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theblackrabbitofinle

Do birth control pills permanently damage our hormone levels?

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Hi. I have a question and theory. I might be on to something. So please hear me out.

1. Let's assume that a balance of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone are necessary for clear skin.

2. Many women that are on the pill have clear skin, but when they get off, they get acne.

3. A lot of people who have taken the pill for long periods of time have reported low sex drive. (low levels of testosterone can decrease libido)

4. The pill could permanently damage our hormone production or hormone receptors. (from the internet: Oral contraceptives block testosterone production in the ovaries and increase the production in the liver of sex hormone binding globulin, a protein that attaches to much of the free testosterone in the blood, rendering it inactive.)

5. Could low levels of testosterone or blocked testosterone receptors be causing women to still have acne?

I would appreciate any input or if anyone has more info on how pills affect hormone levels.

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If you stop taking the pill, the artificial hormones are eliminated from your body within a day or two. This is why women on the pill have to take it at the same time every single day or they risk pregnancy. Your hormone levels revert pretty quickly to their normal state once the pill is stopped, so this theory doesn't really make sense to me.

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I have to agree with bunchesofsunflowers. If the hormones stayed in your body, you wouldnt have to worry about taking the pill everyday. Therefore when you do not take the pill, you end up getting rid of the artificial hormones.

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How my derm explained it to me was that when you're on the pill, you have a steady stream of hormones at all times. Even when you're on the triphasic pill, the amt you are stepping up and down is exactly the same every week and it's very easy on your body. But when you go off of the pill, your hormone levels are nothing like that. They are constantly up and down. Some days they will just drop (like, say, after ovulating and not fertilizing the egg) just to steadily climb back up again and then drop during your period. It's these spikes and drops in hormone level that are causing you to break out.

Now, this is just what she explained for me and I have cystic hormonal acne. I'm sure it's slightly different for everyone.

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If you stop taking the pill, the artificial hormones are eliminated from your body within a day or two. This is why women on the pill have to take it at the same time every single day or they risk pregnancy. Your hormone levels revert pretty quickly to their normal state once the pill is stopped, so this theory doesn't really make sense to me.

Look, I've been doing a lot of research on the internet. If you google it you will see that there are after-effects of taking the pill. Look at this article below I got from the net:

In the January issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers have published a new investigation measuring sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) before and after discontinuation of the oral contraceptive pill. The research concluded that women who used the oral contraceptive pill may be exposed to long-term problems from low values of "unbound" testosterone potentially leading to continuing sexual, metabolic, and mental health consequences.

Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is the protein that binds testosterone, rendering it unavailable for a woman's physiologic needs. The study showed that in women with sexual dysfunction, elevated SHBG in "Oral Contraceptive Discontinued-Users" did not decrease to values consistent with those of "Never-Users of Oral Contraceptive". Thus, as a consequence of the chronic elevation in sex hormone binding globulin levels, pill users may be at risk for long-standing health problems, including sexual dysfunction.

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Look, I've been doing a lot of research on the internet.

Works well for studying Madonna, but it's probably better to go read the original published research if you're studying physiology. IIRC (in which case "January" means "January 2006"), that study only looked 120 days out, by which time SHBG levels had already halved. Whatever random Internet site you got that summary from chose to view the glass as half-empty and all but imply that SHBG levels were just stuck at some abnormally high value. Presumably, they had some axe to grind that led them to slant their summary that way.

The problem with all attempts to tie sex hormones to acne is that they generally ignore the fact that there's an androgen system right in the skin that keeps plugging away even if you yank your ovaries out altogether. It's not clear how much (if any) of sex hormones generated elsewhere can even get to the skin and make any difference to anything.

