Natural MD Radio: The Pill – What You Need to Know

The desire to control conception is an age old challenge for women. Women's earliest herbal texts dating back as far as the 1400s divulge a variety of methods ranging from an hollowed out citrus peel loaded with herbs to be used as a diaphragm to herbs to be taken to prevent pregnancy. It's no wonder that the advent of the pill indeed seemed to be a wonder drug, and it has provided women with an enormous amount of freedom in birth control since the 1960s.

Today, 4 out of 5 women have been on the pill at some point in their lives, and many are on it for 10 years or more. It's an easy to use and popularly prescribed method to prevent pregnancy and treat hormone imbalances, but do we know the true effects that it is having on our bodies, minds, and overall health?

The pill comes with a long list of side effects, ranging from mild to severe, that many of us never hear about. In this episode, I discuss depression, weight gain, migraines, blood clots, and cancer, among others. I also talk about potential long-term effects on reproductive health that some women experience even after discontinuing use. I give you the whole story on these side effects, risks, and dangers, along with an overview of my favorite alternative contraceptive methods.

My goal is to share with you what you need to know about the pill so that you can make a truly informed decision if you are on it, or considering it, whether for contraception or other symptoms or conditions.

Show Notes

  • What is informed consent?
  • Side effects, dangers, and hazards of the pill
  • Special concerns for women with depression or migraines
  • Hormone imbalance and other post-pill problems
  • My forthcoming book: The Hidden Hormone Epidemic
  • How autoimmune disease and the pill might be linked
  • Misunderstanding alert: the pill and your thyroid
  • What if you “need” the pill to treat another condition?
  • Warning signs to look out for
  • An overview of my favorite alternative contraceptive methods

Links Mentioned

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Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is a great resource. I also use the Kindara app to chart my cycles.


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I really enjoyed this episode! I have been using FAM + condoms during fertile periods for 10 years using just the paper charts from Taking Charge of Your Fertility. My cycles are regular and my ovulation symptoms are very clear, so I don't even take my temperature-- just tracks dates and cervical fluid. (My first child was conceived before I was charting and was unplanned, but my 2nd and 3rd were conceived the first time we "tried.") We err on the side of caution with regard to when we use condoms (8 days before projected ovulation, just in case of it comes early, and 36 hrs after ov symptoms go away) but I am so glad to know when we don't need to use them and to be so in tune with my cycles-- they have a noticeable effect on my work ethic and emotional state, and both my husband and I are glad to understand the cause of my energy/emotional highs and lows. Thank you for recommending Sustain, too! We are going to try their products. I use a menstrual cup, but it won't be long before my daughter starts menstuating. I ordered a stash for her to be prepared. I appreciate your work very much and have learned so much from you ❤️. Thank you!!


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Kylin O'Brien

Fertility Awareness works! Have used it successfully to prevent pregnancy for 18 years. It's a joy and advantage to know what's going on with my cycle with such clarity. A little trickier now that I'm 45 and occasionally skipping ovulation. All the more reason to track. Looking into the best options with my 18 year old daughter now. There is a phone app called "Natural Cycles" which helps you track your basal temp and fertile days via an algorithm. Doesn't track fertile mucus which is a failing imo. It does suggest LH testing. This is from Europe of course. Sounds like of all other options the copper IUD is most natural. Still kind of gives me the creeps. Maybe it's not too bad for you but it can't be good. Other than being convenient! Seriously though... I keep encouraging my daughter to just put her thermometer on her cell phone and take her temp and enter it into this app every day. Not only not bad for her, but powerful self and body knowledge! Thank you Aviva for your work in your world. Your book Naturally Healthy Babies and Children has truly changed our lives over the last 18 years. Really can't thank you enough.


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Marie Jessica Brown

Hello Dr. Romm. I have been a faithful follower of yours and I have just about all of your books. I am wondering how I would get an appointment with you for my daughter with you. Could you or maybe someone from your staff contact me? She is experiencing major SOS and we believe she needs your help ASAP. She is planning on becoming pregnant within the next 2 years. I think you are the Dr. she needs to see beforehand. Thank you for all of the work that you do to ensure the health of all women. Peace, Marie


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    Aviva Romm

    Thank you so much for your inquiry about becoming a patient. It is an honor to have you seek my care and to have your confidence. Unfortunately, l am on a sabbatical, thus, except for my current patients, I’m not seeing patients, and am not accepting any new applications for becoming a patient until Jan 2019 for March 2019 openings. We currently are not accepting any names for a waiting list - the waiting list had gotten to be over a year out at one point and I'd rather have you not wait that long to see a provider. However, if you want to be notified when I am taking new patients, you can write to [email protected] to be added to the notification list. However, please seek personal medical care as there is no guarantee as to when or whether I'll be able to see you. Please feel free to write again at in the late summer or early autumn; in the meantime please do seek appropriate care rather than just waiting! For legal reasons, I am unable to make referrals except to patients in my practice. Wishing you wellness, Aviva Romm