Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Birth Control Pill Side Effects
01/24/2013: S from Durban, Durban, South Africa: "Hi, I'm not actually looking for a remedy but would really appreciate some advice/feedback from people who have been on Yaz or from doctors. I am 29 and have never been sexually active. I went to the doctor for birth control pills and he prescribed Yaz.
Just a few things to note - I want to start taking Yaz purely for birth control and not for acne and reduced cramps etc. I am of healthy normal weight and have normal blood pressure, no kidney or lung or diabetes issues - basically overall healthy.
What scares me is all the stuff I read about Yaz - that it allegedly causes blindness. (Am I correct in saying that because Yaz contains drospirenone - it is 3 times more likely to cause blood clots leading to blindness?)
Should I take it or please advise of other brands thats appropriate for me. Thanks"Replies
01/25/2013: Anon from Anon replies: "Hi, I would say- always follow your instincts if you are not happy about this don't take it, there are other options open to you."
01/25/2013: Ed2010 from Oakville, Canada replies: "No."
01/29/2011: Earthshine from Hillsboro, Oregon, Unitedstates: "Birth Control Side effects
Okay, so I have been on BC for about four and a half years because I had a really bad acne problem and was sexually active. I'm now starting to realize that my energy and sex drive have gone way down. I live with my boyfriend who I've been with for the whole time I've been on BC and we used to be extremly active. This really stinks because I dont want him to think that I'm not into him anymore and honestly it feels weird to not have much sexual desire becuase I have always been a very intimate person. So about 2 years ago I tried to get off these things and I started to feel wild and crazy and free again but, I really dont like the feeling of condoms. They just don't feel very natural to me and I know that the pill has prevented me from getting pregnant for the last 4 and a half years andÂ I've only been with one boy, so I feel condoms to be unnecessary. So any who, I went back on them and I feel pretty boring, not sexy and yep, sex is never really on my mind anymore. Also It hurts and is uncomfortable and I'm usually dry. This is so depressing to me because this is a way that I've always expressed my attraction to my lover and I really do love him. So I'm asking for some help on here becuase I dont go to the doctors and pretty much I try to make sure birth control is the only thing I put in my body that is not good for me. I'm wondering if theres some sort of hormone birthcontrol stops your body from producing and I should take more of that but really I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to get pregnant, I don't want to use condoms, and I don't want to take anything that isn't good for me. If any of you have a solution please help me out. This is really bringing me down and messing with my mind alot. Thank you."Replies
01/30/2011: Gavin from Manganui, New Zealand replies: "In many parts of Asia, Lemon Juice is used on a ball of cotton wool.. And then inserted. This imobilises the sperm and kills any STDs."
02/01/2011: L. from Severn, Maryland replies: "I'm not a fan of taking birth control pills either. About three years ago I started using a little computerized device that takes your temperature, stores the information over a period of months, and uses this information to determine if you are fertile or not. If you do an internet search on "natural methods" you should find websites that sell these devices. It has worked for me for three years and I don't have to deal with BC side effects. Hopefully this is helpful."
02/03/2011: Earthshine from Hillsboro, Oregon replies: "I have never herd of that before is it hard to manage? Is it risky? I will have to check it out. If you have any advice on it please let me know, but thank you so much for the reply! Hope I'll find the perfect solution soon."
[YEA] 02/06/2011: Maria from Gippsland, Australia replies: "There is a great book called 'The Billings Method' that's about natural birth control. It came out in about 1980 and is written by Drs John and Evelyn Billings. Using the Billings Method you learn your own individual cycle and can plan to prevent pregnancy or to try for one. Every teenage girl should learn about her own cycle and this method teaches this. There are now Billings Centers around the world helping women. There is a lot of info on the net if you search for it. I believe this is the official site:
Although Dr John Billings has now passed away he and his wife Dr Evelyn Billings legacy lives on. This method has been scientifically proven but Drs still give the pill to girls and young women to supposedly help their cycle, even though most never do blood tests first to see which should be prescribed.
There is also a small gadget called 'Maybe Baby' it is the size of a lipstick and is a small microscope. You wake up in the morning and first thing you do is put a smear of spit on the lens and leave to dry for a couple of minutes. You then look at it and it will show up as fern leaves if you are about to or are ovulating. I bought mine at the chemist but a search online will give you more info. It has been known for a few decades that womens saliva put under the microscope could show when they are ovulating, so now you can get what is really just a mini microscope the size of a lipstick. This really does work so you can either avoid sex during your fertile time or use a condom. If trying to get pregnant then you know your ovulating time."