IMHO, the root cause of acne is by melatonin's affect on zinc metabolism. The connection of the Pill to that is the little-known fact that lowered estrogen levels may make it harder for retinal light to suppress pineal melatonin during the day (key to properly digesting zinc/tryptophan, and to having a large nighttime surge of melatonin). If/when BCP helps, it does so by filling in the dips in the normal estrogen cycle that are more or less centered on the start of the cycle, thus giving the pineal gland the estrogen it needs to try to suppress daytime melatonin (though having the estrogen is not enough for everyone who lives in the dimness of artificial indoor light). That fits the picture and explains the acne of perimenopause for bonus points. :D

IMHO. But I am just a random Internet nut myself. :D

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databased, thank you for your input, but can you please explain your post? The part about melatonin and zinc metabolism is difficult to understand. Also, based on what you believe is the root cause of acne, what would you recommend to cure this condition?

A couple of other questions:

1. you say the pill balances out the estrogen dips so that it helps prevent acne. What about those women who are not on the pill and have clear skin?

2. Even though you say the study lasted 120 days, I still believe that the pill has long term effects on hormones. The reason being that while I was on the pill, I lost my libido completely. It's been 5 years and I have not regained it. So there has to be a long term effect. I recently went to the gynecologist and they took my blood to test all the hormone levels, including SHBG. I will post results up and then we will have some actual data to confirm or negate my hypothesis.

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Hi blackrabbit,

I was interested to read your theory and the fact that you've been for a blood test re. lack of libido. Reason being, I was on the pill for 16yrs (off and on), my libido went and has not come back, even after having come off the pill several months ago. The pill is the only thing I can put it down to, but my doc refused to think that and test my hormone levels. However, she did send me for a blood test to check my thyroid hormone levels, apparantly low libido can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid.

I look forward to you posting your blood results though. I read recently an article by a Dr saying that any adult woman with acne (in her 20s and beyond) should be presumed to have polycystic ovaries, until proven otherwise. I think this may be the case with me, but the GPs here in the UK can be more than a little unhelpful, but I think I will push for the relevant tests anyways.

Here's to regaining the absconding mojos..............! :shifty:

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I think there may be something to this. I was on BC ever since I was 16. I'm now 28, having gone off BC when I was about 26 or so. I've had problems with breakouts ever since.

In addition, another theory that I think a lot of people overlook is sunlight exposure. These days, most people work indoors all day. Most makeup and skin care products contain sunscreens, and we are constantly told to stay out of the sun to avoid wrinkles, skin cancer, and premature aging. A lot of people don’t get enough vitamin D, and deficiency can actually lead to hormonal imbalances too.

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Hi everyone. I finally got the results of my blood work. Let's analyze them and see what theories we can come up with. Please view the PDF attachment. I did not include page 4 because it didn't really have any information.

There are a couple of points I want to mention.

Point 1: My menstrual cycle started approximately on 07/22/09. The blood was collected on 07/30/09. So it was collected on day 9 of my cycle; therefore, when viewing the progesterone levels, keep in mind i would have been in the follicular phase.

Point 2: The testosterone level taken was the total testosterone, NOT the free testosterone. I asked the assistant if they were going to check the free testosterone which is the one that matters and she said yes. Apparently she didn't know what she was doing because she put in the code for the wrong one. The free testosterone can be calculated at www(dot)issam.ch/freetesto(dot)htm.

Point 3: When considering acne or libido, the reference ranges do not mean sh*t. The labs determine reference ranges by taking averages of people who feel healthy. But they do not ask these people if they have acne or low libido. So we cannot completely base our findings on the reference ranges. A more accurate test would be to take blood from people that have no acne and normal libido and compare the ranges to people who have acne and low libido.

Point 4: Apparently, my blood work indicates that I am anemic and that I have low levels of alkaline phosphatase. I admit that I do not eat any meat except for seafood sometimes, so I may have an iron deficiency. I do wonder if this could have an effect on the circulation and binding properties of my hormones? Maybe I have normal hormone levels but they are unable to bind to receptors in cells because I have a low count of red blood cells? Or maybe anemia could be a direct cause of acne. I would like to see other people's blood works to compare. I appreciate your inputs.

Untitled.pdf

Untitled.pdf

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