Women are such amazing creatures that this is frankly the boggling mind at times. I know what you think – you and I are both women, so such self-praise seems a little excessive.
But really, think about it for a minute. Our physical makeup is radically different from that of our male counterparts. We need to train almost twice as hard to make substantial gains in the gym, and we are genetically pre-programmed to store more fat than men, all due to differences in our hormonal makeup. Let's face it, ladies, our bodies are built for child rearing, not heavy lifting or figure contests. Whatever the fact that these babies are or not a goal for you, your system will always do its best to ensure a soft and comfortable atmosphere for the development of this baby during the first nine months of its existence
What is even more interesting is the fact that if you are actively working on preventing pregnancy you will likely have an increased hormonal imbalance and even more pronounced effects of the estrogen hormone doing its job.
I do not know what I'm talking about? There is a phrase that will evoke memories of swelling, fat gain, nausea, spotting or breaking bleeding, mood swings and even severe headaches. This is a short phrase with a lot of power.
Most of those who have tried contraceptive pills are well aware of their possible side effects. These are to be expected;
Contraceptive pills are composed of synthetic estrogen and progesterone (or in some cases, just one of these two). Since the menstrual cycle and ovulation are regulated by these hormones, this increase causes a variety of changes within the reproductive system, resulting in prevention of pregnancy.
Now, as any woman in the fitness industry knows, we are trying Our best to decrease female hormones in our bodies.
This is testosterone which helps us to gain lean mass, reduce fat storage, increase sexual desire, Conjure that "I am PMS" ing-leave-me- Alone "mood, keep our skin healthy, and our minds sharp.Excessive levels of its opposite hormone, estrogens, produce the exact opposite effect on our bodies.
Increasing your very own estrogen levels by going on the pill sounds more than just a little crazy.It is however perceived as an absolute necessity by most women.Many of us simply accept the effects Secondary students and learn to cope with the consequences of a less than perfect hormonal balance.
After all, what else is there?
I have done some thorough research on the subject, including the many physicists and competitors figure interviews with regard to their personal experiences with birth control pills. Each of these girls has discovered what works for her; Whether it is a lower dose estrogen pill or a viable alternative that does the job while keeping these levels of hormones at least a bit conducive to its hardcore fitness lifestyle and ultra- Lean body
There are two basic categories: those containing only progestins and combined pills containing both progestin and estrogen.
Pills containing progestins do not contain estrogen. These are sometimes referred to as the "mini-pill", and are considered ideal for lactating women, because the presence of estrogen reduces the production of milk.
The mini-pill works by thickening the cervical mucus, thus preventing sperm entering the uterus. They should be taken at the same time every day.
Although these pills do not contain any estrogen, they are not considered easy to understand by any means. You see, the progesterone component of the pill has been shown to increase appetite – which of course makes it very difficult to feed, resulting in weight gain.
Some of the other side effects of the mini-pill include irregular or heavy bleeding, spots and severe headaches. In addition, progestin-only pills have proved to be slightly less effective than their combination counterparts – so the chance of becoming a mom is actually increased when choosing these on birth control pills containing estrogen.
Combination pills are the containers of both estrogen and progestin. This category can be divided into three different types, which are as follows:
Single-phase pill. It is the original contraceptive pill. Each pack of these pills consists of 21 active pills containing the same amount of estrogen and progestin in each pill, and 7 placebos, which do not contain hormones.
The second type of combination pill is called multiphasic. Multiphasic oral contraceptives contain varying amounts of hormones and are designed to be taken at specific times during the pill taking period.
Each of the pills in this pack contains different levels of estrogen and progestin so the hormones are varied throughout the month. They have been developed for the specific purpose of reducing the side effects of oral contraceptives. Women who take multiphasic pills report having fewer bleeding episodes and spots, but from now on, these are the only sides that have been shown reduced.
The latest type of pill combined is the pill of continuous use. This is the brand new group, being approved in the spring of '07. The best known brand of the pill for continuous use is Lybrel, which also happens to be a multiphasic pill. It comes in a 28-day package and is meant to be taken without pauses between packs of pills, which basically means not having a period at all.
Some of the side effects associated with all oral contraceptives combined include Most of those you normally hear about, including nausea, severe headache, possible vomiting, irregular bleeding, and gain
Control options for Fit Girls
Now that we have reviewed the fundamental differences between the pills, Let 's take some time by discussing those that seem to be popular with women who are in the fitness industry.
These ladies who are on the pill and hard training almost always opt for low-dose pills. Low-dose contraceptive pills are for the most part monophasic pills that have an estrogen component of less than 35 micrograms. Some examples of this type of pill include LoOvral, Nordette, and Ortho-Cept.
There are also two new low-dose pill formulas on the market, both of which have become a quick favorite among many face competitors. Cyclessa is an all-new low dose oral contraceptive that is also multiphasic. The low estrogen in its package of varied hormones has actually been shown to cause weight loss for many women who start taking it … and those who have not lost any significant weight , Did not gain fat, according to studies.
