PCOS and birth control – the dynamic duo? If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS as a fellow cyster, first, welcome to the club. Second, no doubt you’ve been offered hormonal birth control as a treatment.
PCOS may cause a woman’s body to produce higher than normal levels of androgens and other hormonal imbalances. These imbalances can lead to an unpleasant array of symptoms – which are soooo exhausting.
So, when you go to the doctor seeking refuge from the symptoms of PCOS, girl I know you’re looking for answers! After a myriad of blood tests or ultrasounds, you receive the diagnosis. When the doc quickly prescribes you the pill, it might seem like there’s an answer to the frustration you’ve been feeling.
So what’s the deal on all this, does hormonal birth control really work for treating PCOS?
TREATING PCOS WITH BIRTH CONTROL
Cyster, you’re not alone. I know you’re seeking some relief. Whether you’re trying to stop the excess hair growth, calm the acne, bring your period back, or even prep for pregnancy, you’re willing to try anything. These PCOS symptoms may feel totally out of control. When you’re in the doctor’s office, you’re seeking out comfort in any form or fashion.
I get asked a lot “should I take birth control for my PCOS?” Taking hormonal birth control is a very personal choice and one that I personally support no matter what you choose. It’s your decision in the end, babe. BUT, I do want you to be FULLY informed when you make that call.
So when you do decide to take hormonal birth control, does it treat PCOS? Yes and no. Birth control doesn’t work as a cure, but it can have a “bandaid” effect. This means, you may feel relief, but if you switch birth control or get off of it, the PCOS symptoms may return with a vengeance.
But what’s the reasoning behind prescribing it? According to the American College of Gynecologists, “The hormones in birth control pills may help regulate menstrual bleeding. The pills also may help reduce excessive hair growth and acne. And the pills may decrease the risk of endometrial cancer.”
So, not terrible benefits. Yet cysters, if you’ve been down this road before, you know that it may be a carousel of finding a pill that works to mask these symptoms for you.
Who else is tired AF of hearing about treatment that may or may not work? No matter what kind of BC you land on, I’ve got just the program to help counteract and even fix the symptoms of PCOS you might be dealing with. I take a holistic approach to women’s health that can kick nasty PCOS symptoms to the curb sans ANY use of synthetic hormones.
IS BIRTH CONTROL BAD FOR PCOS?
Girl, you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your body. BUT, it’s good to know the facts. That’s what I’m here for. Is birth control bad for PCOS? Here’s the skinny.
While it may not be flat-out bad for our fellow cysters with PCOS, birth control may have some unpleasant side effects that can actually make us even more frustrated than we were in the first place.
Birth control may deplete vital nutrients in the body that help us feel happy, energized, and healthy. Due to this, it’s imperative that you’re supporting your nutrition with supplements to keep your body supported.
Hormonal contraceptives won’t fix your symptoms. As we mentioned, a band-aid isn’t a cure. If you ever come off birth control, the PCOS symptoms will come back.
It does NOT regulate your cycle – sorry boo. A birth control bleed isn’t a real period. It’s a withdrawal bleed from the hormones you’re taking. It will however feel more normal in some cases if you find a hormonal option that works well for you.
But, there are millions of women who benefit from PCOS symptom relief and the prevention of pregnancy due to hormonal contraception. If you’re one of them, keep doing you boo. I support you and love that you found something that works great for you.
BEST BIRTH CONTROL FOR PCOS
As I said earlier babe, the best birth control for you is the one that you choose. We love a woman’s choice here okay?
But to truly pick out the best birth control for PCOS, you need to first know what each form of birth control entails.
Let’s break each one and its side effects down together:
Hormonal Birth Control: This common form of contraception includes the pill, the patch, the ring, the implant, and a couple of variations of the IUD. It works with PCOS to reduce free testosterone – a hormone that can cause many of the PCOS symptoms. It’s also 91-99% effective at preventing pregnancy if used properly. The most common side effects of the birth control pill include headache, nausea, breakthrough bleeding, and breast tenderness. Rarer side effects include the possibility of stroke or blood clots.
The Copper IUD: With this birth control option, you receive an intrauterine (inside your uterus) device called the copper IUD. It works as a toxin against both the sperm and the egg – thus, preventing pregnancy. It’s a whopping 99.9% effective as a non-hormonal option. What are the side effects? You could anticipate bleeding between periods, cramps, heavy bleeding, and possibly at worst, expulsion or breakthrough the abdominal organs.
Barrier Methods: The tried and true, we’ve all heard of these non-hormonal options. But, I’ll be you haven’t heard of all of them. Barrier methods include the male or female condom, a diaphragm, a cervical cap, or a sponge. The effectiveness of these methods range per product – so, if you’re looking to prevent pregnancy, do your research first babe. The plus side is – many of these methods don’t have side effects. Just watch out for irritation or allergies from various chemicals or products. Protect your V, bae!
Fertility Awareness Method: Hmmm, is this the rhythm method? Nope! You may have heard about the fertility awareness method and thought the two were synonymous. But the real fertility awareness method is a scientifically studied method of nonhormonal birth control. Used at its highest potential, this holistic approach to women’s health is 99.6% effective at preventing pregnancy if that’s your goal. It’s also amazing for tracking your cycle to learn if you’re ovulating and notice other hormonal health trends. We love data around here girl. Side effects? Absolutely NONE!! But, if you don’t learn an official method such as Symptothermal (there’s multiple) you could risk imperfect use resulting in pregnancy.
What are your thoughts? Personally, hormonal birth control for me made me gain a shit ton of weight and made me feel like a crazy person, and all together upside down. So, catch me on the fertility awareness method train, all day erryday.
When in doubt, ask your doctor for more info. I’m also happy to answer any questions about my experiences too.
Oh, and one final note, please, PLEASE avoid period tracking apps. The accuracy of prediction by menstrual cycle apps was found to be no better than 21%. Yup, you read that right… twenty-one percent…I know. It’s easy, but it’s not accurate babe. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy, please don’t rely on these apps. There are tons of other reliable birth control methods or ways to track ovulation.
CAN BIRTH CONTROL CAUSE PCOS?
You might be thinking, wait…WHAT?
But yeah babe, you read that question right. Can birth control cause PCOS?
Yes and no again. Sorry for the partial answers cyster. So, if you didn’t know there are actually multiple types of PCOS. And, yes, there is a type called post-pill PCOS. This type of PCOS comes from taking the pill or another form of hormonal birth control – leaving your hormones in a whirlwind.
Hormones affect more than we realize. Taking the time to explore what could be causing your PCOS symptoms through testing and working with PCOS professionals (like myself) can help you pinpoint your type of PCOS.
HOW TO TREAT PCOS WITHOUT BIRTH CONTROL
Is there really a holistic form of women’s care? Can you pursue it?
Absolutely babe. I’m here as living proof of it. You don’t have to feel limited from prescription pills like metformin (hello, digestive problems) or other hormonal treatments. There really are options out there!
Hundreds of other cysters just like you (and myself) have come to this crossroads. If you’ve decided that hormonal birth control isn’t the best option for you (again totally YOUR choice boo), then I’m here to help. Together, we can navigate hormonal testing, in-depth nutrition and foods that help PCOS, kick-ass supplements, and more.