Studies have proven that birth control pill side effects include hypothalamus shrinkage.
I find it interesting that research has finally proven what I’ve seen for over twenty years. Many women who have a long history of birth control pill use end up having some sort of hypothalamic dysfunction along with other side effects.
So what’s really going on here?
Researchers found that women who use birth control pills actually had a smaller hypothalamus than women who do not use birth control pills. First of all, the researchers did not want to indicate any implications of this hypothalamus shrinkage. What they’re seeing on the MRI is a lack of use. The hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis is the communication network between your hypothalamus, your pituitary gland, and your ovaries. This axis is put to sleep when you’re taking the birth control pill. Birth control pills give your body high enough levels of both estrogen and progestin so that your hypothalamus thinks you’re pregnant. By being suppressed by these hormones, the hypothalamus does not tell the pituitary gland to stimulate your ovaries, so you don’t get pregnant.
Birth control pills disrupt the communication network between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries. Because of this, birth control does not only affect your current and future fertility, but it also affects your natural, normal hormone production. Birth control uses synthetic estrogen and 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. Natural progesterone does.
So, what’s the long-term effect of hypothalamus shrinkage due to your birth control pills?
- Lower fertility
- Diminished sex drive
- Mood and memory issues
- Sleep dysfunction
- Metabolic issues leading to weight gain, insulin resistance, and circulatory disorders
When I was a young woman becoming sexually active and the birth control pill was offered to me, I was told to take a break from the pill every few years. I was also told not to use it for longer than five years.
Back then, doctors understood 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.
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. We have infertility specialists that can get you pregnant artificially.
But birth control pills disrupt so much more than your fertility.
When your hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis shrinks, or 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, or how your body controls your metabolism. Your hypothalamus also controls your body temperature, your weight set point, and how fast you produce cellular energy and burn calories. It affects your digestion, your hunger mechanism, and whether you store fat in your fat cells. Your hypothalamus affects both your long and short-term memory, as well as your mood.
Research has also proven that people with chronic depression or bipolar disease hypothalamus is 5% smaller than people who do not have these mood disorders.
Your hypothalamus can be affected in many things including taking birth control, other environmental toxins, and brain injuries that interfere with the blood flow to the hypothalamus.
When your hypothalamus is disrupted due to birth control pills, it affects the way your body functions and the way you feel.
When women take birth control, many experience this very common side effect: their sex drive is very low or nonexistent. Again, this is because the hypothalamus is shrinking, and your hypothalamus 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. It doesn’t make any sense to reproduce or stimulate the biological sex drive.
However, 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 shrinking because of birth control use, you make less dopamine. People who make less dopamine tend to have addictive personalities, and end up looking for substances or activities to stimulate dopamine.
If you’ve been taking the birth control pill for any amount of time, you may be wondering if there’s hope for you. You may be wondering if there’s a chance that you could heal the damage that the birth control pill might be doing to your hypothalamus.
Fortunately, the answer is yes. I’ve treated women who used the birth control pill for over two decades. They come off of the birth control pill and have hypothalamic dysfunction. They’ve been able to heal their hypothalamus using Genesis Gold®.
I created Genesis Gold® exactly for this reason: to heal the hypothalamus. Whether damaged by toxins, medications, or shrunken from birth control pills.
What I’ve found is that with time, the hypothalamus can heal, but it takes a minimum of three months. However, if you’ve been out of balance for many years, you can expect full healing to take one month per year that you’ve been ill.
One of my most amazing cases as an integrative practitioner was when I was tasked with taking care of a woman who had no hormones. She suffered from panhypopituitarism, a condition of inadequate or absent production of the anterior pituitary hormones. She had no adrenal hormones, no thyroid hormones, very little insulin, and no sex hormones. In fact, she never started her period on her own. Her pituitary was not putting out the hormone stimulus to get her endocrine glands to make any of their own hormones.
Of course, it’s the hypothalamus that controls the pituitary gland and is negatively affected by this lack of hormone production.
This particular patient was using synthetic hormone replacement therapy for her adrenals and thyroid, and medication for her insulin resistance. She was on birth control pills to induce her periods and was also depressed and had panic issues, so she was taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. For nearly two decades, this patient had been on synthetic hormones and medications.
When she came to me, she wanted to try a more natural approach. She wanted to use bioidentical hormones, if possible, with nutritional supplementation. I started replacing all of her hormones with bioidentical equivalents and added nutraceuticals to help her sleep issues. It also helped her depression, anxiety, and her insulin resistance. Over time, we replaced all of her medications with natural alternatives but she was still taking a lot of stuff. She was still dependent on the natural therapies rather than synthetic, which were probably safer, but still not making her own hormones.
When I finally created Genesis Gold®, I offered it to her. Within 18 months, she began making all of her own hormones.
She’s currently off all other supplements, bioidentical hormones and she doesn’t need adrenal or thyroid support. Her insulin resistance has also been reversed. Her weight is normal, she’s sleeping through the night, and is no longer dealing with depression. She is also having periods on her own.
At the time, I told her that she could probably get pregnant. She laughed because she’d been told by her health care providers for over two decades that she was infertile. She didn’t believe me, but at the age of 43, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
I hope you find this story to be inspirational! If the woman with no hormones could go off all of her supplements and gain normal hormone function in just 18 months, so can you. If you want to learn more about how to heal your hypothalamus naturally, join our Hormone Support Group, which can be accessed through our Hormone Reboot Training.
Research Reference: Hypothalamic regulation of pituitary secretion of luteinizing hormone—II feedback control of gonadotropin secretion, Oral Contraception Linked to Smaller Hypothalamus, The Interrelationship Between Serum Pituitary Hormones in Healthy Adults.
*Statements not reviewed by the FDA.