Chaos to Calm

Hormonal Contraceptives: Why the pill and mirena are not your only choice when managing perimenopause symptoms

May 28, 2023 Sarah McLachlan Episode 11
Hormonal Contraceptives: Why the pill and mirena are not your only choice when managing perimenopause symptoms
Chaos to Calm
More Info
Chaos to Calm
Hormonal Contraceptives: Why the pill and mirena are not your only choice when managing perimenopause symptoms
May 28, 2023 Episode 11
Sarah McLachlan

Are you exploring your choices for dealing with those perimenopause symptoms? Have the pill or mirena been recommended for you but you would like to know which alternatives are out there? Join Sarah this week as she chats about your options and why the pill or mirena are not your only choice when managing perimenopause symptoms. 

Tune in to find out about:

  • The truth about contraceptives and balancing hormones
  • How the pill affects your hormones
  • Why the mirena is more commonly offered for women in their 40s
  • How they can actually exacerbate your symptoms
  • Considering the risks associated with the pill in your 40s
  • Balancing your biochemistry using food as medicine
  • Focusing on making small changes
  • Reclaiming health and regulating your cycle

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Show Notes Transcript

Are you exploring your choices for dealing with those perimenopause symptoms? Have the pill or mirena been recommended for you but you would like to know which alternatives are out there? Join Sarah this week as she chats about your options and why the pill or mirena are not your only choice when managing perimenopause symptoms. 

Tune in to find out about:

  • The truth about contraceptives and balancing hormones
  • How the pill affects your hormones
  • Why the mirena is more commonly offered for women in their 40s
  • How they can actually exacerbate your symptoms
  • Considering the risks associated with the pill in your 40s
  • Balancing your biochemistry using food as medicine
  • Focusing on making small changes
  • Reclaiming health and regulating your cycle

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Sarah McLachlan:

