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Top 5 Ways the Birth Control Pill Negatively Impacts Long-Term Fertility

Top 5 Ways the Birth Control Pill Negatively Impacts Long-Term Fertility

birth control pillHow many women do you know that have taken the birth control pill? More than likely, it is almost all of them. The birth control pill is one of the most prescribed medications in the U.S. and not just for pregnancy prevention. What if I told you that the Pill, while freely taken by most women at some point in their life, may actually not be good for long-term fertility?

Birth control is prescribed for preventing pregnancy and to control acne, but also for a variety of fertility issues such as endometriosis, PCOS, ovarian cysts, pain associated with fertility issues, PMS, and irregular menstrual cycles. Sounds pretty great, right? But, is it?

A simple internet search of the statement “how using birth control impacts fertility” will lead you to a list of resources that say, to sum up the medical viewpoint, taking an oral contraceptive pill, aka the Pill, will not impact your future fertility.

Older studies (there are very few current studies), as well as articles on the web report that women who use birth control don’t have trouble conceiving naturally after stopping its use and get pregnant just as fast as other women, even if they’ve used birth control for years. In fact, one rather large study in which 2,000+ women reported, titled the European Active Surveillance Study on Oral Contraceptives, concluded that “Previous oral-contraceptive use does not negatively affect initial and 1-year rates of pregnancy after oral-contraceptive cessation…”

Why then, are we seeing very different results with our clients? The aforementioned study fails to elaborate on findings that “rates of pregnancy were reduced in women older than 35 years and in current smokers.” This may be in part why. Each and every day we work with women who have stopped long-term birth control use (anywhere from 1 – 20 years of use) and now have any number of concerning fertility-related symptoms and health issues. Our abundance of case histories has lead us to believe that the answer is most certainly not black and white. We have learned that taking the Pill can negatively impact long-term fertility.

Prolonged use of birth control confuses the body and may negatively impact long-term fertility in the following ways…

1. Menstrual cycle disruption. shares that studies show the following…

  • 10.24% of all first cycles after discontinuing oral contraceptives were not ovulatory (compared with 3.44% of control group).
  • Significant differences also appeared in the second and third cycles after discontinuing oral contraceptives.
  • Cycles were longer in the post-pill group up to cycle number 12.
  • Cycle disturbances (defined as a luteal phase length of less than 10 days or a cycle length greater than 35 days) were more frequent in the post-pill group until the seventh cycle.
  • Cycle disturbances after discontinuing oral contraceptives were reversible but regulation took up to nine months or longer.

2. Hormone imbalance – Synthetic hormone-containing birth control may provide symptom relief, but it does not address the underlying imbalance that is fueling or contributing to the fertility issue being dealt with. What the Pill is doing is introducing synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone to the body, which then prevent the body’s natural, beneficial hormones from bonding to hormone receptor sites. Introducing synthetic hormones into the body may further exacerbate hormone imbalance by overloading it.

3. Disrupted ovulation – The synthetic hormones contained in birth control regulate release and timing of specific hormones in the body to prevent ovulation. This is not how the normal release of hormones plays out in a naturally occurring menstrual cycle. It is necessary, as you know, to ovulate a mature, healthy follicle (egg) in order to achieve natural pregnancy. The Pill prevents the maturation of a follicle for ovulation, one of the ovaries most important jobs. Over time, the ovaries may “forget” how to do their job on their own because they haven’t been signaled with the right hormones at the correct time in the menstrual cycle.

4. Cervical mucus changes – The Pill has been shown to thicken cervical mucus so that sperm cannot reach the egg ( Healthy cervical mucus is important for conception because it helps sperm travel through the vagina and the cervix to meet and fertilize an egg.

5. Changes the uterine lining – The Pill changes the uterine lining to make it unreceptive to the implantation of a fertilized egg. By controlling the body’s estrogen and progesterone levels with synthetic hormones, the Pill does not allow for the proper levels of progesterone to build a healthy uterine lining for implantation.

Many women begin taking the pill at a very young age and don’t stop until they want to begin trying to conceive. The Pill doesn’t cause infertility, but impacts long-term fertility by “silencing a woman’s biological clock for so long that, in some cases, they forget it’s ticking away”. In other cases, women ignore or forget they are dealing with a fertility issue because the symptoms have gone away.

The bottom line is this, women trying to control the symptoms of a fertility issue by taking the Pill are not addressing the underlying imbalance that is fueling, or contributing to the fertility issue. Instead, they are using a synthetic medication to control the symptoms of the problem while simultaneously allowing the body to defy nature.

To learn more about related subjects covered in this article, please visit the following links:
How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control
Increase Cervical Mucus to Get Pregnant


Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    The only real study provided in the references does not represent your argument in any way. I read it and am convinced I should stay on the pill until I’m ready to conceive. “Cronin, M. Schellschmidt, I. and Dinger, J. Rate of Pregnancy After Using Drospirenone and Other Progestin-Containing Oral Contraceptives:

    • Dear Rebecca,

      This is indeed up to you! What we know is that studies aren’t showing us what the women struggling to get their periods back after stopping long-term birth control use come to us concerned about. That these women are having real-life experiences and struggling, is enough to cause concern about the long-term use of birth control.

