226: Science-Backed Reasons to Ditch the Pill (& What to Do Instead) With Dr. Jolene Brighten

226: Science-Backed Reasons to Ditch the Pill (& What to Do Instead) With Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Science Backed Reasons to Ditch the Pill (& What to Do Instead) with Dr. Jolene Brighten

Dr. Jolene Brighten is back on the podcast today and she’s here to talk about a huge topic that affects so many women. If you don’t know her from previous podcasts, she is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Medical Doctor and the Founder of Rubus Health, which is a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in hormones. She’s also a dear friend and one of the smartest women I know.

Jolene’s been talking for years about a problem women all over the globe are facing, although they may not know that to call it. To shed light on this issue she’s written a book called Ditch the Pill, a 30-day plan to support women on hormonal birth control, help them transition off, and eliminate symptoms of post-birth control syndrome.

I have several posts on the site about this issue and alternatives to hormonal contraceptives, and I know from the response that this topic isn’t always easy but it’s an important conversation that needs to be had more in the health space. Take a listen and let me know what you think!

Episode Highlights With Dr. Jolene Brighten

  • the shocking percentage of women taking the pill for a reason other than birth control
  • what is going on physiologically when a woman takes hormonal birth control
  • the affects of the pill a doctor may not warn about
  • surprising ingredients hiding in IUDs (hint: BPA!)
  • the way the pill can contribute to leaky gut
  • an important reason to think twice about hormonal birth control if there is a family history of autoimmunity
  • the strong correlation between birth control and depression
  • a way that birth control depletes B6 and tryptophan
  • the link between the pill and depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other symptoms
  • why birth control is inflammatory by nature
  • the medication cascade caused by birth control
  • a shocking realization that the birth control pill was the first medication that could be given to someone who didn’t actually have a disease
  • the sad reason that libido may not return even after stopping the pill

Resources We Mention

Books by Dr. Brighten

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? What other questions do you have about hormones? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Thank You to Today’s Sponsors

This podcast is sponsored by Thrive Market, a company I’ve used for years, and that just continues to get better and better. I use their free app all the time to order pantry staples from companies I love, and I always turn to their Thrive Market brand for even better discounts. Here’s a tip: use the app like a shopping list. Add things to cart as you think of them, or as you run out, or as you meal plan. Then, once you hit the threshold for free shipping, you order will be ready to go. Here’s another secret- Thrive often runs free gift with purchase offers just for members as a thank you, so keep an eye out for those! I usually choose to order on days when there is a gift I really want and have gotten some awesome free products over the years by doing this. Find out more about all of these and get an extra discount on your first order at thrivemarket.com/katie

This podcast is brought to you by Joovv red light therapy. I’ve written about red light therapy before and how it helps support the body and even reduce the signs of aging. My Joovv is part of my daily routine and I love this relaxing 20-minute ritual. I’m getting a mood boost while increasing my collagen and elastin production, improving fat metabolism, assisting with the body’s detoxification reactions, and boosting cellular energy. Here’s how it does all of that: Just like plants convert light energy into chemical energy via photosynthesis, our bodies have the ability to metabolize red and near-infrared light into a form of cellular energy — adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — that is essential to restoring, repairing, energizing, and maintaining our bodies. ATP is often referred to as the “energy currency of life,” which is why light therapy can be so nourishing, healing, and soothing all at the same time. I have and use a combination Joovv light which has two wavelengths for double the benefits, 660 nm for red light and 850 nm for near-infrared light. Both were chosen because the bulk of the scientific literature centers on their benefits, and you can get them separately or together. The 660nm range is better for collagen production and other skin benefits, while the 850 is better for deep tissue issues like muscle recovery, joint discomfort, etc. They now have a Joovv Go, a smaller, less expensive, and just as effective model that can even travel with you for a quick collagen boost for your face or inflammation relief in a sore joint. Learn more at wellnessmama.com/go/joovv

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Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. For Dr Jolene, you mention a good prenatal….do you have a recommendation or two on what you think that might be? I’ve been stuck not knowing the best route for that because of either contaminations (lead etc) or them not dissolving quick enough, etc.


  2. Katie, thank you for doing this podcast and inviting Dr. Brighten on to speak. I found this podcast to be valuable and applicable to my situation. I never heard of her or her work prior to this podcast.

    I recently quit my birth control after taking it for over 10 years with increasing IBD (Crohn’s & Colitis) symptoms. I refused to take the prescription medications that my gastroenterologist recommended and last month decided to research and “fix” my issues naturally. I’ve been to several doctors and specialists over the years and not a single one ever mentioned the side effects of birth control, even later on with them knowing that I had IBD . I only found out that birth control is related to gut issues after reading The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin and the The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out by Dr. Robynne Chutkan M.D.

    Now that I’ve quit birth control I am trying to figure out what to do next, and this podcast was perfect timing.

  3. What I see missing from the list of harm from the pill is the harm to the newborn. Even if a mother stopped the pill a while before getting pregnant her flora is so depleted that the baby is likely to be born with autoimmune issues that manifest as eczema, allergies and other unpleasant symptoms.

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