Natural Birth Control Alternatives to “The Pill”

Natural Birth Control Alternatives to “The Pill”

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I got to be honest, guys… Never thought I’d be writing about natural birth control. I’ve always been something of a “private” person when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I’ve had a lot of people ask me my thoughts on more natural birth control alternatives to hormonal pills. And since I have some pretty strong feelings about oral contraceptives, I decided the time was right to talk about the alternatives.

Of course this is a personal subject, and what works for someone may not work for someone else. I hope we’ll all keep a spirit of openness as we discuss options and awareness. I believe bearing children is a tremendous gift and responsibility, and that any talk of “natural birth control” is really a talk about better understanding our own fertility.

Why I stopped taking “the pill”

Like many young women, I was prescribed birth control pills long before I was ever worried about sex. At the urging of my mother, I took a visit to my dermatologist to get my first prescription while still in high school. Of course, I wasn’t worried about pregnancy at the time, but my mom insisted that the pill would help clear up my acne.

Maybe it did. I don’t know. I didn’t really notice.

But what I did notice was that I gained a good twenty pounds those two-ish years I was on the pill. (Of course, part of that was also a result of bad diet during my freshman year of college.) I really hated taking the pill every day, so I finally stopped. Within a matter of weeks I dropped ten pounds. My first experience with the pill was less than awesome, to say the least.

But some years later I got engaged. To this really hunky guy. And all of a sudden I was preparing myself for a new life… one where I needed me to consider my fertility. So I did what most my friends did: I got my “pre-marriage” exam and nice new prescription for birth control pills.

What are oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives or birth control pills are synthetic hormones that override the normal hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian hormonal axis to prevent ovulation. When taken by mouth every day, these pills inhibit female fertility. They were first approved for contraceptive use in the United States in 1960. They are currently used by more than 100 million women worldwide and by almost 12 million women in the United States. (source)

Let’s just focus on that idea of “synthetic hormones” for a moment. Doesn’t seem really natural, does it? Well… it’s not.

If you take a look at the list of side effects that comes with each package of pills you may be surprised by how casually they are prescribed. For me, the second time around on the pill was far more “inconvenient” that a few extra pounds. I was on the new prescription for about a month and I felt like someone had taken over my sanity. I was sobbing all the time. Cranky. And just not myself.

No thank you. Time to say “good bye, Mr. Pill.”

Natural birth control options to help you ditch "the pill."

Why I would never recommend the pill to anyone

The artificial changes in our hormone levels can easily screw up the whole body. And the side-effects are complex. Symptoms like weight gain, breast engorgement and tenderness, bloating, mood swings, severe PMS, headaches and loss of libido are what we can experience within days or months of starting on the pill. (source)

Even for those women without immediate reactions, long term use leaves individuals wide open for potentially major problems including infertility, cancer, stroke, blood clots, etc. (3)

 The belief that birth control pills are safe comes from more than 40 years of continuous brainwashing by the pharmaceutical industry to both physicians and the public. We are victims of misinformation and dangerous practices. – Erika Schwartz, MD

And to top it off, we just don’t need these pills. There are lots of other alternative choices when it comes to taking charge of your fertility.

Natural  birth control alternatives

This list doesn’t include every possibility, but it does provide information on many of the most commonly used methods of natural birth control.

Natural Birth Control: Withdrawal

Withdrawal is a natural birth control where a man pulls his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates. But this is not as reliable a method because a male ejects pre-ejaculate fluid while he is aroused and still inside the vagina – this fluid can contain at least 300,000 sperm! Plus, it relies on complete self-control. Finally, even if the man ejaculates outside of the vagina, sperm can swim, so semen anywhere near the vagina can still lead to pregnancy.

