More than 300 million women worldwide have used the Pill and approximately 100 million women are currently taking it.

It is a vehicle for many of us to ‘make love, not babies’, but the important question is – how is it affecting our mind and body?

Why I care

Hi, I’m Claire Zarb and I am a homeopathic practitioner based in Frome, UK. I specialise in working with women who have hormonal issues using safe and natural homeopathic remedies.

This blog series is close to my heart because I took the Pill for almost 10 years. Firstly to control my acne, regulate my periods and lastly as a contraceptive. I successfully used homeopathy to detox from the Pill, balance my hormones and clear my acne. I felt healthier and happier as a result; in fact I was so impressed that I quit my job in Sales Management to become a Homeopath.

This personal health journey prompted me to do some research into female hormonal health and the conventional options available. The majority of women I spoke to had a similar story to my own, they had been given a prescription of the Pill to control a variety of hormonal issues but were feeling disillusioned and unsure what to do should they want to come off it. Would their symptoms get worse? Would their fertility be affected?

I’m writing this 3-part blog series to highlight some of the possible risks associated with the Pill that might be affecting you, even if you took it many years ago. I will be talking about my own experiences with the Pill and some experiences of my clients. I hope you find this series educational and informative.

How does the Pill work?

The Pill contains synthetic hormones, which mimic your natural hormones and by doing so alter your hormonal balance to induce a biochemical state in the body so you’re temporarily infertile. It stops ovulation, makes cervical mucous impenetrable and the lining of the uterus unreceptive to implantation of an embryo.

Hormones are part of the endocrine system which is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes. Clearly, we need to approach our endocrine system with great care.

What are the side effects?

Are you on the Pill and feeling bloated? Are you gaining weight? Are you feeling vague, moody and disconnected with uncontrollable bouts of crying? Are you nauseous? Or perhaps you feel unbalanced and just not yourself?

A great many of these common side effects of the Pill are similar to that of the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy. It’s no wonder really, given that the Pill tells your body it’s expecting a baby!

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Pill is a prescription drug and like all prescription drugs it carries a certain risk. Here is a full overview of the reported risks and side effects of the Pill (many are listed on the packet).

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Reduced or increased acne
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Mood swings throughout your cycle
  • Irregular bleeding or spotting
  • Breast tenderness and/or larger breasts
  • Lower libido

Side effects are effects

With any medicine a side effect is an effect, whether therapeutic or adverse, that is secondary to the one intended. But that doesn’t mean they won’t occur! These side effects might be enough to deter some women from taking the Pill but many women are just not aware of them or don’t take them seriously.

Sometimes side effects of drugs even cause us to need a new prescription for another drug. Imagine taking the Pill, you feel depressed and then start taking an anti-depressant to handle your mood swings and hypersensitivity. Adding an anti-depressant could then contribute to a lower libido (already lowered by the Pill). The Pill might spark a chain reaction of new health problems which could be rectified by just stopping the Pill.

There are also serious health risks that accompany the Pill. These include:

  • Increased risk of cervical and breast cancers
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Infertility
  • Decreased bone density
  • Yeast overgrowth and infection
  • Increased risk of blood clotting

Clearly these need to be considered when taking the Pill, particularly for long-term use.

The unreported side effect? Nutritional deficiencies

It’s not general knowledge that the Pill also affects mineral, vitamin, essential fatty acid and amino acid metabolism and absorption. A good vitamin and mineral balance is crucial for good health and normal bodily functions and many women on the Pill are particularly deficient in certain vitamins and minerals.

Reduced Vitamin B1 in the body can lead to fatigue, weakness, insomnia, constipation, oversensitivity to noise, aches and pains, loss of appetite, sugar cravings and circulatory problems. A lack of Vitamin B6 can lead to symptoms of nausea, low stress tolerance, lethargy, anxiety, depression, weakness, skin eruptions and emotional flare-ups.

Some of the minerals particularly disturbed by the Pill are magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc and selenium. With disturbed magnesium and potassium levels you may experience symptoms of pre-menstrual cramps, anxiety, sleepiness, chocolate or sugar cravings. Copper levels are often increased on the Pill and this can lead to immune dysfunction, insomnia, mental turmoil, hair loss, migraines and high blood pressure.  Making sure you have a good diet when on the Pill is essential.

It is clear that the Pill has a significant risk of upsetting your body’s natural balance; following is an example of one of my clients who developed anxiety and a hormonal imbalance after using the Pill and has since improved their health with homeopathy.

Rachel’s story

Rachel came to see me complaining of symptoms of anxiety, irregular periods, IBS and acne, many of which started after taking the Pill. As Rachel described in her own words ‘I haven’t felt ‘right’ since taking it’. Although Rachel had been off the Pill for a few months her periods were still very erratic, she felt anxious and was on a course of anti-depressants. ‘But I don’t actually feel depressed’ said Rachel. ‘I’m just not sure what is wrong with me, I really don’t like feeling this way’.

After two months of treatment Rachel’s period cycle has begun to regulate again, the acne on her face has improved and she has less bloating. Best of all, the feelings of anxiety have lessened and overall she has been feeling a lot happier and more motivated.

Rachel’s story is unfortunately not that unusual, I regularly see women in clinic that have never been well since the Pill. Their symptoms may be variable, but the causation certainly isn’t.

I’m writing this series to highlight these risks. If you decide to take the Pill or use a form of contraception that uses artificial hormones, that is your choice, but it’s important to be fully aware of all the facts before you make any decisions.

In Part 2, I explore more of my own journey with the Pill, its common use for most hormonal imbalances and why it’s never treating the cause of your symptoms merely covering them up.

If this post resonates with you and you would like to get in touch, please email me or book in for a free discovery call via the button below.

Until next time, have a happy, healthy week. Many thanks, Claire x

Claire Zarb

Claire Zarb


t: +44 (0)7582 269569
s: c.zarb

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