  2. Avatar

    Dear Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH,
    I am working with a study on Effects of OCP among the women of childbearing age. For this study I need more information about your study. For that, I would like to know about your full study. Would you please send me the full copy of this study to me. Here I am giving you my email ID: [email protected]. If you don’t mind can you give me any suggestion in completing my study successfully. If you have any other references related to my study could you please send me the address. I will be grateful to you.

    Md. Farhad Hossain
    From Bangladesh.

    • Dear Md. Farhad Hossain,

      This article is not a study we are conducting. I compiled this information from others. My resources for the information I share here are at the very bottom of the article and you are welcome to review them for information relevant to your study.

      My best!

  3. Avatar

    Your article contains no modern scientific facts to back up your argument. In actuality the pill does not effect a woman’s fertility after ceasing it. When a woman gets off the pill her fertility will not be the same because she most likely started at a young age and is now in possibly her 30’s. As our bodies age so do our eggs and our fertility naturally decreases the older we get. Woman are waiting to start families until later and later in life. Their difficulty conceiving is it occurs has nothing to do with the contraceptives. In fact the contraceptives have done the woman’s body a lot of good. For example, it decreased her chances of developing ovarian cancer and cervical cancer,

    • Dear Kylee,

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. It will be hard to find scientific data given the control of the pharmaceutical industry on much of science. While you are correct that women are older when they come off of BC and staring families later in life, to say that long-term BC use for some of these women had no impact in the menstrual issues or their fertility health after stopping it is not true. We see the implications daily. Implications that perhaps may never have been a worry if BC was not used for so long.

  4. Avatar

    I have been on birth control for over 10 years. I am in my mid 30s and we decided to start trying for a baby. However, since coming off I see what damage has been done. I haven’t had a regular cycle yet. my first period came regular or seemed to then intense cramps and pain and a missed period I was found to have a large ovarian cyst. after six weeks I had another period and now four weeks later and missing one and wondering if I have another cyst. This is just within the first four months of taking the pill. however, when I went to get on the pill…there was no discussion of side effects, long term effects, or getting back to a regular cycle coming off the pill.

  5. Avatar

    This article is not scientifically accurate and misleads women. The pill actually PROTECTS fertility, in females like myself, who would otherwise suffer irreparable harm to her reproductive organs due to endometriosis. It allows me to function, rather than frequent trips to the emergency room due to excruciating pelvic pain–due to endometriosis. Which FYI there is no “natural” treatment to prevent inter-uterine scarring without halting the menstrual cycle. Articles like these kept me from taking the pill for years—probably at the cost of a ton of damage to my reproductive organs that I will have to contend with later. Shameful. Please stop spreading false information on the internet.

    • Dear M.A.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I am sorry you feel this is false information. We disagree based on research, and the work we do one on one with clients who have unfortunately experienced decreased fertility due to long-term use of birth control. Each of their stories may not mirror yours though.

      I am very glad you have found something to help you thru all you are going through! This is what matters most for you, not what I write.

      If it might interest you, consider researching Wobenzym N and Systemic Enzyme Therapy for Fertility. I think you may appreciate learning about this natural therapy.

      All my best to you!

  6. Avatar

    This article does nothing but make women having difficulty conceiving feel guilty for having taken the birth control pill. Clearly states the medical concensus is that there is no impact, yet goes on to list points learned from case histories – the lowest level of scientific evidence. Quite dangerous actually to have women rely on this kind of information.

    • Dear Diane,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We value everyone’s opinions!

      My intent in writing this article, and likewise our intent in sharing it, was not to make any woman who has chosen to use birth control feel bad or guilty. We know there are many women who have chosen birth control use for very valid reasons and that it has also provided great relief for some with challenging fertility health issues.

      As I shared, there is very little scientific research to prove valid what our clients come to us regularly to share about; how the use of birth control impacted their fertility health and conception efforts. This isn’t a topic studied for many reasons, only one of which includes the control of the pharmaceutical industry on the medical industry and research.

      None-the-less we don’t feel it is dangerous to share about a topic that we know challenges many of our clients.

      All my best to you!

  7. Avatar

    I am so glad that a non-religious website is finally bringing the medical truth out of the dangers of “the pill”. Thank you!
    Without your website (and what I believe God’s grace) I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter!

  8. Avatar

    The information is quite interesting. If you are regularly taking birth control pill it will be surely have negative impact, so it is better to take IUDs, which is a proved and tested product for avoiding long term pregnancy.

    • Dear Neha,

      I think it is believed that Intrauterine Devices, or IUDs are safer, but they affect the uterus (endometrial lining health) and the menstrual cycle. Some do also contain hormones. I have also heard many stories of women who experience discomfort from them and spotting. IUDs carry serious risks, such as a risk for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and the risk of the IUD becoming embedded in the uterus or perforating the uterus.

      We feel important to choose birth control wisely. In fact if wishing to conceive to avoid hormonal birth control by using the Fertility Awareness Method which is a highly effective form of natural contraception.

  9. Avatar

    This is why I am taking the natural approach with FAM. Using fertility apps to track to understand reproductive health is a key element, whether you want to get pregnant faster, avoid pregnancy naturally and effectively, or know your cycles better.

  10. Avatar

    For a woman who is hormonally healthy do you recommend that she takes the pill for contraception.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Fatima,

      We have learned that the long term use of hormonal birth control may affect hormone balance. Taking hormonal birth control is a personal choice, so we feel it best to educate yourself on the pros and cons of each birth control method women have available to them.

      Best wishes!