I have been on an oral contraceptive since Zoe was born. So, just over 2 1/2 years. I was prescribed Sprintec.
I has done it’s job and done it well! However, I have never like the thought of taking something to regulate my hormones as well as stop my ability to reproduce. We did not want to take the risk of another surprise, so I reluctantly started taking the pill.
I started to feel different immediately after it entered my blood stream. I had more “emotional” moments, my acne flared up really bad, I started having dizzy spells, and my weight actually had gotten a little worse. I was post pregnancy, so I already had some extra weight, I didn’t need or want anymore. When I started weight training, I was more interested in just losing the weight. It was never about how much muscle I was building.
That quickly changed after I started to see how awesome muscles were making me feel and look! I wanted to build more! The addiction to lifting had set in. Even though I have been building some muscle and seeing awesome results, I have done a ton of research and talked to many in the industry and I know my birth control has been holding me back. Here is just a small fraction of some of the articles you can find online about the effects of BC and muscle building.
In 2009, researchers at Texas A&M University presented the results of a study to determine whether oral contraceptives impact negatively on a woman’s ability to build muscle. In the study, 73 women between the ages of 18 and 34 completed 10 weeks of resistance training. Approximately half of the women who participated were taking birth control pills at the time of the study. Researchers concluded that the group that was taking the pill developed 40 percent less muscle mass than the group that was not taking the pill. Exercise physiologist Chang Woock Lee, one of the researchers involved in the study, attributes the difference in muscle-building ability to oral contraceptive use.
The effects that oral contraceptives have on muscle mass
A study was done to examine the effects that birth control pills had on female muscle mass. The study involved 73-women between the ages of 18-31, whose health was generally in good condition. The women were split into two groups, and both groups participated in resistance exercise training (RET). A total of 34 women who took oral contraceptives made up one group; 39 women who did not use oral contraceptives formed the second group.
The participants worked out three days a week for 10 weeks. A variety of strength training exercises were done, including the following:
* Chest presses
* Lateral pull downs
* Leg extensions
* Exercises for the triceps and biceps
* Crunches (for the abdomen)
Samples of blood were taken prior to and after exercise. They measured muscle building and muscle breaking blood hormone levels. The researches discovered that there were substantial variances in lean mass gains; whereas strength gains remained similar in both groups. The amount of anabolic hormones in the blood, both resting and fasting, were extremely lower in the females who took oral contraceptives. In addition, the cortisol levels were elevated in the oral contraceptive group.
Those who took birth control pills also had reduced DHEA levels at the end of the 10 weeks; the other group had levels that remained the same. The researchers stated, “We were surprised at the magnitude of differences in muscle gains between the two groups, with the non-OC women gaining more than 60% greater muscle mass than their OC counterpart.”
The more I read, the more I disliked being on the pill. Josh and I have been discussing me stopping for quite a while. Well, my prescription ran out and I took my last pill 4 days ago! Obviously, we will take other precautions to not get pregnant. We are not ready for baby number 2 quite yet lol
This is the year of accomplishing some fitness goals! After I accomplish them, then we can talk babies lol. I am actually really excited about my body going back to normal. Like I said before I noticed a difference from the get go. If you are on any contraceptive and have actually read the insert, it can be quite overwhelming to read all the possible side effects. These are the listed side effects to mine.
The following adverse reactions have been reported in patients receiving oral contraceptives and are believed to be drug-related:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abdominal cramps and bloating).
- Breakthrough bleeding.
- Change in menstrual flow.
- Temporary infertility after discontinuation of treatment.
- Melasma which may persist.
- Breast changes: tenderness, enlargement, secretion.
- Change in weight (increase or decrease).
- Change in cervical erosion and secretion.
- Diminution in lactation when given immediately postpartum.
- Cholestatic jaundice.
- Rash (allergic).
- Mental depression.
- Reduced tolerance to carbohydrates.
- Vaginal candidiasis.
- Change in corneal curvature (steepening).
- Intolerance to contact lenses.
The following adverse reactions have been reported in users of oral contraceptives and the association has been neither confirmed nor refuted:
- Pre-menstrual syndrome.
- Changes in appetite.
- Cystitis-like syndrome.
- Loss of scalp hair.
- Erythema multiforme.
- Erythema nodosum.
- Hemorrhagic eruption.
- Impaired renal function.
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome.
- Changes in libido.
- Budd-Chiari Syndrome.
Sounds awesome right??? So outside of ALL this, building less lean muscle mass, just put it over the top! Now that I have made the decision to stop taking it, I am ready now to see what changes I can make without it!!! I really want to accomplish my goal of competing in a Figure Competition, then after this small feat, on to Physique!!!! I am gonna smash my goals this year!!!! No if, ands, or buts about it! 2013 is gonna be AWESOME!!!!
What are your thought on birth control? What goals have you set for yourself? Hope you all have a fabulously fit day!!!!