Many teenage girls are put on the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) in an effort to control heavy or painful periods. However, there are some big concerns around this.
From menarche (a girl’s first period) the reproductive system takes 6-8 years to fully develop. At around 20 years of age, a woman's neural and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) negative feedback pathways are fully developed.
Girls who are put on the pill during this crucial developmental stage are placed at risk of dysfunctional signalling and feedback mechanisms. They could be left with a lifetime of hormone disturbances and menstrual difficulties.
Another factor to consider is the nutrient depletion caused by taking the pill. A systematic review published in 2014 found a decrease in the serum concentrations of zinc, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium in OCP users, proportional to the duration of contraceptive use.
If you took the pill yourself for many years, you may want to consider taking a supplement such as NaturoBest's Ultimate Multi & Antioxidant.
Teenage years are a time of rapid growth and development
Taking a drug that depletes nutrients when nutrient requirements are increased, has implications for future health. It could also lead to fertility issues down the track.
Controlling the symptoms naturally
It is not necessary to take the pill. Heavy and painful periods can be effectively controlled with herbal medicine combined with dietary and lifestyle measures.
However, if a teenage girl is sexually active, discussions about contraception and open communication with her parents are vital. Education around the importance of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies should also be highlighted.
Now is a perfect time for your daughter to become educated about her menstrual cycle and empowered when it comes to her fertility. My Preparing for Pregnancy course is rich in information about hormone balance and the Fertility Awareness Method so that she doesn't have to rely on contraceptive methods with side effects. One in six couples struggle with infertility. If she is educated about her fertility, she is more likely to have an easy conception.