Book Review: Beyond The Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten

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I was really excited for Dr. Brighten’s book when it came out earlier this year. As an advocate for women’s health, the book is another tool that Dr. Brighten has created to empower more women to take back control of their health. Beyond The Pill Book Review

The base of Beyond The Pill is essentially information on Post Birth Control Syndrome (PBCS) including signs and symptoms, causes (hormonal birth control), the common results (hypothyroidism, sex hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue) followed by information on how to resolve them and claim back good health after hormonal imbalances. A 30-day programme is also included which walks you through day by day to iron issues out. 

I may reference back to this book and what I’ve learnt from it throughout my blog posts.

As soon as I started reading this book, I was struck by Dr. Brighten’s down to earth and informal writing style which I liked, as it made all the information contained sound as if it was coming from a friend, instead of a doctor (which of course she is!) which can make a lot of people turn off. I didn’t find any information in the book hard to follow, ‘overly sciencey’ or tricky to absorb, which made it a very quick read as I chewed through it all in a matter of days.

A lot of the basics are covered for many topics that every thyroid patient should know about. Many of us with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s are also walking around unaware of oestrogen dominance, low oestrogen, low progesterone, high or low testosterone, adrenal dysfunction and non-optimised thyroid levels. The book includes a quiz to determine which of these you may have.

If you have on-going issues, symptoms or complaints, these other parts of the endocrine puzzle really ought to be explored. In my personal case, I not only had hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, but also oestrogen dominance (with low progesterone), high cortisol adrenal ‘fatigue’ and thyroid levels which were ‘fine’ but not optimal.

It’s also an informative read if you’re thinking about your fertility or questioning menstrual issues.

As a fellow thyroid patient advocate, I found myself nodding along to a lot of the information contained in Beyond The Pill. I was pleased that Dr. Brighten has a lot of the same views and beliefs as myself and The Invisible Hypothyroidism’s message, including something I don’t think is talked about often enough – finding the right kind of exercise and learning not to actually make your health worse by doing the wrong kind or too much, once you have a thyroid condition.

The book is split in to three parts, with Part 1 discussing everything about the pill, PBCS and just how common it is. Part 2 tackles specific complaints and areas of the body and Part 3 is the actual programme, which includes meal plans, supplement protocols and symptom trackers. You can use the contents of the book to support your health whether you’re staying on the pill, coming off it or have already come off it.

The information in this book is heavily researched and the science backed up with pages and pages of references, with functional, naturopathic and integrative medicine the main focus. However, a lot of the information concerning the risks associated with the contraceptive pill are well recognised by mainstream medicine too.

Although the author does say that she “isn’t anti-hormonal birth control but instead pro-informed choice” (which is a brilliant way to put it), some readers may find a lot of the information concerning the (often dangerous) side effects of taking hormonal birth control to be worrisome. There’s no lack of detail in the different ways in which taking the pill can lead to death or other not-so-nice health issues, but Dr. Brighten’s whole legacy is based on making sure women are informed of this before deciding whether to take the pill. She’s clearly very passionate. But beware – the amount of risks can be scary.

I know that some people are put off by books that mention the author’s own line of supplements or programmes, and there’s no getting away from the fact that Dr. Brighten does mention her own supplements and programmes in this book fairly often, but after reading many thyroid books, I really don’t find it that unusual. Many people with these products and services see their books as another marketing tool for getting the word out about these, but you’re not forced to buy in to them in order to benefit from the book. What actions you take from the book are up to you but it is worth mentioning. As someone from the UK, this does seem like quite a US book convention.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to some of my female friends I think will benefit from reading it. I found it compelling, well written and relatable. A lot of the information she included aligned with my own beliefs but also the protocols my own functional medicine practitioner has had me do to overcome hormonal issues after coming off the pill.

It is a very comprehensive and useful tool for those with hormonal issues and I think every woman would benefit from giving it a read.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon on the link below and also check out the other books that may be helpful to you in my bookstore, here.

My Score: 4.5/5

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you found this article beneficial, please take a moment to share it so we can help others get better with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, whilst also raising awareness. "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate."

Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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