“The pill” suppresses adolescent bone growth, no matter the estrogen dose

… a prospective, population-based, 2-year observational study of Canadian adolescents aged 16–19 years showed that those who used combined hormonal contraceptives (CHC) had decreased gains in femoral bone mineral density compared with those who did not use CHC. Loss of bone mineral density on CHC was unrelated to dose of ethinyl estradiol. Earlier data had already shown the lack of a dose effect from CHC estrogen on bone; patients on 20–35 μg ethinyl estradiol CHC formulations all had suppressed markers of bone remodelling. Our recent meta-analysis comparing adolescents who did and did not use CHC also showed impaired accrual of bone mineral density among CHC users across a wide range of doses.

Why might adolescents taking CHC have lower gains toward peak bone mineral density than those not taking CHC? Bone resorption and formation are tightly coupled physiologic processes. As with the lower doses of estrogen in menopausal hormone therapy, CHC suppress bone resorption and therefore prevent the necessary bone growth that adolescents require to reach peak bone mineral density.


If you look in the mirror and see new wrinkles forming, you likely blame aging skin. But emerging wrinkles may actually be signalling diminishing bone density. It turns out osteoporosis and skin crepiness share some surprising connections.

Several studies reveal that women with osteoporosis and osteopenia tend to have more pronounced wrinkling and other signs of skin aging compared to their peers with normal bone density. Why does low bone mass translate to wrinkly skin? A few reasons explain this link:

  • Collagen loss – the collagen matrix that keeps skin plump and smooth is the same collagen that maintains the skin plump and prevents wrinkling.
  • Hormone changes – oestrogen decline during menopause can accelerates bone loss and decreases collagen and skin thickness. This contributes to sagging and wrinkling.

Studies show that skin and bones share common building blocks-proteins, and aging is accompanied by changes in skin and deterioration of bone quantity and quality. Deepening and worsening skin wrinkles are related to lower bone density – the worse the wrinkles, the lesser the bone density, and this relationship is independent of age or of factors known to influence bone mass.

Your wrinkles are trying to tell you to take care of your bones! Don’t dismiss these visible clues your body provides. Boosting bone density through having collagen daily, including weight-bearing exercise, nutrition, and other interventions can renew skin thickness and hydration.

Mood-related issues like anxiety and depression are super-common among women on the pill. Almost half of all women who go on the pill stop using it within the first year because of intolerable side effects, and the one most frequently cited is unpleasant changes in mood. Sometimes it’s intolerable anxiety; other times, it’s intolerable depression; or maybe both simultaneously. And even though some women’s doctors may tell them that those mood changes aren’t real or important, a growing body of research suggests otherwise.

… according to the research, you might have a greater risk of experiencing negative mood effects on the pill if:

  • You have a history of depression or mental illness (although there is also evidence that the pill can stabilize mood in certain women with mental illness).
  • You have a personal or family history of mood-related side effects on the birth control pill.
  • You are taking progestin-only pills.
  • You are using a non-oral product.
  • You are taking multi-phasic pills (pills with an increasing dose of hormones across the cycle rather than a constant dose).
  • You are 19 or younger.

A new study in Denmark, published in JAMA Psychiatry, investigates the effects of hormonal contraception on risk for developing depression and using antidepressant medication. The study was partially funded by the Lundbeck Foundation (Lundbeck is a pharmaceutical company that sells antidepressants). The results of the nationwide study, analyzing data from over one million women, suggest that hormonal contraceptive use may increase the risk of depression and use of antidepressants, especially for adolescents.

… The authors conclude, “Our data indicate that adolescent girls are more sensitive than older women to the influence of hormonal contraceptive use on the risk for first use of antidepressants or first diagnosis of depression.”


Contraceptive freedom made women in Britain richer, but the prescription rate is falling and even after decades its effects on the body are far from clear

It was one of the greatest medical and social advances of the 20th century, a quantum leap for women’s freedom. Sixty years ago today Britain’s young, married women were told that if they started taking a tiny pill every day they could be both sexually liberated and in complete control of their fertility.

….When we asked for your experiences we heard from women of all ages. For most, this form of contraception has had unparalleled benefits: a way to manage heavy periods, PMS or other painful conditions, a greater sense of control over one’s body and, of course, a way to prevent pregnancy.

Others had a different story to tell. They spoke of lowered sex drive, mood swings, depression and emotional numbness. The list of physical side effects was long: spots, bloating, weight gain, cramps, headaches, vertigo, tender breasts, hair loss.

Today the pill is still the most popular type of contraception for women in the UK, but prescription rates are falling. NHS data for England shows that in 2020-21 there was a 39 per cent uptake of the contraceptive pill, down from 45 per cent in six years. So what’s behind the decline? And 60 years on, how much do we really know about the pill?

…Hormonal birth control creates myriad problems for the thyroid, beginning with the depletion of vital nutrients such as magnesium, selenium, zinc, and essential B Vitamins, like folate. The thyroid needs these important nutrients, especially zinc and selenium, to convert T4 to T3. Unfortunately, no amount of supplements will help your body overcome this obstacle.

While depleting nutrients, birth control also elevates production of Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). This protein binds with thyroid hormones to carry them through the blood stream, but renders them unable to attach to cell receptors. Consequently, the body may try to compensate by overproducing T3 and T4, without actually increasing hormone activity. This could explain why some women develop Grave’s Disease after stopping The Pill. Their TBG levels return to normal, but their body continues overproducing T3 and T4.

…As the central organ in the metabolic process, the liver produces proteins, breaking down fat and hormones to generate energy. When we overload the body with an unnatural flood of factory-produced, artificial hormones, the liver becomes sluggish and inefficient. This sets off a toxic cascade of side effects that leads to inflammation, and could ultimately contribute to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease.

The National Institutes of Health were concerned about hormonal birth control’s affect of the endocrine system from the very early days. When Dr. Philip Corfman, the Director of the Center for Population Research, testified at the Nelson Pill Hearings in 1970 on behalf of the NIH, he warned that The Pill decreased the liver’s ability to change and dispose of certain chemicals, even decreasing its ability to excrete bile.

Millions of healthy women take a powerful medication every day from their mid-teens to menopause – the Pill – but few know how this drug works or the potential side effects. Contrary to cultural myth, the birth-control pill impacts on every organ and function of the body, and yet most women do not even think of it as a drug. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, rage, panic attacks – just a few of the effects of the Pill on half of the over 80% of women who pop these tablets during their lifetimes.

When the Pill was released, it was thought that women would not submit to taking a medication each day when they were not sick. Now the Pill is making women sick. However, there are a growing number of women looking for non-hormonal alternatives for preventing pregnancy.

In a bid to spark the backlash against hormonal contraceptives, this book asks: Why can’t we criticize the Pill?

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Connecting women, science and spirit, the Gynelogic Sunday Supplement delivers a bi-monthly dose of  news, views and reviews, as seen through my lady lens.