If you’re on hormonal birth control, you’ll want to bookmark this article to reread anytime your doctor wants to test your sex hormones.
Why? Because lab-testing your sex hormones while you’re on hormonal birth control is a waste of your money.
Why You Shouldn’t Get Hormonal Labs While On Hormonal Birth Control
While on hormonal birth control, you are being given exogenous hormones. Exogenous hormones alter the level of hormones that your body would naturally produce on its own; therefore, sex hormones values you collect will be skewed. Labs collected on birth control will not give us your intricate hormone patterns. Instead it will be reading the hormones from your hormonal birth control.
Chemically, the combo birth control pill contains both estrogen and progesterone which prevents the pituitary from releasing FSH and LH, brain hormones that communicate with the ovaries. This is how it prevents eggs from maturing, preventing ovulation, and altogether preventing pregnancy (and there are other potential side effects we’ve talked about before).
For this reason, it also does not allow us to balance hormones at that time. If we are using birth control to “control birth” through hormones, then the concept of balancing hormones is contradicting and conflicting with the overall goal.
So How SHOULD You Test Your Hormones?
This is why we is recommended that if you are ready to naturally balance hormones and come off of the pill to allow approximately 3 months for exogenous hormones to release before collecting labs (and we’ve talked before about what you should consider before coming off hormonal birth control). At that time, we can determine when the appropriate time is to draw sex hormones based on your cycle, and work to address appropriate production and clearance of hormones.
Are There Options Besides Hormonal Birth Control?
For some people, this is why some patients to choose the ParaGuard IUD (Copper IUD) as a form of non-hormonal birth control so that they can have the best of both worlds—a successful contraceptive method, but also the ability to have a natural menstrual cycle and balance hormones without exogenous hormones from a hormonal birth control. More on that (what an IUD is, plus its pros & cons) here.
Dr. Danielle Vogler-Bos is a Naturopathic Doctor, registered and licensed in both Minnesota and Arizona. Her passion is educating and empowering her patients to take back their health, partnering with them to find the root cause of their struggles, and helping them feel better, faster. After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology, Dr. Vogler-Bos earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, a fully accredited and nationally recognized institution in Phoenix, AZ.
During her clinical training, Dr. Vogler-Bos completed a rigorous internship gaining experience in the diagnosis and treatment of hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, and adrenal fatigue using both traditional naturopathic medicine and bio-identical hormone therapies.