02/07/2011: Missy from Ny, Ny replies: "That's all and good. However, sperm can live in your body for 2 days. So even if you are not ovulating today, have sex, ovulate tomorrow, or the next day... Guess what?"
02/08/2011: Maria from Gippsland, Australia replies: "If you can learn the Billings Method, and I will say it can take a while for those with irregular cycles, you can tell when you are about to ovulate not just as you are ovulating. You are able to tell via your mucous. It has been proved to be as effective as the birth control drugs. I personally found using the Maybe Baby microscope was very easy as it shows a different pattern before you ovulate. Yes it does mean either abstinence or a condom for aprox five days of your cycle. The Billings method is easier to learn when you are not sexually active, as having sex the night before alters the mucous first thing in the morning."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 06/23/2010: Peas4everyone from North York, Canada: "Hello, I am a 24 year old woman. One year ago I went of the pill because I couldn't stand the many side effects and the constant pain in my upper abdomen. I felt better almost right away but ever since then my cycle has been uneven. Between a 25 and 31 day cycle and really severe cramping. If any one has suggestions on what I could take to regulate it or knows why it would be, I would appreciate the suggestions. I am wondering if it is still from going off the pill?"Replies
06/23/2010: Brenda from San Antonio, Texas replies: "it sounds like you just need a hormonal balance. try taking maca. I would suggest 2 caps every morning. your periods will get less painful and your cycle more on time. you must be careful when you are balanced you are also more likely to get pregnant. if you stay with this maca for 3 months your body should normalize. by the way you should stop the maca when you are bleeding. go right back on when the bleeding stops."
03/19/2013: Bobbi from Uk replies: "Hi peas4everyone. I'm bobbi, I'm aware your post is old, so have no idea if you will revisit this site. I took the contraceptive pill for several years for a long term acne problem. It gave me lower and upper abdominal pain, amongst other things. I have an inflammation problem now throughout my entire body. I think your abdominal pain is being caused by inflammation also, you do not mention any other problems but I have many. Has anyone else had this adverse reaction and have any remedy suggestions?"
[SIDE EFFECTS] 07/04/2009: Kiki from San Diego, CA: "If you think you have Female Sexual Dysfunction or low libido and you are taking birth control pills, stop taking the pills. I thought I had FSD but then stopped taking the pill after I read on the internet that low libido is a common side effect that can last for years even after stopping. No doctor or nurse ever told me about this. Slowly but surely my libido came back and I now enjoy sex again. It took me about 2 years for full recovery.
I hate how health professionals keep important information from their patients! People make so much fuss over erectile dysfunction but what about women! It is important for women to enjoy sex as well!"
10/08/2009: Kate from Salida, Co replies: "I've been on birth control pills for 8 years with no problems. I have been on the lowest-dose birth control because I thought it would be better for my body (less hormone = less drug, right?). A couple of years ago, I started noticing low libido. When I was interested in sex, it was painful. Very painful. Most times, my husband and I had difficulty with insertion. I felt dry all the time. When I spoke to my GP about the issue, I was asked about relationship problems/psychological issues, etc. My husband and I have a great and loving relationship. I have no known psychological issues (depression, anxiety, etc.). With neither relationship nor psychological issues, I couldn't figure out the problem. I decided to go to a naturopath in search of another opinion. She sat down and talked to me for well over an hour. She found that because of my lifestyle (very high-activity), I was probably converting a lot of estrogen into testosterone to suit the needs of my muscles/activity-level. She said I essentially had two options:
1.) Go on a higher-dosed birth control to have more estrogen in my body.
2.) Get off the birth control completely and allow my body to do what it's supposed to do.
I decided to get off birth control completely. I had an IUD inserted. I got the IUD made with copper only (no hormones). I could not be happier. Yes, my periods are heavier and more painful, but not too bad. A few days after the IUD insertion (days because I was crampy for a few days after insertion), I had a sex drive again. Sex was easy too. I was well lubricated (naturally). I feel more in-tune with my body and its natural cycles. I have felt great overall ever since! My husband even says my skin has a "glow" to it now. It has truly been life-changing. I highly recommend to anyone having sexual issue on birth control pills to reconsider staying on them. The route I chose (IUD) may not be for everyone, but a life-changer for me! I sincerely hope this helps someone else out there!"
