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Pill-Bleeds are not periods

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Kimberley Wright Health oral contraceptve pill & health

Sorry friends, but the OCP will NOT regulate your period!

That's because pill-bleeds are not periods.

I've heard it soooo many times. Both in clinical practice, and just in conversation with friends - 'I went on the pill to regulate my period'.

That one sentence just makes my blood absolutely boil!

And not because of the poor sod that's just told me that.....because of the medical professional that let you think that's what was happening.

Because sorry lovely - that is most certainly what is NOT happening.

The Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) is a form of exogenous hormones (meaning, coming from an external source), that effectively tells your body NOT to ovulate.

The body responds to these hormones and if the OCP is effective, ovulation is thwarted.

No ovulation = no cycle

If you don't ovulate, you can't fall pregnant.

If you don't ovulate, and your body believes it is already pregnant (which is how many OCP's work), you won't menstruate.

You effectively do NOT have a cycle at all.

The 'bleed' experienced on the pill is effectively a fake period. Many doctors will tell you that you don't need to have a bleed at all on the OCP, and they're right.

Yet I've also heard so many women tell me they do have a bleed because they 'feel better' for it. And love that their 'period' is lighter on the OCP. But as I said - it's not a real period. At all. It's actually referred to as a pill-bleed or breakthrough bleed - It's just something to make you feel like you're having a cycle - perhaps so you'll not question what the OCP is actually doing to your body?

My issue here is not that people are on the pill - you are sovereign over your own body and you choose what is right for you.

My issue is that women are not being educated on their own body - their own basic physiology, and that we are not asking more questions and being our own advocates. And that women are provided the advice to go on the OCP to 'fix' a secondary issue, without having any of the above explained to them.

So please, please, please - ask questions! Get to know your body and how it works. Understand the pro's and con's of using something like the OCP.

Because the number of women with hormonal imbalances and infertility that are a direct result of years of OCP use is staggering.

I work with women whose periods have not returned, or are not regular, for up to 2 years after coming off the OCP. And if you've come off the OCP in order to fall pregnant, you can see what an issue that is.

If your reason for using the OCP is NOT contraception (think acne, heavy &/ or painful periods, irregular periods) - instead of taking a medication designed for a completely different purpose, which will only MASK the problem - look into the causes of the problem, and work to rectify those.

If skin is your issue - look at the health of your liver, digestive system, and excretory processes.

If heavy & / or painful periods are your problem - look at your stress levels, liver health, hormonal precursor status and investigate other causes like fibroids or endometriosis.

If your periods are irregular - look for any consistencies and determine where the irregularity lies. Long follicular phase? Long luteal phase? No consistency at all? This all points to hormonal imbalances, and again we need to look at liver health, hormonal precursors and hormonal excretion from the body.

There are alternative solutions to EVERY issue that don't involve taking what may be an unnecessary medication (a medication that can potentially damage your fertility long term).

What other harm ca the OCP cause?

The oral contraceptive pill has been linked to various nutrient deficiencies, particularly:

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin B2

  • Vitamin B3

  • Vitamin B6

  • Vitamin B12

  • Folate (Vitamin B9)

  • Vitamin E

  • Magnesium

  • Selenium

  • Zinc

It's actually recommended that women on the OCP supplement with the above nutrients given the way these are depleted - yet how many are informed of this by their prescribing GP?

Long term use of the OCP can also risk your risk of hypothyroidism, given estrogen can affect the production of thyroid hormones.

If you want to come off the OCP, or if you have come off the OCP and are dealing the the infertility fallout, then get in touch to organise your personal consultation and action plan.

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