Oh, Birth Control…
Where do we even start?
If you’ve ever wondered about the effects of hormonal birth control on your body, this post is for you.
And by no means are we here to convince you that you shouldn’t take the pill; we are here to inform you so you can make your own decision on whether or not the pill might be right for you.
Read to the end of the article to discover what natural alternatives to hormonal birth control we recommend now, which also happens to be the method that we both use ourselves.
So let’s start with the juicy stuff…
What’s Wrong With Birth Control Pills?
Though the birth control pill is the most widely used form of contraception today, the pill promotes continuously high levels of estrogen in a woman’s body because it requires orally ingesting synthetic hormones on a daily basis.
Most birth control pills works by keeping estrogen at a high enough level that it “fools” the body into thinking it’s pregnant (and therefore pregnancy can’t occur) so that you don’t need to ovulate.
Since your body thinks it’s pregnant, the uterine lining thickens. Once your start your week of placebo pills, your estrogen level suddenly drops and you have your period as you would “normally.”
On the other hand, your body’s natural cycle is composed of rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone, and there is no such thing as “tricking” your body into thinking it’s pregnant.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “fool” my body into thinking something is happening that is not, which is something that’s totally unnatural for it to experience, especially long term.
Birth control pills haven’t been around long enough (they were introduced in the 60’s) for us to know the long term effects of high estrogen levels, but we do know they can cause a wide range of adverse side effects.
Side Effects of Birth Control
Just a quick google search of “side effects of birth control” yields a long list of effects like intermenstrual spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches, weight gain, mood changes, missed periods, decreased libido, vaginal discharge and an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
Yet, doctors are quick to prescribe birth control as the “best” form of contraception.
Often times they don’t even spend the time with their patients to ensure they’re getting the correct dosage, especially if you’re getting your birth control pills from a donation-based community clinic.
Just a few years ago I was struggling with the idea of “having” to be on birth control. I wasn’t ready to have a family yet, but it didn’t feel right to me to be taking synthetic hormones every day.
In fact, after months of feeling totally depressed with literally no energy (we’re talking all I wanted to do was just lay on the couch and mope every single day), wondering what was wrong with me, I did a quick google search of the birth control I was using at the time and found lots of other women were experiencing the same exact thing.
A week later I went in to see my doctor, hoping she would have an answer for me.
I specifically asked her if there was anything else I could do because I was not tolerating taking hormonal birth control very well. She told me that the only other option would be an Intrauterine Device (IUD).
Long story short, I hadn’t heard very good things about IUDs either and I didn’t like the idea of something being implanted into my body, so I left my doctor’s office still looking for an alternative answer.
When I really thought about it, for the last 6 years that I was on birth control I felt depressed, unusually tired, moody, and quick to snap. I was determined to find another way… I decided that day to see what might happen if I stopped taking these pills.
Over the course of the next 8 months being off of the pill I did not have a single period (and no I wasn’t pregnant)!
Those 8 months were a huge wake up call to me that something really wasn’t right. I started researching the pill to figure out what exactly I had been putting in my body every single day for the past several years.
After taking birth control for over 6 years, it was as if my body no longer knew how to take care of itself because I had taken hormones since I was a teenager.
I was totally freaked out and overwhelmed.
But it got me wondering… Why is this such a commonly prescribed birth control method when it can have effects like this for women’s bodies? Why doesn’t anyone talk about this? Why are the negative side effects of birth control overlooked and swept under the rug?
To be honest, I hadn’t ever even thought about doing “my homework” when it came to the pill.
After all, it seemed like everyone else was taking them and the doctor assured me they were “totally safe.” In fact, nearly 12 million women in the US, and about 90% of all college educated women have used the pill.
So considering this widespread popularity, I’d say it’s pretty darn important to know the facts… And since no one else is really talking about this, let’s dive in.
5 Things To Know About Birth Control Pills (the good, bad & ugly):
- Taking the pill can reduce the risk of endometrial & ovarian cancer, but can increase your risk of other types of cancer. According to Dr. Sara Gottfried in “The Hormone Cure,” taking the pill for five years is associated with a 90% reduction in ovarian cancer. On the other hand, birth control pills have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer. In a 1996 study, women who used the pill had a higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who had never taken the pill.
- Birth control pills are classified as carcinogens. Totally scary, but true! According to the World Health Organization, the pill is in the same class as other known toxins such as tobacco and asbestos.
- The pill depletes your B vitamins. B vitamins are essential to your neuroendocrine system, which is linked to reducing stress, boosting memory and reducing heart disease. If you’re currently taking the pill it’s recommended to add a B vitamin to ensure you are not deficient.
- Taking the pill is linked to higher occurrences of yeast infections. Birth control pills actually destroy the beneficial bacteria in your intestines, which increases your risk for yeast overgrowth, poor immune function and infection. Not only that, but toxins from yeast overgrowth and their byproducts can adversely affect your body causing problems such as migraines, endometriosis, psoriasis, PMS, depression, fibromyalgia and digestive disorders.