Fertility Awareness

“Fertility awareness” is when a woman will monitor her fertility and avoid unprotected intercourse during ovulation. This method involves monitoring different body changes (such as basal body temperature or cervical mucus variations) and recording them to establish when ovulation occurs. A woman can also use a calendar method to determine ovulation, but this is not as reliable. The woman then abstains from unprotected sex for 7 days before and 2 days after when she may have ovulated. It is helpful for a woman to understand her menstrual cycle. This method requires some meticulous effort and record-keeping.

This is one of the most popular choices among those really seeking the most natural approach to fertility. When done properly it can be a very effective approach to natural birth control. It also helps women better understand their own body.

Learn more about some of the various methods:

Books to help you:

Better and more natural approaches to birth control pills.

 

Taking Charge of Your Fertility (one of the most recommend books I’ve come across, even if you don’t want to practice this method.)

Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach

The Billings Method

 

 

 

 

 

Fertility Apps/Website Trackers

Better and more natural approaches to birth control pills. Lady-Comp Fertility Tracker

fertilityfriend.com

Kindara App

iPeriod App

 

Continuous Breastfeeding (Lactational Amenorrhea Method)

Continuous Breastfeeding is considered a form of natural birth control because it can postpone ovulation for up to 6 months after giving birth. It works because the hormone required to stimulate milk production prevents the release of the hormone that triggers ovulation. However, a woman should not rely on this method for more than 6 months or if she has had a period since giving birth. It is only effective if the woman feeds her baby at least 6 times a day with both breasts, does not substitute other foods for breast milk, and feeds her baby every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night. Even then, it’s not 100% reliable. (Learn more)

Natural Bith Control: Barrier Methods

Condoms: Condoms have a 95 – 98% effectiveness rate when used correctly. A water-based lubricant will increase the effectiveness, but you should avoid oil-based lubricants as they can break the latex. Male condoms are slightly more effective than female condoms, but female condoms are less likely to tear.

Diaphragm: A diaphragm must be fitted by a doctor acts as a barrier to sperm. When used correctly with spermicidal jellies, they are 92 – 98% effective. Keep in mind that commercial spermicidal jellies, however, are rarely (if ever) natural.

Cervical Cap: This is a heavy rubber cap that fits tightly against the cervix. It can be left in place for 48 hours. It also must be fitted by a doctor as proper fitting enhances the effectiveness above 91 percent.

Non-Hormonal IUD

I’m hesitant to add this to this list, because it seems to be a pretty controversial subject. I’ve had several people say good things about IUDs, and many women who hated it. Like all the alternatives, it has its own pro/con list. Intrauterine Devices are small, T-shaped sticks with a string attached to the end. The IUD is placed inside the uterus and prevents pregnancy by rendering the sperm unable to fertilize an egg, and by changing the lining of the uterus so that it is less supportive for an embryo.

On the pro-side: It’s one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control, can be used while breastfeeding, works immediately, fertility returns quickly upon removal, does not contain hormones, doesn’t interact with any medications, and lasts 10 t0 12 years.

On the con-side: Periods can get heavier and longer, menstrual cramps can get worse, irregular periods and spotting, and there may be other side effects like infections or nausea. It also has to be placed by a doctor. Not as “natural” as some other approaches.

Also: Just like with birth control pills, IUDs don’t always prevent fertilization… they just make the uterus inhospitable so that an embryo can’t implant. I don’t know if all women realize this, but that does make both the pill and IUDs methods of abortifacients. This may not bother many women, but if you believe life happens at conception (as I do) I wouldn’t recommend this method.

With any of these choices you need to find what feels like the best fit for your needs and particular situation. You can see what some women are recommending on this facebook thread. Hopefully you’ll find an approach that works for you and doesn’t put your body in danger.

 

UPDATE: I received a message from a reader with some great insight on more reason many may want to think twice about the pill:

“I just wanted to add a very important comment to your article (especially in relation to cooper IUD method). Many fertility experts (including doctors) are concerned about the fact that women often are not informed that the birth control pill and IUDs (including cooper ones) can cause an chemical abortion as well as prevent pregnancy. Despite the hormones’ ability to prevent the release of eggs, sometimes a “breakthrough ovulation” takes place.

