episode #14

Dr. Jolene Brighten – On Hormonal Birth Control, Symptom Management, & Women’s Vitality



Best-selling author and leading authority on women’s health, Dr. Jolene Brighten joins the podcast to share her experience in the field of hormonal birth control. Dr. Jolene’s work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, and ABC News, to name just a few. As a prominent expert in women’s medicine and post-birth control syndrome, Dr. Jolene understands both the positive and negative effects hormonal contraceptives can have on women. Dr. Stephanie and Dr. Jolene talk about brain health, the bias that exists against women in the medical field, and vitality as it related to female physiology. Dr. Jolene references chapters from her latest book, Beyond the Pill. Finally, Dr. Jolene stresses the need for doctors to listen intently to their female patients, as women are the most in-tune with their bodies.


  • 01:02 – Introducing today’s guest, Dr. Jolene Brighten
  • 06:57 – Dr. Jolene talks about the history of hormonal birth control
  • 10:38 – Worldwide use of hormonal birth control
  • 13:06 – Birth control and infertility issues
  • 14:41 – The purpose of your menstrual cycle
  • 17:57 – Symptom management
  • 18:49 – The buffet approach to birth control
  • 20:05 – Understanding that belief has no place in medicine or science
  • 25:11 – The inherent medical bias against women
  • 28:41 – How hormonal contraception affects mate selection
  • 34:53 – Hormonal contraception’s influence on women’s behavior
  • 37:40 – How to stay safe on birth control in the wake of dangerous side effects
  • 41:00 – Reversing Metabolic Mayhem
  • 44:01 – Physiological side effects of hormonal birth control
  • 47:51 – Inflammation
  • 49:47 – The complex nature of hormones
  • 52:06 – Where listeners can follow Dr. Stephanie and subscribe to her newsletter


“Your doctor doesn’t need to have a research study to believe your story.” (07:55)

“What often happens is that you are put on birth control for symptom management and, as it turns out, those symptoms are really rooted in conditions that are associated with infertility.” (13:06)

“Hormonal birth control can rob us of what I call our superpowers. Throughout the menstrual cycle we have this ebb and flow of hormones that really gives us superpowers.” (16:42)

“For me, and really I think for many women, we don’t need other people’s beliefs when we’re trying to make an informed decision. We need the facts and we need the information, and we can frame those within our belief system.” (23:12)

“While hormonal birth control can rob you of your libido, when you come off of it, if you’ve selected your mate while you were on it and you come off of it, you may report more sexual dissatisfaction.” (32:47)

“If women have ever used hormonal birth control for six months or more in their lifetime, they have over thirty percent risk of developing diabetes post-menopausal.” (44:04)

“Women are dismissed and die at higher rates of heart attacks than men because we’re often told, ‘Oh you’re just stressed. You’re just anxious. It’s just in your head.’” (46:49)

“Women are tricky. But ya know what isn’t tricky about women? How well they know their body. So, what we have to do as doctors is listen to them because women are really smart and really in-tune with their body.” (47:40)



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Dr. Jolene’s Website

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Dr. Jolene’s Instagram – @drjolenebrighten

Dr. Jolene’s Twitter – @drbrighten

Dr. Jolene’s Facebook

Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales (DASS)

DASS Questionnaire

Dr. Jolene’s Books:

Beyond the Pill: A 30-Day Program to Balance Your Hormones, Reclaim Your Body, and Reverse the Dangerous Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill


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  • Dr. Stephanie Estima
  • Dr. Jolene Brighten


  • health
  • hormones
  • self care
  • nutrition
  • motherhood
  • parenting
  • fatherhood
  • sex
  • intimacy
  • mindset
  • drstephanie
  • optimization
  • science
  • sleep
  • betterpodcast
  • self love
  • fitness

I’m Dr. Stephanie

Part geek, part magic, and all the way passionate about being a well-lived woman.

I want to throw my grandkids in the air in my 70’s. I want to be squatting even more weight than I am now, and putting my OWN luggage in the overhead bin. Sound like weird goals? For me these are just some of the little things that represent a life well-lived.

My health is MY job – I’ll be damned if I rely on luck, ‘good genes’ or a cocktail of drugs that over promise and under deliver.

The Betty Body is my first book-baby, and a collection of what I’ve learned after thousands of clinical hours, hundreds of conversations with the world’s top experts, and most importantly…

This book is an outline of what took ME from “rock-bottom health” at 38, to being my own version of a Betty in my perimenopausal mid 40’s. A woman who is physically strong, full of energy, enjoys mental clarity, great sex and a joyful family life. Is it all roses? Of course not. But I have the stamina and tools to deal with the push and pull of life so that it doesn’t turn into chronic stress.

I want this for you too. Let’s go Bettys!