Birth Control and Cycling: Making Choices

Just saw this great piece on Outside Magazine about how different medications may impact your athletic endeavors. It has a big section on birth control that cites studies that show that estrogen (as found in The Pill) may increase your endurance, but will also slightly decrease your strength training abilities. Check out the full article here.

For another look at birth control and sport, there’s a really interesting podcast with Dr. Tamsin Lewis where she talks about the problems with oral contraception and hormones.

Personally, I’ve struggled to find a birth control method that doesn’t bother my stomach or impact my performance. Additionally, with how much I travel (and shift time zones), The Pill isn’t great since it needs to be taken at the same time every day—plus filling prescriptions while on on the road is a nightmare! After a lot of trial and error in the past few years, I came to find that an IUD (specifically, the Mirena one) works really well for me, and I know a few other cyclists that swear by it.

Let me know in the comments: What have you found when it comes to birth control and cycling?

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3 thoughts on “Birth Control and Cycling: Making Choices

  1. I love my IUD! I have the para guard, which is hormone free, and it’s great. I’ve had it for 5 years now, and it’s good for another 5 more. I struggled with hormonal birth control for years and I’m so glad I finally have something that works for me. Thanks Molly for starting these important conversations! 🙂

  2. Absolutely the Mirena IUD! extra bag bonus that periods tail off to nothing for many women. Not the painful and heavy bleeding IUD of decades past. My super athletic MD even has one, and i’ve recommended it to many happy athletic friends. A quick twinge as it goes in and a few days of minor discomfort, then good for 3 years!!

    • Exactly! I recently swapped out to Skyla now that it’s available as a slightly lower-dose hormone option, and I love that one as well! Recommend either to pretty much everyone I know.

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