The modern birth control pill is easily one of the biggest milestones in reproductive health. From the first time it was introduced to the public in the 1960s, the birth control pill has changed the lives of so many women around the globe, allowing them to take more control over their bodies. Unfortunately, as life-changing as this technology has been, it is also far from perfect.
Hormones affect the body in ways that go beyond the reproductive system, not least of all, the condition and overall health of the hair. Adding the pill into the mix inhibits much of the body’s natural hormone-producing functions, creating a domino effect on the rest of the body.
Long-term use of birth control pills has been found to have drastic effects in the guts. In a 2014 study, scientists found out that like strong antibiotics, birth control pills disturb the perfect balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. This gut microbiome has a direct effect on many of the body’s functions, but it is especially essential in maintaining a healthy immune system and these disruptions end up weakening the immune system. Long-term birth control pill users are more at risk of auto-immune diseases and other illnesses.
Because of the disruption in the gut's natural ecosystem, the stomach’s capacity to absorb nutrients are also disrupted, as per the findings of this 2011 study on the impacts of oral contraceptive use. In particular, it prevents the body from absorbing the following vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, which plays an important role in the body’s collagen production, which, in turn, is important in hair growth and health; B vitamins, including biotin which is necessary for hair growth and hair loss prevention; and magnesium which is also important in keeping the hair healthy and vibrant as well as for overall health.
Hormones play an important role in hair health. Male pattern baldness, for example, is proof of this. Introducing artificial hormones via oral contraceptives will eventually cause an imbalance on the body’s natural hormone levels. Long-term use of birth control pills has been found to directly cause hair loss via hormone imbalance. Aside from that, hair loss can also come from the stress triggered by other side effects of oral contraceptive use, including rapid weight gain, infertility, and depression and anxiety among others.
There are many other alternatives to the pill that have the same benefits but without the drastic effects that birth control pills have. And if you do have to use birth control pills, it is important to know which side effects to expect and how to counter them. A good diet and a healthy lifestyle is a good place to start.
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