This is one topic that I’m SO passionate about and one that I have many messaging me about and customers dealing with….
So, long story long… I was placed on the birth control at age 13 due to heavy bleeding, severe cramping & ovarian cysts. At the age of 23, less than a year into my marriage, still a newlywed, I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) & infertility.
According to The Mayo Clinic, POF is a loss of normal function of your ovaries before age 40. If your ovaries fail, they don’t produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. Infertility is a common result. Premature ovarian failure is sometimes referred to as premature menopause, but the two conditions aren’t the same. Women with premature ovarian failure can have irregular or occasional periods for years and might even become pregnant. Women with premature menopause stop having periods and can’t become pregnant. There are a few causes as to why POF happens, these are chromosomal defects, toxins, an autoimmune disease & unknown factors.
The many specialists I sought, the tests I had done and surgeries conducted resulted in no answer as to why I was dealing with POF & after my years of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that toxins might be at fault – birth control, smoking and anorexia being the root cause… Or just God’s plan…
After the twins were born at age 28, I continued to suffer more hormonal imbalance issues, my conclusion is due to being placed on a synthetic estrogen patch 2 months after the twins were born (I was dealing with severe hot flashes & night sweats). My symptoms became worse as the years went by (continuous bleeding, severe migraines, hot flashes, insomnia & night sweats…) and I ended up having a total hysterectomy (surgery where the entire uterus and cervix are removed (ovary status is officially referred to separately) and a bilateral oophorectomy & salpingectomy (both ovaries & Fallopian tubes are removed).
After my surgery, I was placed back on the synthetic estrogen patch and eventually ended up suffering severe estrogen dominance & adrenal fatigue which I have since reversed by nutrition, supplements & slowing down my exercise & bio-identical hormones.
It’s now my mission to help other women suffering from hormonal imbalance issues feel better, get their lives back and stop this cycle of physicians placing them on hormones & medications that can alter their fertility & bodies. This leads me to tonight’s topic once again, synthetic hormones, mainly being birth control pills. I’m not going to get into much of why birth control is not healthy but here is a quick list of side effects…
- Higher risk of breast cancer
- Increased risk of blood clotting, heart attack and stroke
- Migraines (including new cases or worsening of symptoms)
- Gallbladder symptoms and disease
- Increased blood pressure
- Weight gain or changes in appetite
- Mood changes, including mood swings, increased anxiety or symptoms of depression
- Nausea, irregular bleeding or spotting between periods
- Rarely, benign liver tumors
- Breast tenderness or swelling
(check out my post here on why Birth Control is harmful HERE, and check out the following posts –> Kelly Brogan, MD’s post on That Naught Little Pill. Birth Control, & Dr’s Mercola & Dr Axe for more info on why birth control is harmful).
I really just want to give you some alternative methods of birth control, other than “The Pill.” And here they are:
- Condoms: At around a 98 percent effectiveness rate when used correctly, they are nearly as effective as taking the pill. However, sometimes they are not used properly, which lowers their effectiveness (the same can be said for female condoms).
- Natural family planning/Fertility awareness: This is a great method for helping women track their natural cycles, identify times of fertility, treat PMS symptoms and evaluate the effects of stress on hormones/menstrual cycle. More details on how to use this method are described below.
- Temperature method: This is a way to pinpoint the day of ovulation so that sex can be avoided for a few days before and after peak ovulation days. The temperature method involves taking your basal body temperature (your temperature upon first waking up in the morning) each morning with an accurate “basal” thermometer. Then, you note the rise in temperature that occurs after ovulation takes place. Ovulation causes a slight, but noticeable rise in body temperature which can be tracked over time. When you measure your temperature every morning, you can learn to evaluate data over several months to recognize your own fertility pattern. This helps you figure out which days to avoid sex. Temperature method is most reliable when combined with the mucus method; the two methods combined can have a success rate as high as 98 percent. Alone, the temperature method is about 75 percent effective.
- Diaphragms: These must be fitted by a doctor and are about 88 to 94 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. They are thin, soft rubber rings that are inserted into the upper part of the vagina to cover the cervix and act as a barrier to sperm. They last for about 2 years unused, and cost about $70.
- Cervical cap: This is a heavy rubber cap that fits tightly over the cervix. It must be put into place by a doctor and can be left in place for 48 hours. These have a 85 to 91 percent effectiveness rate depending on how carefully it’s used.
- Lady Comp: Lady Comp is a type of fertility monitor that’s been used in Europe for nearly 30 years. According to the official Lady Comp website, this monitor is an “intelligent, non-invasive, natural method of contraception … it’s a next-generation fertility monitor that learns, analyses and indicates ovulation, fertile and non-fertile days with 99.3 percent premium accuracy, which is free of invasive hormones and side effects.” There are several monitors available depending on your budget and needs. Most tell you whether you’re fertile by displaying a red light on your “fertile days” and a green light during your infertile phase, allowing you to predict your peak-ovulation days.
- Mucus method: This involves tracking changes in the amount and texture of vaginal discharge, which reflect rising levels of estrogen in the body. For the first few days after your period, there is often no discharge, but there will be a cloudy, tacky mucus as estrogen starts to rise. When the discharge starts to increase in volume and becomes clear and stringy, ovulation is near. A return to the tacky, cloudy mucus or no discharge means that ovulation has passed. This method can work very well (about 90 percent effectively) when used by women with regular cycles, however it’s not a good match for those who have irregular periods, frequent vaginal infections or irregular mucus, who have recently given birth, or who have taken emergency contraceptives recently (like Plan B).
- Calendar method: This is a term for practicing abstention from sex during the week the woman is ovulating. This technique works best when a woman’s menstrual cycle is very regular. The calendar method doesn’t work very well for couples who use it by itself (about a 75 percent success rate), but it can be effective when combined with the temperature and mucus methods. (Check out this post from Dr. Axe on How Natural Birth Control Methods Work)