Hey there. I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the chaos to calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode we'll explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm, and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on chaos to calm as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life. Hello, and welcome to The Chaos to Calm podcast where we are always discussing how to master the chaos of changing hormones mood, metabolism, energy in your 40s and beyond. I'm Sarah the perimenopause naturopath, your host welcoming you to episode number 11. And we are going to be discussing why the Mirena or the pill are not your only options for dealing with perimenopause symptoms. So maybe your doctor has suggested using the pill or putting a Mirena in. If you've approached them for help with your perimenopause symptoms, I find it's really common option for anything sort of cycle related heavy bleeding, pain, PMS, panacea for anything and everything. And it is really amazing that we do have options, and legal ones for preventing pregnancy and and I pray, you know, some kind of approach for hormones. It's really not a fit for everyone. And and I do want to flag that it actually doesn't resolve your hormone issues. And I touched on that in the last episode where we're talking about heavy bleeding. But just to start out strong there. These things are not going to resolve any underlying hormonal issues or imbalances. True in perimenopause, true at any phase of your reproductive life or your menstruating life. So teens young adult, after pregnancies whenever it does not resolve hormone issues, just putting it out there. It's going to work yes for many things. But it doesn't actually resolve the underlying issue. And that's really important. We want to resolve the underlying issue. Because if we don't, we're just and we're suppressing some symptoms, your body is going to send you some flags, symptoms somewhere else in the body to tell you that things are out of balance. So just keep that in mind. It's really important, suppressing symptoms. Well, yes, it'll bring you some relief from that, but it's not going to resolve the underlying issue. And that your body is going to show you that up somewhere else. Let's start by having a chat about what the pill what the Mirena you know, hormonal contraceptive site that what are they what do they do? So, you've got a few different things that will fall into that we've got the pill. You might have oral contraceptive pill OCP implant on and IUDs like the Mirena. Now. They have synthetic forms of progesterone and, or estrogen. Sometimes you get a pill, it's just too many pills, just progesterone. Please understand that the structure of these hormones in these contraceptives is not the same as the hormones that your body makes. So for example, the synthetic progesterone hormones in the oral contraceptive, the progestin so they're not progesterone, they're actually more similar to testosterone. And that's why they can contribute to things like hair loss and weight gain in women because when we have relatively higher testosterone levels, it puts us in insulin, it impacts your insulin can put you into insulin resistance and fat storage mode. So I'll just go back and talk through the pill. First up, the pill works by preventing ovulation, which means that there's no egg released from the ovary so you do not get the opportunity to make your own progesterone, the remembering the only way we make progesterone is by ovulating. So without ovulation there's also no egg for fertilization. So prevent In pregnancy, it's also important to note that if we're not ovulating, when you switch over to the sugar pills, it's actually not a period that you're having. It's just a withdrawal blade from those hormones because you haven't ovulated you don't get a period. Of course, sometimes we do have anovulatory cycles. And that can just it's just the lining shedding in terms of its built up toothache and it'll come away. This happens a lot in perimenopause, and I'll feel the Tory cycles. I'm going to pause that thought there though, because that's like a whole nother podcast mental note to self. Put that on the list, Sarah. So yes, as I said, the synthetic hormones in the pill, usually a combination of estrogen and progesterone. And the hormones work by suppressing your natural hormone fluctuations. And that prevents ovulation prevents a thickening of the uterine lining, and alters your cervical mucus as well. So it's difficult for sperm to get in. Now, the other thing, Marina, let's talk about that, except I actually. So first up, there's a whole lot of negative side effects and risk factors that are increased for women taking the pill in their 40s. So I am finding that for many clients, it's not on offer so much from the GP, which is good, because you know, you don't want to increase your risk of having a drug basis or a clot there. So the Marina is often offered here, as a panacea is the cure for all perimenopause ills. Seems like it anyway. So once in place, it continuously releases a small amount of estrogen into the uterus, a version of it a synthetic version, very low dose, so that is good. That hormone changes your cervical mucus, so it makes it really difficult for the sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. And it thins the lining of the uterus. So it's less receptive to an an egg implanting their pregnancy being viable. So that's important to understand. And Murena actually lets you ovulate, it lets you create your own progesterone. So if you do need something for contraception, well, you know, you might not want a bonus baby in your 40s or into your 50s. So it is a better option than the pill because it does let you ovulate and make your own progesterone. So yay for that. And it does have more of a localized effect. So you know, the pill, those oral contraceptive, it goes all around your body systemically releases hormones into your bloodstream that have a systemic effect all so meaning all over your body. The Marina's hormonal action is mostly localized. But instead the hormone levels in the bloodstream are much lower. So it does have some benefits over the pill. But it's still not going to address the underlying issues for things like heavy bleeding, pain, the PMS. So you might want to use the, you know, you might want contraceptive, as I said, for preventing bonus babies. And if you're done building a family, then absolutely you don't necessarily want to surprise baby. And if your cycle is starting to change in terms of regularity, then it can be really hard to know when you're going to be fertile and when you're not. So again, Tracker, track your cycles. And even if you do have the marina in it's good to track your cycle leading into that but also use so this is I guess a downside is it yes, you won't necessarily have a period. So the Marina you don't know. Most women don't have a bleed, some women do. And if you're not having a bleed, though, you may still find yourself with PMS, small breasts or breast tenderness, because the Mirena doesn't stop those things. So just FYI, yes, you may not have a period you might resolve the heavy bleeding is not necessarily going to resolve the other issues. And it's the same with the pill as well. But anyway, you do need to address your need for contraception in the pre menopausal stage, especially if you're finished building a family. So ideally, you would use contraception for a year after menopause, if you're in your 50s and two years if you're in your 40s when you go through menopause because it can be