[SIDE EFFECTS] 06/30/2009: Mew0116 from Detroit, MI: "I am going to write Ted also regarding this, but I also wanted to warn anyone who is using this form of birth control. I am 55 years old. I am no longer using this form of birth control but the side effects are still in my system. My OB/GYN started me on Depo Provera birth control after taking me off of the birth control pill. I was on the birtth control pill from the time I had my daughter at age 21 till about the age of 40. Because I was a smoker at that time, I was switch to the Depo Provera injection until the age of 49. Towards the end, I was just having spotting periods and then I started to no longer have a period. It came to a complete stop. But during that time, I started to experience the side effects, such as increase weight gain, painful joints, low energy, etc. I research Depo and read the horror story! I went back to my OB/GYN and requested a bone density test and refused to take another injection. Plus I wanted to know if I was in menopause, since I had not had a period in over a year so I took a hormone test as well.
The bone density test revealed that I was okay in my spine (which I doubt) but my hip was affected. The hormone test according to my OB/GYN showed that I was still fertile. Since I had refuse to take another injection, my OB/GYN suggested I have a coil. I refused and said I will take my chances.
My first course of action was to stop smoking. I have not smoked in over 5 years. I started taking Ted's ACV/BS remedy to start trying to lose th is weight and start getting rid of this toxens from the Depo Provera shot. I went back to my family doctor, who by the way, sent me to this OB/GYN, and reported to him what was going on with me and this doctor. He was shocked that I was on the Depo for so long and stated that I wasn't suppose to be on that shot for over 3 years. I complained that I was experiencing pain in my back and that I have did a symptom check on WebMD and revealed that I had Sciatica. My family doctor took x-rays and revealed that yes indeed, I had a bone hitting on nerve in my back causing the sciatica. He immediately scheduled me for a MRI. The MRI revealed that this bone (or spir or something, I can't remember what he called it) in my spine was touching this nerve and recommended back surgery. I said No to this doctor and have not seen a doctor since. That was five year ago. Since then I have been taking care of myself through stretches, Earth Clinic and the internet websites.
My questions is how can I get this Depo Provera out of my system?"
07/08/2009: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "Dear Mary:
Hormones are generally removed from the body slowly. However, its likely that the body becomes toxic after long term use. Hence the best ways to remove the hormones and it's toxic by products is for me to drink water with hydrogen peroxide, food grade. My favorite concentration is one capful of 3% H2O2 per one liter of drinking water. As to the bone thinning problem, I have found both magnesium supplements, (usually magnesium chloride and perhaps magnesium citrate) with 10,000 i.u or 20,000 i.u. of vitamin D2 or D3, taken for about a month may help some of that problem and whether to continue or not often depends on how well the back pain and it's related problems improves.
10/07/2009: Clarkey from Tampa, Fl replies: "I have had many problems with birth control - weight gain, spotting etc. I work out regularly, eat right etc. etc. The worst of my problems has been hair thinning/loss. My weight has resumed to normal, although it took a long time to do so. I have been off BC for 7 months. I wanted to have some time for my body to return to normal before beginning any treatments. I've just started taking ACV. I drink it and I rinse my hair in it. The hair growth has not been noticeable yet, but it definitely has some life and volume back. I hope to have a full recovery, get my hormones rebalanceded as I'm now peri-menopausal. I'm so glad to have found this site - as it gives me hope of finding a natural solution!
I drink decaffeinated tea, 1 tbs of ACV, add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, VitC and a squirt of honey.
Good luck, things should return to normal, it just takes time."
05/29/2010: Angela from New York, NY replies: "I have been on the pill for almost 9 years now and I would like to get off it. Much of the reason I have been on it is to control my acne. I am worried about breaking out when I get off the pill so I would like to start re-balancing my hormones - possibly taking supplements like Dong Quai and Evening Primrose. I don't know too much about this, and would appreciate any advice on how to re-balance my hormones when getting off the pill. Thanks!"
06/05/2010: Gwendolyn from Littleton, Nh, Usa replies: "Hi Angela,
I've been plagued most of my life with acne, and I'm almost 50 and finally free from it. I gave up Gluten 3 years ago and it was amazing it went away. So give it a try it might help."
05/01/2012: Msannanola from New Orleans, La, Usa replies: "To the person with Siatica. There is a book about Ortho-Bionomy that may help you. It tells you different positions to put your body in and basically do your own body work. If you go on Amazon you can get it there. It has a lot of info for Siatica. It has helped me with shoulder and wrist pain from repititive stress. It has probably saved me from surgery for carpel tunnel."