A woman can still conceive a baby (embryo), who because of synthetic hormones cannot attach to the uterine lining and is aborted. The pill’s third mechanism is to change the lining of the endometrium, which creates a hostile environment for a newly created human life.

The similar and even worse mechanism works in case of IUDs and cooper IUDs (coils), where one of the mechanisms incorporates a physical intrusion to prevent implantation of already conceived baby (embryo).

So this is very important issue, which many woman are not informed about and they would never accept it if they knew, please find the good article about it here. ”

 

What about you? What are your thoughts on natural birth control? What has worked for you?

 

Natural birth control options to help you ditch "the pill."

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_control_pill
http://www.nowpublic.com/the_case_against_birth_control_pills#ixzz2PQn20aMs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IUD_with_copper

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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie

154 comments

  1. Kimberley

    I recently got off the pill after being on it for alomst 6 years! I had recurring infections that kept getting worse and closer together, when finally my naturopath said, “Listen to your body, it’s telling you to stop what you are doing!” Since then my body has gone through a detox phase with some interesting side effects, but I cannot stress how much better I feel being off of it. I am so thankful I made the decision! Thanks for this article, it greatly helps knowing what your alternative option are before making a deciison like this.


    1. Post author
      robin

      So glad you figured it out! I was amazed at how much the pill affected my body. So glad to be done for good.

    1. KellyT

      I have horrible migraines too! I take the low-dose because of endometriosis…I have an appointment with my Dr tomorrow, I will have to bring this up. I never had them prior to taking this pill but for some reason I never connected them. Along with weight gain, libido, mood and all the other stuff…maybe I should just pass on the pill :)

  2. Rebecca

    Many women not only use birth control pills as a means of birth control, but also use it as a means to help ease menstrual pain that occurs every three weeks.

    The natural methods listed are very effective and seldom not used enough, but unfortunately, bcp’s remain one of the only ways to deal with intense pain that leaves over 70% of women in debilitating condition.

    I wish there were more natural remedies to this part of the equation, that truly worked, as well.


    1. Post author
      robin

      It’s true, Rebecca. And unfortunately there’s no easy answer as it’s such a complicated thing. I do think that diet can be a HUGE factor in easing intense pain… although it’s not always easy or fast.

      1. Jen

        I have been “diagnosed” with endometriosis (spelling?). I use quotations due to the “diagnosis” or lack there of. Long story. At any rate, my only means of pain management is BC. I hate using hormones and lost my mother to breast cancer. I try to avoid all things unnatural. I use mostly organics, work out regularly and make mostly everything homemade, which includes house hold cleaning supplies. What are some alternatives? Thanks!!


        1. Post author
          robin

          I’m just learning about endometriosis and don’t have a lot of advice to give. I wish I did. Sometimes I do believe that modern medicine has its place, even if it’s not ideal. If you want, I can put your question forth to my facebook readers as someone might have experience with this. Let me know.

        2. Jessica

          Check out the book titled Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition by Marylin Shannon. She addresses endometriosis,
          PMS, infertility and a host of other things with nutrition and supplements.

        3. Blue

          Homeopathy has worked wonders for me. You have to find a good practioner and give it time. For me, it was 6 months. I also found that eating eggs before and during my period reduced the pain.

        4. Alyssa

          You might want to think about seeing a natural family planning doctor or one trained in NaPro technology, they would be able to actually treat endometriosis instead of putting the hormonal contraceptive bandaid on it. Just a thought for those wanting to get off the artificial hormones.
          A natural family planning doc would likely be able to get to the root of the intense menstrual cramping previously mentioned too. I do not have any personal experience with either issued mentioned but I have heard wonderful things about NaPro technology. Hope that’s a help.

