How hormonal contraceptives work, and at what cost to women's health?
Why is hormonal birth control so effective?
👉🏻 They interfere with ovulation
Your HPO axis is an open line of communication between your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries which allows ovulation to occur. (Ovulation is how we make progesterone!). Your hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which causes your pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which then stimulates your ovaries to start preparing your eggs for ovulation.
When you take birth control, this line of communication is broken. In many cases the ovaries can completely shut down.
👉🏻 They interfere with implantation
Conception requires your endometrial lining to be fully developed. After ovulation, progesterone supports the thickening and maturation of that endometrial lining. Hormonal contraceptives interfere with this process as they prevent ovulation, which in turn means your endometrial lining never gets the chance to fully develop, which means you are less likely to conceive.
👉🏻 They prevent your cervix from producing fertile-quality mucus
Hormonal contraceptives result in an impenetrable mucus plug in the cervical canal, which prevents sperm from reaching the uterine cavity. And this prevents pregnancy!
So hormonal contraceptives are effective, but do they come with side effects? Yes, many. Which begs the question; effective, but at what cost to your health?
Check out part 2 where we talk about the SIDE EFFECTS!
(Source: The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack)