Can long term birth control use affect your fertility?
If you haven’t heard, birth control pills have become free to insured American women as of August 1, 2012. Also, pap smears, mammograms, HIV and other STI screenings and counseling, gestational diabetes screenings during pregnancy, breast feeding support and equipment, and domestic violence screenings all became available the same day. Soon, all American women (not just those who are currently insured) will have access to these services. We applaud the increased medical resources now available and the preventative care that is being promoted in our country.
In our continued effort to keep women informed and aware of their health and fertility here at the YinOva center, we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss one of the ways birth control pills can potentially affect your fertility. While they are one of the most effective forms of contraception in use right now, taking them does not come without risks.
A recent study demonstrated that long-term use (more than ten years) of birth control pills could significantly thin the uterine lining, even years after discontinued use. A thick uterine lining is essential for healthy implantation and pregnancy. In Chinese medicine, we consider this effect to be due to blood deficiency from long-term stagnation.
Many women experience significantly lighter periods while on birth control, and it’s quite a relief to them! But this diminished blood flow to the uterus may, over the long term, affect your ability to conceive in the future. Blood flow to the uterus diminishes naturally as we age, so the added effects of the birth control pill is worth weighing your options in contraception choices.There are solutions within eastern medicine. Acupuncture alone has been shown to increase blood flow to the uterus, creating a thicker uterine lining. In combination with Chinese herbs, which can help build blood and improve circulation, we often see previously diagnosed “thin” linings become thick and able to sustain implantation and pregnancy. If you have a history of long-term birth control pill usage and are struggling to conceive due to a thin uterine lining, Chinese medicine can help.