How are severe menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, PCOS, and endometriosis all treated by mainstream medical doctors? Birth control.
The problem with this “solution” is that it does nothing to actually fix the problem. It merely masks the symptoms, and sometimes it doesn’t even do it well. Even if birth control does the trick for your symptoms, what happens when you want to get pregnant? Doctors don’t have a solution for this. On the flip side, if you’d like to avoid pregnancy, it’s not healthy to be on hormonal birth control for years or even decades. Many believe this is their only option, but I’m here to tell you it’s not.
The problem with hormonal birth control is that you no longer have your period. Sure, you may bleed each month (depending on which form you choose), but that’s not a period. It’s breakthrough bleeding that is manipulated by synthetic hormones. Over time, this can wreak havoc on your body and cause your body’s own hormone levels to swing even farther out of balance. This can create new or worsening symptoms and even increase your risk of some types of cancer.
Ah, so that’s where the copper IUD comes in, right? Wrong. Lots of people assume that copper IUD’s are a safer/healthier option because they don’t actually contain hormones. The problem, though, is that estrogen levels in our bodies are linked to copper levels. When copper rises, estrogen rises. When copper falls, estrogen falls. So inserting a copper object into your body is certainly going to impact your hormone levels, which is exactly what it’s meant to do in order to prevent pregnancy. I see clients ALL the time who have a copper/zinc imbalance due to copper IUD’s (and all forms of hormonal birth control). The good news is that we can work on correcting this imbalance to improve symptoms at the root level!
At the end of the day, menstrual cycle symptoms are always related to liver health (though that’s not always the only factor). Your liver is responsible for over 400 roles in your body including processing hormones and toxins. If you haven’t already, it would be wise to start cutting out toxins that you are putting into your body. Swap out plastic for glass, use cleaner cosmetics, soap, shampoo and other personal care products, and most importantly eat a healthy diet. Everything you put into your body has to be processed by your liver, and that includes synthetic hormones. If you are having symptoms of a hormone imbalance, adding MORE hormones is not going to solve the problem. It will just burden your liver further.
If you’ve been feeling stuck, like birth control is your only option to manage your symptoms, perhaps it’s time to consider another option. A whole body approach with a practitioner who knows how to connect all the dots can offer real healing as an option for you. Herbs, dietary suggestions, and/or lifestyle changes just might be the answer you’re looking for. It’s amazing what can happen when we start treating women as individuals rather than taking a one size fits all approach to mask symptoms!
Denise Brusveen is a Certified Women's Herbal Educator and Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner and holds a Master of Science degree with a research emphasis in reproductive physiology. She is passionate about helping girls and women to become informed about holistic options to overcome health challenges related to their hormones.