Contraception

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Rainbow
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Contraception

Postby Rainbow » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:21 pm

I'm currently comparing birth control methods and am looking for any insight into how hormonal options might affect cognitive (and general) health. I've heard that some functional practitioners don't want their patients on hormonal contraception at all, but I don't have the background to evaluate whether that's an unnecessarily restrictive approach or not.

Regarding specific options, I like the convenience of an IUD, but was wondering if I should be concerned about copper toxicity with the non-hormonal Paragard. I don't want to take chances with heavy metals! I'm also considering hormonal IUDs, but I've heard that these can sometimes prevent ovulation, and I'm not sure if that's desirable. Any thoughts or advice (about these options or others) would be appreciated.

For context, I'm a 26-year-old woman. My periods tend towards the infrequent side of the spectrum (without cramping or related effects) — I often wish I could get them like clockwork every X days, which would be one of the benefits of the pill or something similar.
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TheresaB
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Re: Contraception

Postby TheresaB » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:45 am

Darn, no one has responded! I thought this was a great question and really wanted to read what someone with direct knowledge would say.

We do emphasize hormonal balance for ApoE4s. Absolutely! In general, when many of us think of hormones we think sex hormones, but there are so many more! Other important hormones include: hormones of the thyroid, insulin, serotonin, cortisol, adrenaline, growth hormone, plus there are many others! I think focus on hormones is more important as we get older, as our ability to manufacture hormones seems to become impaired with the aging process. At your age I think you have more “wiggle room” but I commend your interest and do not dismiss it by any means!

As this is not an area I’m conversant in, I thought I’d just try to give you some direction to I go with.

First, I found this book on Amazon, This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences , by Sarah Hill, published October 2019. I don’t know anything about this book or the author, but it does come with 4.5 stars.

I went to the search engine Google scholar and using "contraception" and "cognition" I got the following results: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C6&q=contraception+and+cognition&btnG=
The very first hit
A systematic review of the impact of oral contraceptives on cognition published in 2014 looks very promising, but unfortunately the full paper is behind a paywall, is it worth $35.95?

I also went to PubMed and got these results:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=contraception+and+cognition
They looked so-so to me, but you might want to take a look.

In using the search engine DuckDuckGo (because Google’s vanilla search engine is suspect as it’s been known to bury certain sites, including our own: ApoE4.info) I got https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffhp&q=contraception+and+cognition&ia=web

Regarding wanting a cycle that is regular, there may be other means of doing that besides a birth control pill. The thyroid also affects the menstrual cycle. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is also fairly common, often undiagnosed, and affects menstrual cycles. If you have the time, you might want to watch this video. Dr Nadia Pateguana & Dr Jason Fung – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I was there when this presentation was given and thought it very good, even though my time has passed. Anyway, a l doctor, especially a functional doctor, might be able to help you identify the root cause for your cycle variability.
-Theresa
ApoE 4/4

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Rainbow
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Re: Contraception

Postby Rainbow » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:44 pm

TheresaB wrote:Darn, no one has responded! I thought this was a great question and really wanted to read what someone with direct knowledge would say.

We do emphasize hormonal balance for ApoE4s. Absolutely! In general, when many of us think of hormones we think sex hormones, but there are so many more! Other important hormones include: hormones of the thyroid, insulin, serotonin, cortisol, adrenaline, growth hormone, plus there are many others! I think focus on hormones is more important as we get older, as our ability to manufacture hormones seems to become impaired with the aging process. At your age I think you have more “wiggle room” but I commend your interest and do not dismiss it by any means!

As this is not an area I’m conversant in, I thought I’d just try to give you some direction to I go with.

First, I found this book on Amazon, This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences , by Sarah Hill, published October 2019. I don’t know anything about this book or the author, but it does come with 4.5 stars.

I went to the search engine Google scholar and using "contraception" and "cognition" I got the following results: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=e ... tion&btnG=
The very first hit
A systematic review of the impact of oral contraceptives on cognition published in 2014 looks very promising, but unfortunately the full paper is behind a paywall, is it worth $35.95?

I also went to PubMed and got these results:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=c ... +cognition
They looked so-so to me, but you might want to take a look.

In using the search engine DuckDuckGo (because Google’s vanilla search engine is suspect as it’s been known to bury certain sites, including our own: ApoE4.info) I got https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffhp&q=contra ... ion&ia=web

Regarding wanting a cycle that is regular, there may be other means of doing that besides a birth control pill. The thyroid also affects the menstrual cycle. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is also fairly common, often undiagnosed, and affects menstrual cycles. If you have the time, you might want to watch this video. Dr Nadia Pateguana & Dr Jason Fung – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I was there when this presentation was given and thought it very good, even though my time has passed. Anyway, a l doctor, especially a functional doctor, might be able to help you identify the root cause for your cycle variability.

Theresa, thank you so much for all these resources! I really appreciate it. Having witnessed my mom and younger sister struggle with hormonal issues, I tend to err on the side of caution (and I think it's worth trying to get to the bottom of my irregular cycles, so I'll find someone to work with me on that).

It's going to take some time to dive into this topic and learn more, but I was able to get free access to the review paper that you mentioned through my university. In the abstract, the authors warn that "at present, evidence is inconclusive, contradictory and limited by methodological inconsistencies." It seems that this is a common theme in the paper and that the authors are cautious about drawing strong conclusions.

The book looks like an interesting read — I might give it a try!

For the time being, I'm leaning towards getting a copper IUD and testing for heavy metals. If I come across interesting information or have experiences to share, I'll post an update in this thread.
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