According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 62 percent of reproductive age American women use contraception and 10.6 million women are on the Pill. It’s used to regulate periods and treat acne, as well as a host of other reproductive issues. However, research is showing that the Pill actually disrupts the gut microbiome. This sets women up for a wide range of health problems. So, if you’re on the Pill, you should understand how it’s affecting your gut microbiome.
How the Pill disrupts the microbiome
Your microbiome is a group of genes of bacteria that live throughout the body, but many of these bacteria exist in the gut. One group of gut bacteria digests (or metabolizes) estrogen.
These estrogen-metabolizing bacteria are called the estrobolome. Unfortunately, the pill interferes with the estrobolome. This means your body has a harder time eliminating excess estrogen from the body. And if your body has a hard time eliminating excess estrogen, you’re risk for hormonal problems increases, including PMS, heavy periods, PCOS and even infertility.
On top of this, the use of oral contraceptives could triple the risk for inflammatory bowel disease.
How to protect your gut when you’re on the Pill
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods, foods high in added sugar and inflammatory foods, like trans fat, all of which can worsen gut dysbiosis.
- Eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables, turmeric and high quality fish oil supplements.
- Avoid foods that tend to interfere with hormonal balance, including dairy, gluten and soy.