How does the Pill work? Quite simply, it shuts off your body’s internal hormone production system. The Pill supplies your body with synthetic estrogen and progestin to inhibit natural cyclical hormones.
The Pill changes your cervix’ mucus cycles to prevent sperm from traveling upwards. Some forms of the Pill even affect the structure of your uterine lining to make it an unwelcome home for an egg.
Why Avoid it? There are some solid medical/scientific reasons to avoid hormonal contraceptives:
Hormonal contraceptives are made from artificial hormone-like substances that attempt to mimic the effects of naturally occurring hormones in the body. Hormonal contraceptives work by:
- Suppressing the release of hormones that trigger ovulation;
- Stimulating production of thick cervical mucus, which prevents sperm survival and ability to travel to a ripe egg in the fallopian tube in the event that ovulation does occur;
- Disrupting the ability of the cilia (whip-like cells that line the fallopian tube) to move a fertilized egg toward the uterus in the event that conception does occur;
- Preventing buildup of the uterine lining, and thereby inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg in the event that one arrives in the uterus. (source)
Personally, the mere possibility that conception could occur and then the fertilized egg could be prevented from implanting is enough to keep me from ever wanting to use hormonal contraceptives.
Medical and scientific reasons to avoid hormonal contraceptives:
- A woman who takes the Pill for two years before she’s 25 and before she’s had a pregnancy to term increases her risk of breast cancer tenfold.
- Women who have a history of migraine headaches and who take combined oral contraceptives are two to four times more likely to have a stroke than women who have migraines and don’t take the Pill.
- Women who use low-dose oral contraceptive pills have a two-fold increased risk of a fatal heart attack compared to non-users.
- Women who take oral contraceptives and smoke have a 12-fold increase in fatal heart attacks and a 3.1-fold increase in fatal brain hemorrhage.
- Women who use the Pill after the age of 45 have a 144 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who have never used it.
- Because of blocked hormone production, women who take the Pill have decreased sensitivity to smell. Because sexual interest is communicated through smell, the Pill may decrease women’s sex drives.
- Oral contraceptives may aggravate insulin resistance and longterm risk of diabetes and heart disease.