HomeInterviewWhy this US-Based Gynaecologist Says 'No' to Prescribing the Birth Control Pill

Why this US-Based Gynaecologist Says ‘No’ to Prescribing the Birth Control Pill

Over 19 million women are unable to obtain access to a full range of publicly funded birth control methods leading them to live in so-called “contraceptive deserts”. The overturn of Roe vs Wade has further set women’s reproductive rights back, with 21 states in the US banning or restricting abortions. In the remaining states, abortions range from legal to legal with new protections. Regardless, such facts discount racial bias and the cost of birth control, among many other factors.

We stumbled upon Dr Felice Gersh, a US-based gynaecologist who actively avoids prescribing the birth control pill in her practice, and we invited her to discuss why a gynaecologist in the United States would be so against the birth control pill.

Dr Felice Gersh

Dr Felice Gersh is a worldwide renowned expert in women’s health. Granted the CREOG top resident award of the year at the Kaiser Hospital, Dr Felice Gersh is one of the first dual board-certified Integrative Gynaecologists in the United States. With a passion and belief in holistic women’s healthcare, Dr Gersh has been featured in Healthline, Glamour and the HuffPost. 

We sat down with Dr Gersh (virtually) to plunge into the female contraceptive and why a gynaecologist would try to avoid prescribing birth control pills. 

The Interview

You mentioned that the hormones in birth control are pseudo-hormones. Could you expand on this?

The contents of birth control pills are endocrine disruptors – chemicals that in various ways interfere with the normal functioning of our own hormones. They are designed to interfere with and stop fertility. As a society this fundamental fact of birth control pills isn’t appropriate, as they are often given either the statement that they will regulate one’s hormones or restore normal periods … when they are causing bleeding but without ovulation or normal hormonal rhythms.

You mentioned a list of consequences, ranging from IBS to diabetes. How often do you see this in women? Do you think it gets swept under the carpet?

It’s difficult to always absolutely define the harm from birth control piles as many years may pass between their use and the subsequent manifestations of harm. We do know that they increased risk for Crohn’s Disease, cervical cancer, breast cancer, depression, higher risk for strokes, blood clots, hypertension, leaky gut, autoimmune thyroid disease, vaginal yeast infections, and leaky gut. And these are just what has been acknowledged.

I am seeing all of this happen in my patients.

You mention the destruction of the female body via the replacement of vital hormones and rhythms with chemical endocrine disruptors. Do you believe women will start developing more health problems as the years go on? Could infertility also be on the increase?

I believe that the substitution of human identical hormones with endocrine disruptors is a harmful thing and is affecting the offspring of women using them by altering the vital microbiomes of the body. I also think they are causing women to have more infertility problems by altering the hormone receptors and interfering with normal ovarian estrogen production.

Could you expand on why you do not prescribe the birth control pill? Do you also avoid prescribing any other type of birth control?

In reality, there is sometimes an absolute need for birth control pill use, now that women’s reproductive rights have been taken from them in so many states, but I try to avoid prescribing them as much as possible and instead recommend using two barrier methods, such as condoms and Phexxy – the contraceptive gel, or a diaphragm. Sometimes I recommend a copper IUD. I always wish more options existed and I hope that by bringing awareness of what birth control pills actually are other contraceptives will be devoted and welcomed.

I asked communities on Reddit to share their negative birth control stories; the question was instantly received with disdain and accusation. Do you believe that as a society we deem not taking birth control anti-feminist?

I am the ultimate feminist and absolutely want women’s reproductive rights to be maintained everywhere and for there to be widespread availability of effective and safe contraception. But denying that birth control pills are endocrine disruptors and that our own hormones and rhythms don’t matter to overall health is, in my opinion, an anti-woman view. As I said … my goal is awareness of the situation and hopefully the development of better ways to prevent pregnancy, ones that do not involve chemicals that are endocrine disruptors, that also result in ending the production of vital female hormones.

I also wanted to ask about the IUD. Many people have come forward to speak about the lack of pain relievers during the procedure. Is this something you believe should be readily available to patients?

Something to reduce pain should be provided prior to the placement of IUDs. Nitrous oxide would be ideal, but few providers have it available.

Do we, as a society, understand the effect of birth control yet? Is there still a lot to be uncovered?

Because the use of birth control pills is so entrenched in our society and there is certainly a need for efficacious contraception, there is an inherent bias in favor of birth control pill use and there is an inherent difficulty in discerning the long-term harms from birth control use due to a long time between use and possible harmful repercussions.

Dr Felice Gersh has published three bestselling books including PCOS SOS, PCOS SOS Fertility Fat Track and Menopause: 50 Things You Need to Know. For more information visit her social media page and website.

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  • Anaïs Wyder Pivaral

    Anaïs Wyder Pivaral is a Swiss-Guatemalan English Literature graduate from the University of York. With a passion for all things wellness and culture, she seeks to write stories that bring new dimensions and perspectives into the wellness, health and beauty industries.

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