        5. Kimberly

          I struggled with endometriosis for a decade before having an amazing laparoscopic excision by one of the leading specialists in the nation. Dr David B Redwine. He uses a different method than a typical laparoscopy and completely cured me. From that day forward I’ve had ZERO men’s teal pain and went on to have 3 children with #4 on the way. He’s retired now but can be found on Facebook and can recommend surgeons who will be able to help. I traveled to Oregon from Utah to have the surgery and it was absolutely worth it. Changed my life so much.

      2. Katie

        I was prescribed bcp in college for severe cramps, and while it does help with that, I had (what I considered to be worse) side effects like irritability, mood swings, weight gain, etc. When I finally had enough my intense cramps came back. But I have been slowly working on diet and they have definitely improved. I went from a 20 advil period to a 6 advil period…What I have found to work is no gluten, loading up on fish oil (I am talking 4-5 grams a day) and evening primrose oil. Also magnesium. I believe you have to get to the cause of the problem, and severe cramps are not normal.


        1. Post author
          robin

          I wish more people had that perspective: “Severe cramps aren’t normal.” Yes! Getting to the cause of the problem can be frustrating and hard, but in the long run it’s so worth it. Awesome, Katie.

          1. Sakeeta

            Yes, severe cramps are normal whenever you have IBS.

            I have to have a birth control that prevents me from having periods, as I nearly bleed to death every time I get a period.

            My periods have always been irregular, and I would go over 9 months without one, then would bleed for 2 months straight. So heavy, I had to change a super tampon every 2 hours at least. It would often leak.

            I even tried to diva cup. I filled it within an hour.

            There is no other option but hardcore birth control for me, I was concerned about bone loss with depo so I stopped using it.

            They put me on the Nuvaring, but my body cramped up cause my vaginal muscles were holding onto the ring so tightly.

            Then I was put on the patch a day after I took the ring out. I broke out in hives in the spot it was at, so I took it off. It was partially falling off anyways, and it had only been half a night.

            Next day I was nauseous as hell, horrible pounding headache, was sweating like crazy, was freezing cold… Had to smoke even more pot that day, which sucks. I’m a medical patient, so I do smoke a bit already…

            Feel so stuck…
            They are having me pick up Seasonique today.


          2. Post author
            Robin Konie

            :( I’m sorry. That sounds like a rough go, indeed. Wish I had an answer. Hang in there!

      3. Cari @ Humblepursuits

        In a Native American Herbal Ethnography class, they pointed out black raspberry leaf tea to help lessen cramping. Online, they also have just raspberry leaf tea listed, although it states that there is no data backing this.

        1. Sakeeta

          But how do you prevent the bleeding?

          I nearly bleed to death every time I have a period.

      4. Sara

        I had terrible cramping (an understatement) since my very first period that continued even after 2 children (I was told the cramps would lessen after children, a lie). When I switched to organic beef and quit eating pork the pain stopped completely after a few months. I was shocked! Only my husband believes me when I talk about how much my life has improved since I changed my diet. Most people write it off as luck or something else. Even pain relievers have terrible side effects. For example OTC pain killers cause headaches. My Dr. put me through thousands of $ of procedures to uncover the cause of my cramping and headaches, all solved by a better diet (not the dr.’s idea). I hope people will at least consider diet before turning to drugs.

    2. Christina

      There are a number of things that can be done naturally to deal with menstrual problems. You just need to find the right practitioner (usually not an M.D.) who is able to address these issues. As a nutritionist I work with countless women who have terrible cycles and am able to see improvements in just one month with lifestyle changes (food, nutrients, sleep, good stress management, detoxification, etc.).

    3. Tricia

      I have to be on the pill. The pain is horrible. Even if I don’t have a period, the pain seems to creep up anyway. I will be looking into functional endochrinologists soon. But non of it is covered in my health insurance (the ultimate mega/pharma-type establishment). yuck

      1. Lauren

        I would talk to your doctor about being on birth control pills for your pain. A lot of times women are prescribed the pill to just put a band aid on the problem because they don’t contain the hormones needed to specifically balance what’s wrong. Talking to your doctor and being put on the right medication might help.

