The moment when I knew I deserved better from my gynecologist was when she went on a 10 min monologue shaming me for not being on the pill.
You might have experienced an unpleasant visit to your doctor a time or two as well…
Irregular periods? The pill
Acne? The pill
PMS? The pill
PCOS? The pill
Menopausal? The pill
Have a vagina? The pill
I could keep going, but I think you get the jist.
Why are they so adamant on putting you on a prescription drug versus addressing the root cause of your symptoms? Simply because medications and surgical procedures are their levels of expertise and it would be asinine for us to expect anything else.
It’s curious though, that my gynecologist didn’t even know how the birth control pill worked. Other than “it prevents you from getting pregnant…”
But how? By what mechanism? Did she think I wasn’t educated enough to understand? Or did she lack the knowledge herself?
This isn’t a rip on doctors, it’s simply my experience in hopes it gives someone out there the hope and power over their own bodies!
I digress… So this led me down the road of research and finding out for myself since getting honest, unbiased answers from my doctor were out of the question.
How do birth control pills work?
After reading a recent post by Dr. Jolene Brighten, I was inspired to pass along this information for those of you uncertain of the mechanism…
There are 2 types of birth control:
1. combination pill – contains synthetic estrogen and progestin
progestin-only – contains only progestin
Both work by “suppressing the signals from your brain to your ovaries and altering natural function of the reproductive system.” states Dr. Brighten.
How do they do this exactly? Most of us have no idea (until now):
1. Synthetic Estrogen:
…provides a negative feedback loop to your brain that there are enough hormones and there’s no need to take more. Similar to when men take testosterone…their body receives the signal of “we have plenty, no need to make more.”
More specifically, it suppresses hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and pituitary gonadotropin secretion which then suppress luteinizing hormone (responsible for kickstarting the ovaries to ovulate).
No ovulation means no corpus luteum, and no ovarian hormone production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone (almost half of our hormonal production FYI).
…makes the endometrium (lining of the uterus) less favorable for an embryo to implant. It also causes changes in cervical mucus making it much less ‘swimmable’ and much more difficult for sperm to make it to the egg. It can also alter how your fallopian tubes function in terms of carrying the egg to meet the sperm.
So there you have it! Hoping this arms you with knowledge and power about your choices so you can head an educated conversation with your doctor rather than feel victimized and shamed into taking a drug that wasn’t properly introduced to you.
And just words of advice, find a doctor you’d feel comfortable having her in the room while you give birth – if you don’t have that level of trust with your current doc, I’d suggest finding one you do!