- The pill can delay your fertility. Your monthly cycle is the best message from your body that your hormones and body are functioning properly. Since you aren’t actually experiencing a real period on the pill, you are missing out on crucial signs from your body that everything is working properly. That means when you go off the pill, you may have to wait longer to get everything in sync again before having a child.
Now here’s the thing…
All of these horribly scary side effects could be completely avoided if you just learn the simple facts that your doctors aren’t telling you when they rush to prescribe you a quick-fix pill like the ones I was taking.
You can easily use natural methods of birth control instead that have been around for AGES which don’t use any hormones whatsoever that, in our opinion, should be taught to every woman from the day she gets her first period.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where taking a pill has become easier than learning about our own bodies and how they function.
I WISH one of my doctors would’ve told be about natural, alternative methods of birth control. But they didn’t. And I suffered unnecessarily for years because of it.
The following natural alternative birth control method was the answer I was looking for, and honestly, it’s so easy to do when you have the right tools and understanding of what your body is actually going through during its menstrual cycle!
So put your learnin’ pants on ladies! The following information is about to be a game changer for you if you’re in the same boat I was back then.
Alternative Methods of Birth Control
It’s now been 4 years since I’ve been 100% off of the pill, and I’ve never felt better!
I’m more in tune with my body and natural cycle than I ever have been. And I want the same thing for you.
No more depression, fatigue, mood swings or other adverse side effects from the pill.
Instead of fighting your body or forcing it to function in a certain way by taking the pill every day, you can learn how to work with your body by knowing more about your cycle.
And, nothing is more liberating than knowing how your own body works! If you want to start learning more about this and truly understand the science behind reproduction, menstrual cycles and natural birth control methods, this book is a MUST READ:
It explains everything you need to know. Everything. And the more you know, the better decisions you can make for yourself.
Imagine getting more in tune with your own body. Imagine learning about your fertility cycles. Imagine KNOWING exactly when things are coming for you. For example, if you’re feeling a little emotional you might notice that it’s because your period is coming up in a few days. By tracking your own fertility and fluctuations throughout the month, you’ll be able to be in tune with your body and the feelings you have on a daily basis.
And let’s be honest, that means you can warn people around you that they should be a little nicer for the next couple days, or maybe leave out a Hershey kiss or two for you to help stave off those chocolate cravings. 😉
Anyway, back on track. The easiest way to track your cycle naturally is by — get this — tracking your body temperature.
Body temperature? Yes, body temperature.
Pull out those handy dandy thermometers ladies, because it’s really that simple.
And guess what? Because we all have cell phones attached to our hands like an 11th digit at every second of every day now (can you guess what’s coming?), you can bet your bottom dollar there’s an app for that.
Enter Natural Cycles – the easiest way to keep track of your cycle.
Why We Recommend Natural Cycles
NaturalCycles is a fertility monitor that educates women about the mechanics of fertility and the benefits of body awareness for their own health and family planning.
NaturalCycles uses a bio-statistical algorithm that takes the human error out of calculating fertile and non-fertile days, with a clinically proven accuracy level of 99.95%.
Natural Cycles helps women learn about their body’s natural rhythm and what it can tell them about themselves to allow for:
- a higher degree of knowledge,
- educational and body awareness empowerment, and
- motivation to avoid and plan pregnancies naturally.
We think every woman should know her options. You don’t have to take synthetic hormones every day FYI, you can simply track your body’s temperatures instead.
And this app makes it pretty dang easy to do that. We’re super glad we found it and are confident this can help thousands of women worldwide get better in-tune with their bodies the way they were actually meant to function.
Knowing when you’re actually ovulating and have a higher risk of pregnancy will give you complete control over your own fertility and future.
Who Is This For?
- Women in a relationship looking for alternate contraception that does not manipulate hormones
- Women that want a natural, yet efficient, method to keep track of their fertility
- Women that want to get to know their unique cycles and understand how their body works
- Women that want to avoid pregnancy
How Does It Work?
Just like the box says, you wake up, measure your temperature while you’re still in bed, then go about the rest of your day as usual.
It’s really that simple.
Before you get out of bed (i.e. when your morning alarm goes off), grab your thermometer and measure your temperature. Then record this number in the app.
The app will track all of your data for you and organize it into helpful graphs and charts that track your fertility, giving you daily color-coded signals for whether you’re “at risk” or not.
On green days, you’re in the clear. On red days, you’re not.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
The ONE thing that might be a challenge in your transition to using this natural method of birth control is simply remembering to track your temperature every day.
To help with this, we recommend giving your alarm a title in your phone — something like “Take Your Temperature, Beautiful ;)” — so you see it first thing when you wake up to turn your alarm off.
Keep your thermometer on your nightstand and make sure you follow the app’s simple, step-by-step instructions to ensure you’re collecting accurate data.
Want to try it out?
To save 50% a 1 year subscription and get a free thermometer ($40 value), use the code “SISTERS2NC” when you download the app at https://www.naturalcycles.com/en/app
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Natural Cycles. The opinions and text are all mine.