female hormones, is put to sleep when you’re taking the birth control pill. The way the birth control pill works are to give your body a high enough level of both estrogen and progestin so that your hypothalamus thinks you’re basically pregnant. Being suppressed by high levels of synthetic hormones, the hypothalamus does not tell the pituitary gland to stimulate your ovaries to ovulate so you don’t get pregnant.
Birth control pills disrupt the communication network between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and the ovaries.
So what does that mean? Well, it does not only affect your current and future fertility. But it also affects your natural, normal hormone production. Birth control uses synthetic estrogen and synthetic progestin. While synthetic estrogen mimics natural estrogen, synthetic progestin does not replace your natural progesterone. Progestins are testosterone derivatives that affect your uterus but do not protect the rest of your body tissues in the way natural progesterone.
So what’s the long-term effect of having your hypothalamus shrink because you’ve been using birth control pills?
- Lower fertility.
- Diminished sex drive.
- Mood and memory issues.
- Metabolic issues leading to weight gain, insulin resistance and circulatory disorders.
- Sleep dysfunction.
When I was a young woman becoming sexually active and the birth control pill was offered to me, I was told at that time to be sure and take a break from the birth control pills every few years and not use it longer than five.
Somehow back then doctors appreciated that the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis would be disrupted. These crucial organs needed to talk to each other at least once in a while, if you were going to preserve your fertility. And then sometime in the 90s, it was determined that women didn’t really like having periods all the time. And perhaps they didn’t need to have periods all the time.
Perhaps blocking the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis wasn’t actually a bad thing.
Because we have infertility specialists that could get you pregnant artificially.
But it’s so much more than fertility. When your hypothalamic pituitary ovarian axis shrinks, when it’s no longer functioning, it affects other vital body functions. For instance, it affects the stress response run by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, how your body controls your metabolism or how fast you’re burning energy.
It affects your memory and your mood. Why is that? Because the hypothalamus controls all of your hormones and many other vital body functions. Your hypothalamus controls your body temperature, your weight set point which is basically how much weight is ideal for your body, how fast you produce cellular energy and burn calories. It affects your digestion, your hunger mechanism, whether it’s going to store fat in your fat cells. Your memory, your ability to access memory both long term and short term is affected. It also affects your mood.
We already know research has proven that people with chronic depression or bipolar disease, also have a shrunken hypothalamus – 5% smaller than people who do not have the disorder.
Again, the hypothalamus is affected in many ways.
By taking medications like birth control pills or other environmental toxins, and brain injuries that interfere with the blood flow to the hypothalamus.
When your hypothalamus is disrupted it affects the way your body functions.
And basically, the way you feel.
Women will describe when they’ve taken the birth control pill a very common side effect – their sex drive or libido is lower or nonexistent. And again, it’s because the hypothalamus is shrinking and it controls your sex drive and your ability to reproduce. Because of the birth control pill, your hypothalamus believes that you’ve been pregnant for years now. It doesn’t make any sense to reproduce or stimulate the basic biological basis of a sex drive.
And it’s so much more than that. Our sex drive is more than our reproductive urge.
Our sex drive is tied to our pleasure center, which controls dopamine production. If your hypothalamus is dysfunctional because of birth control use, you make less dopamine. People who make less dopamine or their dopamine receptors are genetically altered tend to have addictive personalities looking for substances, or activities to actually stimulate dopamine.
Your hypothalamus controls so many things. It’s a wonder why we would do anything to interrupt its function.
Now, if you’ve been taking the birth control pill for any amount of time, is there hope? Is there a chance that you could heal the damage that the birth control pill might be doing to your hypothalamus?
Yes. I treated women who used the birth control pill for over two decades, come off of the birth control pill, and have difficulty with their fertility to be able to heal their hypothalamus using Genesis Gold®.
Yes, I did create Genesis Gold® exactly for this reason. To heal the hypothalamus whether your hypothalamus is damaged by toxins or medications or shrunken from birth control. What I’ve found is that with time, the hypothalamus can heal. It takes a minimum of three months. And that’s if you’re basically healthy. If you’ve been out of balance for many years, you can expect it to take one month per year you’ve been ill to heal your hypothalamus and get it functioning optimally.
One of my most amazing cases as an integrative practitioner was taking care of a woman who had no hormones. She suffered from panhypopituitarism and made none of her own hormones.
No adrenal hormones, no thyroid hormones, very little insulin, no sex hormones.
In fact, she never started her period on her own.
Basically, her pituitary was not putting out the hormone stimulus to get the endocrine glands – adrenal, thyroid, ovaries – to make any of their hormones.
Of course, it’s the hypothalamus that controls the pituitary gland and is negatively affected by this lack of hormone production. And begins to shrink as well. So this particular patient was using synthetic hormone replacement therapy for her adrenal, thyroid, for insulin resistance. She was on birth control pills to induce her periods. She was also taking other medications. Like sleeping pills, because the hypothalamus controls your circadian rhythm. She was also depressed and had panic issues, so she was taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. And she had been on all these synthetic hormones and medications for nearly two decades.
When she came to see me, she wanted to try a more natural approach. She wanted to be able to use bioidentical hormones if possible, and nutritional supplementation. So I started working with her and replace all of her hormones with bioidentical equivalents. Plus added nutraceuticals to help her sleep, depression, and anxiety as well as insulin resistance. Over time we replaced all of her medications with natural alternatives, but she was still taking a lot of stuff. Essentially, she was dependent on the natural therapies rather than the synthetic, which were probably safer, but still not making her own hormones.
So, when I finally created Genesis Gold®, I offered it to her. And she gave it a try.
Within 18 months, this woman began making all of her own hormones.
We’ve got her off all of her other supplements, her bioidentical hormones, no adrenal or thyroid support needed, insulin resistance reversed. Her weight was normal. She was sleeping through the night and no longer depressed or anxious. She actually was having periods on her own.
At this point, I told her that she probably could get pregnant. So she might want to use some type of barrier contraceptives like a condom or diaphragm if she didn’t want a child.
And she laughed. Because she’d been told by her health care providers for over two decades that she was infertile.
I told her, but you’re fertile now.
She didn’t believe me. And at the age of 43, she had a healthy baby boy.
So the woman with no hormones, basically no hypothalamic-pituitary function whatsoever, after just 18 months of taking Genesis Gold® can be weaned off all of her hormone replacement therapy, and all of our supplementation, and have normal function on her… if she can do it…
So can you.