Last week during the presentation “Utilizing the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign” at the National ACNM Conference, I got to talk just a little bit about Fertility Awareness and Cycle Charting. (You can view the presentation online at the ACNM Live Learning Center.) But mostly I discussed the variety of reasons and conditions that prolonged hormonal contraceptive use and/or menstrual suppression can mask. And here’s a example to go along with that…
Toni Nagy writes, “The last ‘Western’ medication I ever took was birth control pills. Yet at 25 I decided I didn’t want to influx my body with hormones any longer, even though it was convenient. After I stopped taking the pill, I didn’t get my period for two years. I finally went to the doctor, got an MRI, and found out I had a ‘brain tumor’ in my pituitary gland. The tumor, although benign, was problematic to my health. It was threatening to cause blindness because of its proximity to my optic nerve, had the potential to become malignant, and was also inhibiting my ability to get pregnant. At 27 years old I was told I would never have children.” Read her entire story and the path to health and healing: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/is-holistic-health-hocus-pocus-toni-nagy/
While the Pill probably didn’t cause her tumor, it may have absolutely masked the symptoms that would have been present had her fertility and menstrual cycle not been suppressed. Normal periods (defined by parameters of frequency, regularity, duration, volume, and pain level) tell us that there’s a good chance she’s healthy… just like her blood pressure reading indicates that she’s probably healthy… it’s a vital sign!
If a woman uses hormonal contraception for years or even decades, it may allow an unnoticed, underlying condition to get worse and worse.
Q: What’s just 1 alternative to using hormonal contraception to avoid pregnancy?
Q: What are some alternatives when the Pill is used off-label to treat irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal bleeding, recurrent ovarian cysts, severe menstrual cramps, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, and other menstrual cycle conditions? (Hilgers)
A: Find out what’s causing it! Treat it holistically with nutrition, exercise, mind/body/spirit practices, supplements, and more (like Toni treated her tumor)! Find treatments that work with fertility and reproductive health (like progesterone supplementation for 2 weeks) instead of against it (like continuous hormonal contraception for weeks or years on end).
We all know hormonal contraception has its side-effects… but what about the potential warning signs that your body is trying to let you know about but are being suppressed due to the Pill? Who knows! Maybe Toni was put on hormonal contraception to “regulate” irregular cycles… that were caused by the tumor… so symptoms are masked and conditions are left untreated.
Do you know or have a hunch that hormonal contraception you used masked underlying conditions?