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. 

Most women tend to think about their monthly cycle in a very binary way. You’re either menstruating or you’re not. What’s more, we think that uncomfortable periods and painful PMS are normal because they’re so common.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Your monthly cycle is actually divided into four distinct stages, and each phase of your cycle has it’s own set of dietary needs. Most women have no idea that they can dramatically and positively impact their cycle with some simple dietary changes. Are you eating the right foods to support your cycle?

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The foods we eat have a big impact on our health and wellness, and that includes reproductive health and fertility. And while there’s enough diet advice out there to make your head spin, these three get tips are simple, straightforward and something any woman can try – even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant. After all, they won’t just improve reproductive health and fertility. Instead they’ll have a positive impact on overall health, too. 

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