Did you know that the birth control pill is the most prescribed medication in the world?
I am at an age where many of my friends are trying to conceive and are therefore going off of their birth control. Many are met with some unexpected challenges. I am so glad that my mom convinced me not to go on The Pill when I was younger.
Considering I am not a Medical Doctor, I have relied on the books and articles produced by medical doctors and other holistic medical practitioners who are experts in this field. I have been doing research on The Pill, fertility and natural birth control methods for a few months now and my favorite resources come from Dr. Nat Kringoudis, and Australian fertility expert and Chinese Medicine Practitioner. Most of the facts below come from her articles and videos. You can find about her thoughts on The Pill here. She has a fantastic e-course on understanding fertility so that you can use this knowledge to avoid pregnancy or to make a baby here.
So why don't I take The Pill? Well, my original reason was because I did not want to take a daily medication, especially one that would contribute to Candida Overgrowth. Being prone to Candida, at the time, I asked my medical and holistic doctors their opinion regarding if The Pill could contribute to Candida. The consensus was that it could.
But, let's look beyond my early 20's reasoning and take a look at the scary facts I've uncovered:
1. Many women are prescribed The Pill to "counteract" hormonal issues and women's health conditions like hormonal migraines, hormonal acne, PCOS and PMS. It doesn't heal these conditions, it only acts as a band-aid, as is the case with many pharmaceutical drugs. I've seen many women ask about natural ways to help with PCOS, and while I am not a doctor who could recommend treatment for you, I do have one idea you might like. Dr. Nat Kringoudis also has an E-Course called Debunking PCOS. After taking her Debunking Ovulation course, I almost went on to the PCOS course because it looked so good and I don't even suffer from PCOS!
2. In fact, The Pill can contribute to hormone imbalance which can cause things like hormonal acne, PMS, breast tenderness and even lead to breast cancer down the road.
3. The scariest fact is that there is research which appears to show that The Pill can lead to infertility. In order for a women to get pregnant, there must be fertile cervical mucus. The Pill appears to degenerate the part of the cervix that secretes fertile cervical mucus. You can read more about this here.
4. The Pill robs the body of essential nutrients. It depletes the body of all nutrients, but it really likes to eat up B Vitamins, Zinc, Selenium and Folate. It can take up to six months for a woman to replenish these nutrient stores after she goes off of The Pill. If you've ever gone off of The Pill and wondered why your period took so long to come back, this is why. It can take sometimes up to six months for a woman's period to return.
5. Another scary scenario The Pill creates is when a woman gets pregnant while taking The Pill or shortly after going off of it. Since her body has been robbed of essential nutrients needed for energy, immunity and basic body functions, her baby is developing in a nutrient robbed womb. This can lead to a difficult pregnancy, fussy baby and an extra frazzled new mother.
6. Lastly, let's not forget about the common side effects of taking hormonal birth control like weight gain, bloating, depression, low sex drive, mood swings. No thank you!
So, what are the alternatives? One popular choice is non-hormonal birth control like the copper IUD. However, I am not comfortable with this going inside of my body. It isn't without downsides.
My personal method of choice is to follow the Fertility Awareness Method, which you can learn about in this book or by taking Dr. Kringoudis' course I mentioned above. It is similar to Natural Family Planning, but like it's cooler, sexier cousin. Way sexier.
Of course, using a barrier method is always a wise option, especially if you are not in a monogamous relationship or are not OK in the event you do get pregnant.
Fertility Awareness is so easy these days with all the new apps to help you track your fertility (I use Kindara) and tools like The Lady Comp. I actually just spoke about this method with my gynecologist (who isn't a holistic practitioner) and she said that she thinks this method works really well.
However, I don't think this is a method I could've followed well when I was young. There is a greater degree of responsibility that comes with tracking your cervical mucus and/or morning temps and interpreting how fertile you might be. I know I couldn't have done this effectively at the age of 21, had I been using it alone as contraception as I do now.
If you are going off of The Pill, or have recently gone off, I would highly consider some natural interventions to help balance your hormones faster. If you have a little bit of money to spend, I would recommend seeing a practitioner who specializes in Functional Medicine or a Naturopath. These doctors can test your hormone and nutrient levels and prescribe the proper supplements for your body. If you do not have the funds for this, I also really love acupuncture. Acupuncture can be a fabulous, faster treatment to help regulate hormones and alleviate any negative sensations while coming off of The Pill.
Interested in learning more about women's health? Be sure to check out my post, The Healthy Girl's Guide To A Healthy Period.