difficult to know and of course your fertile two weeks before you actually have a period if it's going to come so by the time you you know when you would have it it's too late. So often women get told if they're having period issues like Have you bleeding and other symptoms that you know your GP or tell you to have these hormonal contraceptives to regulate that? I just want to say it doesn't regulate that it just shuts down your own hormonal symphony, the pill. And while the Mirena does let you ovulate, it's true, it doesn't necessarily do more than approach your heavy bleeding. So, using things like the pill, it's actually kind of putting you into a chemical menopause. Yeah, because it's shutting down your own hormonal symphony. The thing is, with that, you're gonna have to go through menopause at some point. So again, we're suppressing the symptoms when we're using those things, but not dealing with the issue, which is looking at your overall health, looking at your nutrients, looking at your detoxification, elimination, and optimizing your health at that cellular level. So everything's working as best as it can to help support you and your body to adjust to the change in your hormones. So, interestingly, with hormonal contraceptions, is that as I said, they do work well with your heavy bleeding. And sometimes people have benefit with things like acne, but that actually can also increase other symptoms like hot flushes, mood swings, anxiety and low libido. So that can be really difficult. Is it perimenopause, or is it your pill, or what's contributing to how you're feeling there? It's tricky. So you can still as well, even though as I said before Mirena is localized. Some people, some women may still experience side effects, similar to what I just mentioned, with other forms of hormonal contraception, breast tenderness, mood swings, headache, acne, nausea, you can still get all of those things. So you see that the pill or Marina as a solution for perimenopause symptoms, is really only about heavy bleeding. And as I said, it doesn't resolve what's contributing to that heavy bleeding. So don't forget episode number 10 is all about heavy bleeding. If you haven't listened to that, go back and have a listen because I talk you through what to do and what to address and think about there as well. So you do also want to consider the risks associated with the pill in your 40s, because you do have a higher chance of cardiovascular issues like stroke and blood clots, as well as a higher breast cancer risk, which is why some doctors won't prescribe it in your 40s, which is good. But also need to think about what the alternatives are there for you. And so if you, you know, if it's just contraception that you want it for, then you're looking at things like barrier methods, condoms, diaphragm, there. And as I said, Mirena has the least concerns hormone wise, but still check with your doctor It's not an episode if I don't mention it. So one of my clients Braun, I want to tell you about her experience because she was a classic, Will whatever comes next, it's been one of the best investments I have made in myself and my health. So good. I'm so happy for Braun. And she really did notice some differences within the first cycle after implementing the personalized nutrition plan that I created for her as part of her program time with me in the chaos to car method. So it is really powerful. Choose something that you can do think about what you can do not what you can't just as easy for your brain to think about what it can't do as what it can, but the outcome is so different for you. If you focus on what you can do, start making a change, nail that change in habit, and then add in some more, and see how you go. And if you want to help with it, of course, I'm here. So please reach out to me if you do want some help in creating those changes for yourself. And you want to explore food as medicine, which is really sustainable and maintainable. Because you gotta eat, you might as well harness the power of those meals across your day and your week. So just to finish up, I wanted to talk about, you know, the idea of regulating your cycle and those hormonal contraceptives using the pill, it's just shutting down your hormones and masking the problem, we really always want to approach looking at the underlying cause the root cause of what's going on. And always think about hairspray that song, I can't remember the name of it right now. Apologies. But they they put it best. You can't stop the beat. You can try to stop the seasons girl, but you know, you never will. So yeah, sure, you might shut down your hormone cycle and get some relief from some of those symptoms. But the underlying imbalances, the underlying changes in your biochemistry while they're still there. And you know, you're going to have to face the transition to menopause at some point. And the longer that you put it off, the rougher that it can be. It isn't all doom and gloom, the fluctuations of perimenopause, they are a natural part of it. But we can smooth them out, we can support and optimize your body. You can do those small things and see a big difference and a big change. One of the best things that you can do that you can start with is addressing lifestyle. And you can do that. And you know, you can look at what you're doing, what your schedule is like what your kids schedule is like and see what you can off, load or delete, automate in your life to reduce your busyness. Because stress is the biggest blocker to health and happiness and weight loss and a healthy cycle at any phase of life. So yeah, instead of it being horrific, it can actually be a really wonderful period of reclaiming your health, your energy, your enthusiasm. You get to decide what do you want next? What do you want the next phase of your life to be? That is what perimenopause is all about and that transition to menopause. It is change. Just like when you retain you get to decide where you fit in the world what you want to do what you're passionate about. It's the same for us here in perimenopause into menopause, it's not the end, it is the beginning of the next phase of your life, you get to decide what you want to do and where you want to be and what you want for that chapter. You know, it's up to you to write the ending and decide what you want. On that point. I'm gonna leave you that that's all for this episode number 11. So main takeaway here is I really want you to understand that and make informed choices about what you're taking or what you're doing with your body and know that yes, these may help you with relieving things like heavy bleeding, but it's really important to still have a look at and address the So don't forget you can find the show notes and much more at www.chaostocalmpodcast.com And from there as well you can send me a message and let me know if you have any questions or any feedback, any topics that you would like me to cover off of any questions do you have about perimenopause, I'd love to create content just for you. That is really relevant to you. And if you enjoy the show, please do rate and review me wherever you are listening Like lethargic and exhausted and until that time, I'm Sarah, the perimenopause, naturopath, reminding you perimenopause does not have to be horrific and thanking you so much for sharing your time with me today. It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy. But I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand that aren't alone in feeling this way. And that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this chaos to calm conversation.