Yasmin is another low dose new pill with a lot of ladies fit in his fan club. Because of a more natural progestin in its formula, it has been associated with improving the texture of the skin for those who are naturally oily or acne-prone, an improved feeling of well-being, and Even weight control help because of reduced water retention
There are also ultra-low dose pills, which are the ones that have the lowest amount of estrogen in one Contraceptive pill, or 20 micrograms. This dose of estrogen is sufficient for contraception, but these pills often cause more spots and bleeding rupture than pills containing 30-35 micrograms of estrogen, which is why most women who have tried End up opting for low-dose pills instead.
If you are interested in trying an ultra-low oral contraceptive, two of the most popular are Alesse and Mircette, with the previous being a favorite of three figure competitors that I had interviewed.
Another factor that is interesting when it comes to all oral contraceptives (even those at low doses), it is that they have shown to decrease total and free testosterone closely Of the half, while increasing the levels of total cortisol. This, of course, is quite a negative effect for all of us trying to build muscle – it's just bad news from an anabolic point of view.
Tired of taking pills?
Now if any of the aforementioned sides do not scare you, and the only thing you do not like oral contraceptives is the oral part, there are some alternatives that work in a way very similar to that of Low dose pills, without having to take the actual pill!
These are the NuvaRing and the Patch. Both work by providing the same amount of hormones as low dose pills, so the side effects as well as benefits are very similar.
NuvaRing is a small soft ring inserted into the vagina once a month.
NuvaRing is a small soft ring inserted into the vagina once a month. It is left in place for three weeks, then out for a week. Once this week is over, a new ring is inserted for the next three weeks.
Some of the fitness women with whom I spoke to find the NuvaRing to be very convenient. One of them mentioned that she helped her get rid of the enormous migraine headaches she used to get with the low dose pill all By also helping her lose some of the weight of the water she was wearing.
Hormones directly into the bloodstream through the skin via a thin patch. It should be replaced once a week for three consecutive weeks, taking a break at the fourth week. The patch can be applied just about anywhere on the body and must remain in place at any time – regardless of activity (yes, even training, cardio, or bathing).
As you suspect, this was not a favorite of any of the girls I had spoken with. Two of them had experimented with her as it seemed like a convenient, easy method of birth control; Both were quickly disappointed that the patch began to irritate their skin after only a few cardio sessions.
There is just one other thing I would like to mention about the NuvaRing and the Patch. Both have caused some controversy since their approval by the FDA. Over the past few months, there have been a number of lawsuits brought against both companies, claiming that birth control devices are responsible for blood clots, resulting in strokes, heart attacks, and even death
Neither of the devices have been withdrawn from the market, and both companies are maintaining innocence, stating that their products have proved safe in most cases.
My personal advice? Do your own research and make sure your decision is informed.
Non hormonal Alternatives
For those of you hoping to stay away from anything that will alter your levels of natural hormones, there are Alternatives. The majority of fitness and figure women that I talked about, have opted for hormone-free birth control methods – everything from male and female condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps and lea shields (all of which work By creating a physical block), to more sustainable methods, such as the IUD … to permanents, such as tubal ligation.
Since the IUD appeared to be the most obvious choice for most competing ladies, I would like to discuss that in depth. An IUD is a small T-shaped device that is inserted directly into the uterus by your OB / GYN. It is made of soft plastic and contains either copper or hormones.
Non-hormonal ones are the ones on which I would like to focus because they are the most popular in the world of fitness. These are known as ParaGard Copper T 380A DIU, contain copper, and can be worn up to 12 years.
Keep in mind that ovulation occurs when you use an IUD, you will still have your period. Many women complain of more intense cramps and heavier or irregular periods but most fitness-oriented girls find these sides to be a small price to pay for stable hormone levels and the ability to maintain A higher level of testosterone
Another detail to keep in mind is the process of installing the IUD itself. This is not an enjoyable experience by any means – many ladies I spoke with said that it was one of the most painful experiences that they had endured. But really, just put things in perspective for a second: the insert lasts about five minutes, and you will probably be worry free for a period of more than 10 years!
If you do not already have children, the IUD may not be suitable for you. The company claims that women who have never been pregnant before have an increased risk of expulsion (expelled by the body, usually in the first year) due to a smaller uterus And difficulty with insertion. Check with your doc and follow his recommendations when it comes to your particular case.
I would also note that many women are concerned about the safety of copper IUDs. This concern is mainly based on some events that occurred in the 1970s, when the first IUD to hit the market (known as Dalkon Shield) had to be recalled after 12 of its 2.8 million users Are dead
The Dalkon Shield was immediately removed from medical practices and although no other IUDs since that time were deemed unsafe, its reputation remains somewhat tarnished. If you are starting to seriously consider this device, be sure to do your research as you would with anything else – a lot of information is available when searching the Internet.
And that, ladies, pretty much sums up your birth control options. My only hope is that this article gave you a starting point for your own research and made you a more informed patient, who will enter the OB / GYN office armed with knowledge.
Keep in mind that the effects Any contraceptive pill will have on any one will depend not only on the combination and dose you take but also on your individual hormonal makeup and response . For this reason, it is best to leave the final decision to you and a document of trust.