CONTRACEPTIVES PILLS – Whats the Real Impact For Women?
There is no doubt when oral contraceptive pills (OCP) came to life, the excitement was palatable. We couldn’t believe our luck, we thought our dreams had been answered – an easy solution to our contraception issues! Not only that, it seemed that those women with menstrual pain, cramps & heavy bleeds would find relief in this simple, easy to manage, one a day pill! But for some women the OCP honeymoon period….is over! Contraceptives pills, for these women, is a bad fit on many levels.
Many people are not aware of how STRESS HORMONES and minerals are effected with OCP use.
There are many women who take the OCP of one form or another and when we check their fasting blood cortisol levels, we see a high reading well above the reference range. Many GP’s when they see this like to investigate further by checking urinary cortisol readings. The fact is that the elevation is due to use of the OCP. So for these women, this elevated cortisol is a stress response, the body doesn’t care if its due to OCP use or due to emotional stress the response is the same – high cortisol triggers a whole series of responses in the body – whilst we need cortisol, too much of it all the time is a problem.
Elevated COPPER & Low ZINC & Selenium
Copper is a mineral which also is elevated by the use of the OCP in many women, a simple pathology test again can check if you fall into this category. Studies suggest that there is an association between elevated serum copper and post- partum depression and depressed women have higher copper levels compared with men. Elevated copper was also seen in those with congestive heart failure, infection, psychoses and in cancer patients. Other studies show that zinc is significantly lower in women who use the OCP and lower selenium although not as significant, this is important as zinc has many important roles in mood and immunity, and selenium has been shown to provide protective effects against carcinogenesis.
Whilst the OCP is convenient and has some obvious benefits, for those of you who are not feeling 100% it may be worth doing a blood test to check some of these levels and know exactly if there are any impacts on you.