I get a lot of emails every week from women asking for advice on a wide range of period-related and hormonal health issues. So I created this FAQ page to help get as many of your questions answered as possible.

Question: What are the potential side effects of using hormonal birth control?

Side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Spotting
  • Sore breasts
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Yeast infections
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Mood swings
  • Acne

Read my full post on the side effects of birth control here: Are Birth Control Side Effects Ruining Your Life?

Question: Can the birth control pill decrease your sex drive?

Yes, the pill can lower your libido.  Here’s how; Testosterone is the hormone responsible for your sex drive. The pill causes the liver to make a protein called Sex-Hormone Binding Globulin. SHBG binds to testosterone and makes it inactive. Therefore, when SHBG goes up in the body, it lowers the amount of free testosterone. Not good for your lovely libido. A woman not on the pill typically has a SHBG level of 20-30, but a woman on the pill can have a SHBG level of 200-300 and even up to 500.

Read more about hormonal birth control and its effects on your sex drive here: The Pill & Your Sex Drive

Question: Can the birth control pill cause vaginal dryness?

Yes, it can.  When a woman is on the pill, her body will cease to send signals to her cervical crypts (producers of fertile cervical fluid). Extended use of the pill can shrivel these crypts up because they are not being used if a woman is not ovulating. This atrophy can be hard to reverse for many women.

Read more about vaginal dryness and the pill here: 5 Things You Must Know About Hormonal Birth Control

Question: Can the birth control pill make you fat?

While weight gain is listed as a side effect of pretty much all types of birth control, progestin-only pills and the Depo-Provera shot are the most common ones that lead to weight gain. Because these forms of hormonal birth control are stopping ovulation, and making your body “think” it is pregnant with those high levels of progesterone, you might have weight gain if you are susceptible (not everyone gains weight). Generally speaking, a side effect of having high progesterone is weight gain – whether you’re on the progestin-only pill or not. Once you come off the pill you’ll likely lose the weight, especially once you start ovulating again and your hormones stabilize.

Read more about the birth control pill and weight gain here: Does the Birth Control Pill Make You Fat?

Question: What are the main causes of UTIs?

These are the main causes of UTIs:

  • frequent or increased sexual intercourse
  • spermicides that contain nonoxynol-9
  • heavy use of antibiotics,
  • the birth control pill
  • harsh soaps and chemical-laden vaginal care products (they can cause skin irritation leaving you more susceptible to UTI’s)
  • Menopause or amenorrhea – both of these are characterized by low levels of estrogen, which causes the vaginal walls to thin out and makes them more susceptible to bacterial infections.

You can read more about UTI’s here: Are Chronic UTI’s Killing Your Sex Life?

Question: Can the birth control pill cause depression?

A study from the University of Copenhagen confirmed the link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. The researchers found that women taking the combined birth control pill, (estrogen and progesterone), were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and those using the progestin-only pill (also known as the mini pill) were 34% more likely.

You can read more about the study here: Huge Study Links Birth Control to Depression

Question: How does the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) work?

The fertility awareness method is a sympto-thermal method meaning that you will be paying attention to three main things each month:

  1. Your cervical fluid – how it changes throughout the month
  2. Your basal body temperature – this is your temperature upon awakening
  3. Your cervical position – this also changes throughout the month but some women are not interested in feeling around for their cervix which I completely understand.

The method is based on the premise that estrogen, which is dominant in the first half of your cycle (the follicular phase), keeps your basal temperature low and increases your cervical fluid. And that progesterone, which is dominant in the second half of your cycle (the luteal phase) raises your basal temperature and decreases your cervical fluid production.

Read more about FAM here:  How To Practice FAM: The Fertility Awareness Method

Question: What is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance is when your estrogen levels increase relative to your progesterone levels. So your estrogen levels either rise and your progesterone stays the same or your estrogen stays the same and your progesterone drops. Estrogen is a pro-growth hormone, and as we know, too much of anything is never a good thing. That’s where progesterone comes in – it offsets the growth effects of estrogen. The goal is to keep these two hormones balanced in relation to each other.

Read more about Estrogen Dominance here: What is Estrogen Dominance?

Question: What are the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?

  1. Fibroids
  2. Endometriosis
  3. Sore breasts
  4. Blood clots
  5. Menstrual migraines
  6. Ovarian cysts
  7. Fertility issues
  9. Bloating
  10. Decreased sex drive
  11. Irregular menstrual periods
  12. Acne

Read more about Estrogen Dominance here: What is Estrogen Dominance?

Question: What is the MTHFR gene?

We all have a gene called the MTHFR gene. Upon completion of the Human Genome Project in 2002, it was discovered that many people have a mutation of this gene – about 60% of the US population in fact! And 40% of British and Australians too.  If you have the gene defect or mutation of the MTHFR gene, it’s more than likely that you are not absorbing and utilizing the B complex vitamins efficiently.

Read more about MTHFR here: What is Methylated Folate + MTHFR

Question: What is Vitex?

Vitex is a shrub that grows in the Mediterranean region. It was once called “monk’s pepper” because it was believed to lower libido, so chefs at monasteries used to grind it up as a replacement for pepper and serve it to the monks to help them stay true to their vows of chastity.