Fertility Awareness Method
05/12/2009: Rita from Rio Rancho, NM: "Side effects from birth control pills: I was on the pill for a little over a year, and then had to quit for a surgery. I resumed taking them after the surgery, and noticed that my breasts were growing! Since the surgery I had was a breast reduction, this wasn't going to work! i knew I had to find an alternative, and came across the FAM (fertility awareness method) A completely natural method that works by monitoring your cycle. It's a lot easier than it sounds! I have now been using this method successfully with my fiancee for over two years. There are plenty of books on the subject. I suggest women who are in a monogamous relationship and experiencing difficulties with the pill look into this method further.
12/01/2008: Vanessa from Missoula, Montana, USA: "Hello,
I actually have a question and could not find a fitting thread to post this (my apologies)...
I am going back on birth control pills and was wondering if there is anything (like fish oil, etc.) to compensate for any possible adverse effects on my body. I am aware that birth control pills can cause problems like blood clots, liver problems, etc., but this is the method that works best for me and my partner.
Any advise you have is greatly appreciated!
08/30/2007: E : "Up until 2 months ago, I was taking birth control pills (3 years) and medication for periodic panic attacks (on and off for 10 years, continuously for the last 2 years). I have put on 40 lbs in 2 years and after doing some research, have found that it may have a lot to do with the medication for panic attacks (decreases metabolism, turns off the "full" signal and increases cravings for carbohydrates) and the birth control pill. My doctor and I had been experimenting with several types of birth control pills and the last one left me with a horrible case of dandruff. It started 6 months ago during the second month dosage with mild dandruff and has become quite awful. As mentioned, I have since stopped taking both medications, but the dandruff is not going away. On top of all of that, I was sleep deprived for 6 months due to some very noisy neighbours.
I have now been to a Naturopathic Doctor and am now on a month long liver cleanse, multi-vitamins, extra vitamin C and Omega 3's. The ND seems to agree with my findings and has told me that I just need to wait for my body to re-regulate itself over the next month or two. I am all for doing that, however, the itching, flaking and discomfort is driving me nuts. I've tried Nizoral for 3 months, Neem shampoo for one month, and just bought a tar gel shampoo that just dries my scalp. Over the last couple of weeks, I have used tea tree/olive oil on my scalp as an overnight treatment, but that has not done anything. I currently am trying the apple cider vinegar approach. Is there any end to this or am I just doomed to wait?
Thanks for any advice for relief you may have."Replies
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "There was one interesting case, mostly from private email in curing the dandruff, which took a couple of weeks to stop most of it. The cause was pretty much well know, which is fungus and yeast. There are plenty of ways of killing them and this is well known also, such as the topical use of tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, tar, sodium selenite and others.
However the case that I had some successes were the use of vitamin D which was at the time about 15,000 i.u. which meant taking plenty of the cod liver oil each day, and the application of white distilled vinegar and some occasional use of tea tree oil or lavender oil, but not everyday as it is drying. Both vitamin A, Vitamin D, vitamin E, and evening primrose oil prevents scalp drying, that resulted in dandruff.
I have found that people with dark skin people living in cold climates, or people not exposed to the sun complained of dandruff and hence a vitamin D is implicated. Vitamin D helped in more ways than one, by increasing the immune system (vitamin D has limited ability to reduce fungus and yeast). Vitamin A, usually 25,000 i.u. taken maybe 5 days out of a week, vitamin E, 200 i.u. for example taken three times a week during morning hours, and evening primrose oil, 1000 mg taken two times out of a week were also helpful.
It should be noted that borax used as a shampoo and the solution is left overnight, has an anti-fungal effect, and also the body needs the boron to balance its hormones, which I often mixed together with a small amount of magnesium hydroxide. One approximate estimate is one tablespoon of borax in one cup of water, plus one tablespoon of milk of magnesia to be used as a dandruff shampoo. The milk of magnesia is used to raise the pH, discouraging the fungus growth (they don't grow in alkaline environments), and the borax is used to directly kill them.
The scalp circulation should be helped with a remedy for internal purposes such as 2 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice plus 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water taken twice a day. Alkalinity of the body, which results in increase circulation should also discourage fungus growth which causes dandruff.
While most solutions for stopping dandruff are drying it is the evening primrose oil, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin D (and perhaps vitamin K2 as it is also antifungal) are used to prevent the drying of the scalp.
In general estrogen lowers the body immunity as most hormones increases free radicals, and hence, this is where vitamin E and also sodium ascorbate (500-1000 mg/day for 5 days out of a week) vitamin C (alkaline form of vitamin C) shines. Magnesium ascorbate is also another possibility where the dose is about 500-1000 mg/day taken only 5 days out of a week. In case you are wondering why the vitamin C, besides it is being an antioxidant, vitamin C seems to have some anti-fungal properties too, mostly from its antioxidant properties as fungus tend to grow better in higher heavy metals, which do create free radicals.
