Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Many young women turn to the Contraceptive Pill as a convenient form of birth control. However, continued use indicates that for some, it may contribute to hormonal disturbances later in life as the case below shows.
Sandra began using the Pill at age 16 when she left home for university. Now at age 27, she presented at my clinic with facial acne, PMS with noticeable irritability, menses that were both very heavy and painful, as well as a hard fibroadenoma in her right breast, and weight gain. Most recently she had also developed hair growth on her chin. All these symptoms had appeared whilst on the Pill at age 21 but had become worse since coming off The Pill at age 23.
Initial case taking
Sandra arrived at my clinic feeling very low. She had tried many creams and health protocols to combat her acne which she felt made her very unattractive. Her confidence was at rock bottom. She was currently on a very restrictive Vegan diet to try to see if this would help the acne, to no avail.
* Facial acne mostly on her chin, jawline and the top of neck and in front of her ears which increased in severity at the menses. The spots were large, blind or occasionally puss filled and were painful to touch. They were also itchy. She also had small pimples on her forehead which tended to improve after a few weeks in the sun.
* A hard oval shaped fibroadenoma lump in the top of her right breast which is both sore and tender to the touch. Medical investigation had confirmed the lump was benign in nature. Both her breasts had been tender for the last couple of months.
* Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) with marked irritability and cravings for ‘rubbish’ food – crisps, cakes, biscuits, chocolate etc.
* Menses that in the last 10 months have become both heavy and painful. They typically began with spotting for two days before two days of heavy flow followed with severe twisting, cramping and tightening and a ‘dragging down’ feeling like ‘someone has scraped the front of my womb’. She also had many small clots and her stools would become loose during the menses. Her libido had also been very low for the last two to three years compounded by her feeling that she was ‘unattractive’ due to the acne.
* A history of cold sores on the lips made worse by damp weather.
* Sudden lapses of short term memory – in the consultation, Sandra could briefly not remember her current job, and had difficulty recalling the sequence of events in her life over the last 5 years.
Sandra’s skin and menses symptoms started at age 21 but increased dramatically when she stopped using the Pill at age 23 pointing towards an hormonal element in the case, plausibly exacerbated by her use of the Contraceptive Pill.
At age 17 she had unfortunately been attacked in the street leaving her with memory loss and a period of depression. Even now she still has anxiety about being followed by any male stranger in the street.
I suspected that Sandra may have been suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and suggested she had this medically investigated. Happily, her results proved negative.
Body temperature: Chilly
Food preferences: Sweet foods (4) and salty foods (2). She did not tolerate or like cow’s milk.
Thirst: Drinks 3 litres a day for health reasons (but not naturally thirsty). Dislikes cold water.
Allergies: General Anaesthetics, quinine.
Fears: Being followed, deep water, sharks. Not finding a life partner.
Personality: She described herself as being quickly frustrated but mostly easy going, and worried about others’ opinions of her. She preferred to be alone when she was upset and did not like hugs. She explained she often found herself losing interest soon into romantic relationships.
Sandra reported a healthy childhood with all standard vaccinations when young. Apart from a shoulder injury when she was 3, and the temporary health consequences resulting from when she had been attacked, her health history was unremarkable. Her menses had commenced in her early teens and were at that time painless with normal flow.
One year ago she had had a severe acute swelling in the left side of her neck with a high fever which was treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms used to repertorise the case using the Vithoulkas Compass:
Mind – Irritability – menses – before (2)
Mind – memory – weakness – of (2)
Face – Eruptions – Acne (2)
Face – Eruptions – menses – during (2)
Face – Eruptions – Herpes – lips about (2)
Abdomen – Pain – dragging, bearing down (2)