Today vitex is commonly usually used to help women normalize their menstrual cycles. In particular, it has been shown to increase progesterone during the second half of the cycle thus lengthening the luteal phase.

Read more about vitex here: Does Vitex Work for your Hormones & Fertility?

Question: What are the symptoms of nnbalanced blood sugar?

Symptoms include:

  • Energy highs and crashes
  • Sugar & caffeine cravings
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Trouble waking up in the morning
  • Moodiness
  • Anxiety or panic

Read more about blood sugar here:  How Blood Sugar Affects Your Hormone Levels

Protecting Your Ovarian Reserve: How to preserve your fertility as you age
Natural Ways To Improve Your Fertility
MTHFR: What is it and Why you Should Know for the Sake of Your Fertility
Is Sugar Destroying Our Children’s Future Fertility?
The Naked Truth: Protein Powders
Vitamin D: The Period Vitamin
Adaptogenic Herbs for Women’s Hormonal Health
Broccoli Extracts – DIM, I3C or SGS – which one to use?

3. STRESS + YOUR HORMONES – the effects of psychological stress on our sex hormones

My Personal Story with Stress – how I ended up in the hospital (it’s a good read!)
How Stress And Cortisol Can Affect Your Period – cortisol + it’s connection to your sex hormones
Top Supplements + Herbals for Stressed Out Women
Fat, Fatigued or Forgetful: Here’s Why
Why we sleep in separate beds sometimes – my take on the benefits of sleeping separately
Why Modern Women Need to Rethink Stress
Are you Missing The Miracle of Your Existence?
Anxiety: The word of the day

4. THYROID HEALTH + YOUR HORMONES – how does your thyroid affect your sex hormones

Demystifying Your Thyroid Part 1
Demystifying Your Thyroid Part 2
The Link Between Gluten And Autoimmune Conditions

5. ALL ABOUT PERIODS + THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE – learn everything you ever wanted to know about your period and menstrual cycle.

How Long Should Your Period Really Be?
What’s Your Period Really Supposed to Look Like
How to Lengthen Your Luteal Phase
Periods and Poops: How Your Cycle Impacts your Digestive System
Does Your Period Start, Stop, then Start Again?
Help! Why am I Spotting?
The Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
The Best Period Tracking Apps
Everything you ever wanted to know about heavy periods
How your menstrual cycle affects your weight
10 Weird Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Period
Why we need to put an end to period shame
Does being vegan affect your period?
Histamine intolerance and your period

6. NO PERIODS/AMENORRHEA + IRREGULAR PERIODS & SPORADIC OVULATION – learn the causes and basic solutions for missing & irregular periods and irregular ovulation

Has Your Period Gone Missing? – Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea Causes – Has Your Period Gone Missing? – Are you experiencing amenorrhea (periods missing for more than 3 months).
Is Seed Cycling For You? – Seed cycling is great for low estrogen/progesterone + irregular cycles
What to do when your period is late
5 Surprising Things that can Stop Ovulation and Impair Fertility
What do PCOS, high prolactin levels and premature ovarian failure have in common?

7. PCOS – learn about PCOS causes & tips/practices to help address many of the symptoms of this condition.

Cause of Infertility – PCOS
PCOS Part 1
PCOS Part 2
The PCOS Protocol

8. HORMONE MYTH BUSTING: Just a little myth busting fun for you!

Hormone Myth Busting Part 1
Hormone Myth Busting Part 2

9. IRREGULAR BLEEDING/SPOTTING – do you spot at different times in your cycle (ovulation, before or after your period) and don’t know what it means?

Help! Why am I spotting? – The various causes of spotting and how to start fixing it.
The Effect of Antibiotics On Your Period – they can cause irregular bleeding and delay your period
Does Your Period Start, Stop, then Start Again?

10. PMS SYMPTOMS + PAINFUL PERIODS – dealing with PMS symptoms, super painful cramps, ovulatory pain or pelvic pain in general? Check these posts out.

The Best Natural Organic Period Products: Cups, Panties, Tampons & Pads
Should you Steam Your Vagina?
MTHFR: What is it + Why Your Should Know for the Sake of Your Fertility
The Omega 6/Omega 3 Connection to Painful Periods
Debilitating or Dull Throbbing Headache – Why does this happen?
Castor Oil for Menstrual Health & Fertility
My top three fixes for cramps
Living with Endometriosis – The real causes and natural solutions
How to fix your PMS
The Best Natural Period Pain Solutions
Herbal Tea For Menstrual Cramps
Cod Liver Oil to improve your Period


How To Test Your Thyroid
Why Women Need To Test Their Omega-3 Levels
How To Test Your Vitamin D Levels
How To Test Your Cortisol Levels


Should you use those Drugstore Feminine Wipes?
The Connection Between Your Dental Health & Your Hormones
Is Your Shampoo Messing with Your Hormones?
Every Plastic Replacement to Save Your Hormones and the Earth
Maya Abdominal Massage
Does Period Underwear Really Work?
I May Have Crohn’s Disease, Now What?
Three things that save me from crashing & burning during the holidays
Postpartum Depression: What Every New Mom Should Know
What to do when sex kinda (or really) hurts
What’s Your Period Story & Why it Matters
My boobs are pretty photogenic – what about yours?
Seven Women’s Health Books You Need in Your Life Now!
EMFs Effect on Your Menstrual Cycle