In some cases excess heavy metals may initiate dandruff and so is chlorinated water, which lowers the body immune system by suppression of thyroid glands and hence some chlorella supplements might help, as it lowers the body heavy metal buildup. Heavy metals create free radicals and fungus tend to grow in both acidic and high metal environments, and hence it will take some time, a couple of weeks to do its job. However the frequency of chlorella supplements taken appears to be taken 4 days out of a week and the body needs 3 more days to further detoxify itself. Chinese parsley or coriander can also be taken but I believe it should be taken something like once every other day. They also chelate the heavy metals and thus removing the nutrients for further fungus to flourish causing the scalp.
In case the tea tree oil or lavender oil frequent use causes drying, I prefer to mix them together with sufficient amount of natural vitamin E to lubricate them, and that is about 50/50 mix, which is 50% vitamin E and 50% lavender oil (or tea tree oil), for example. Lavender oil is milder and less irritating than the tea tree oil.
A simpler way and cheaper of dealing with itchy scalp which may result in dandruff is the use of apple cider vinegar applied topically overnight on the scalp or just plain white distilled vinegar. At least where I lived, the price of apple cider vinegar is quite prohibitive and hence, its effects should be about the same in stopping the itchiness. The acetate portion of the apple cider vinegar is somewhat anti-inflammatory, stops itchiness, but also it is anti fungal. My experience with such use is not so drying to the skin that much. For some people who are more sensitive to vinegar, they can be left on for a several of minutes (such as 5-8 minutes) then rinse.
It should be noted that the reason why hormone use such as estrogen causes dandruff is that hormones tend to cause the body to increase free radicals, and hence the body becomes more sensitive to free radical metals and oily foods which has free radical fatty acids. Hence, it is necessary that vitamin E and vitamin C are used, but I believe that the body also needs to get rid of excess oils that may in turn create free fatty acids and become food for the yeast or fungus which causes dandruff. Therefore, I would probably take one tablespoon of granulated lecithin a day sometimes mixing with food or taken alone so that the liver won't be congested of both free fatty acids or free heavy metals. Free heavy metals are oil soluble and granulated leicithin helps the body get rid of both."
06/11/2010: Hope from Atlanta, Georgia replies: "Ted:
You're wonderful and I thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with the world. I have severely dry scalp with itching and inflammation. My dermatologist told me that the dryness and flaking I was experiencing on the sides of my nose, forehead, and ears were related to my scalp condition. Upon further research, I came to believe that this was due to yeast. I began treating my face with ACV and it's clearing up beautifully. I have been drinking ACV according to your basic instructions as well, however, my hair is chemically treated (African American) with relaxer and permanent color. Won't the ACV do damage to this type of hair? I have several other problems that I have been told may be causes of my scalp symptoms such as,endometriosis and fibroids (i.e.possible hormone imbalance). What can I do to balance my entire system?"
06/24/2011: Ski Squirrel from Whistler, Bc Canada replies: "An email for Ted: Just reading your response about removing dandruff I would like to try this method, however, I would like to ensure that it will not negatively affect other parts of my body? I recently had a BC implant removed after 3 years for several reasons and would not recommend this type of BC to anyone in the future. I have found that I have several imbalances in my body and I do not know which one to address first, or if I can address a few of them at the same time?
All my life, since I can remember I have had a runny nose (very embarrassing) which gets worse when I am active. The more active I am the more it runs either in hot or cold environments. I have dandruff or itchy scalp, I have rosacea although it is under control right now, so I am left with burst blood vessels on my cheeks, on occasion (during ski season) I have an extremely itchy pinky toe (which EV Coconut Oil fixes), I believe I have candida as I have a light white coating on my tongue. And just to top it off I have had internal hemorroids for many years on and off (which ACV is not able to assist with, nor a vege diet high in fibre - makes no difference). I had a vegetarian diet for over 7 years until I could not keep my weight on so I started slowly eating meat again, however, I am slowly moving away from a full meat diet. I have read many, many pages on all of my imbalances and I have been adjusting my diet to an alkaline diet slowly, cutting out dairy, coffee, soft drinks, (although breakfast is the hardest to adjust) and drinking more water.
I would appreciate any advice on what you suggest I attack first, or if they are all related. I did go and see an Ayurvedic Dr years ago, however he changed my cycle and did not know why so I would prefer advice from someone who knows about the big picture. Thanks so much in advance!"