    4. Kelly

      The very first thing I did to eliminate the horrific pain was to switch to cloth pads! Disposable pads are full of chemicals and poisons that irritate the uterus causing it to cramp and clot. Cloth is easy, money saving, odor/infection free, unbelievably comfortable and cute! This simple change made a world of difference!

      Next, I changed my diet. I remove all white flour and sugar, processed foods. I switched to grass fed beef/chicken/eggs/dairy. I now take raw Vitamins and Megaflora from Megafood.com.

      There are numerous herbal and natural alternatives. I am now pain free! And because of all of the changes I’ve made I am returning to health and so is my family!

      1. Katie

        I am considering switching to cloth pads. Any recommendations? I am currently using the diva cup but always need to have a back up pad ready as I am not an expert yet at putting the cup in the right position.

        I have also noticed a big decrease in menstrual pain when I cut out gluten, added in magnesium, fish oil, and primrose oil to my diet. And of course, eliminating processed food…swicthed to grass fed meats etc..

    5. lauren

      I have heard that a lot of women have lessened menstrual pain after adopting the paleolithic/primal diet or just going gluten free. For me it gave a regular cycle after being on the bc pill for 12 years. Pain was never an issue for me though.

    6. Sydney

      Hi Rebecca! Your comment struck a chord with me because I have been in the same place before. I started trying to live a more natural lifestyle a few months ago, giving up birth control, an antibiotic, and an aldosterone inhibitor that were prescribed for my horrible skin and strange periods: painful, long, and irregular. When I gave these up and started doing some research, I realized that the extreme pain and discomfort many women experience could be related to the products they use while on their periods, ie: commercial pads and tampons, with their bleach and processed fibers. I figured, what the heck? I bought my menstrual cup the next week and it has been the one of the best decisions of my entire life. Most of the backaches, cramps, headaches, and bloating are gone. Perhaps its TMI, but this thing has made such a difference for me that I struggle not to tell everyone about it! Now, I also made significant changes in my diet at this time, which I’m sure helped, along with regular exercise, especially on those rough days when you want to lay in bed and moan. There are always ways… they just might not be the easiest option. :)

  3. Jill

    It’s amazing to know how many women don’t know HOW their birth control actually works. I was on the ring (Nuvaring) which is basically the same thing as the pill in the hormonal sense, until my doctor pulled me off of it due to INSANE high blood pressure (likely due to the estrogen). When I first came off it I felt TERRIBLE! I’ve know for years now that my body becomes addicted to drugs very quickly and that I feel withdrawal symptoms when stop taking things (I try to avoid anything long term if at all possible). I’ve discovered this through coffee and with my birth control. It took me years to make the connection between my migraines and the week I didn’t have my ring in!

    In the end I ended up with an IUD, but due to the possible side effects that you mentioned above, I opted for an IUD that contains progesterone (no estrogen)because it doesn’t have the same side effects. While not completely hormone free and “natural” it’s been fantastic for me.

    I’m pretty open when talking about birth control because no one wants to, and that’s how we get into so much trouble! Thanks for writing this post and opening up about it!

  4. Sarah

    Condoms are FANTASTIC. Combine condoms with fertility awareness and you’re golden. Of course, this depends on having a significant other who will cooperate. If you don’t have a partner who will cooperate with basic birth control requirements (including, “Sorry honey, no PIV intercourse this week but we can do other things”) then you need to get out. If you can’t get out of the situation, the pill is better than getting pregnant, but if you can get one, an IUD is better than that.

    1. Sarah

      And of course, if you don’t have a partner, and are having sex, condoms are MANDATORY. I know a lot of people like having the backup, so I really wish IUDs were cheaper and that the doc would give you one even before you’d had kids! (Mine told me my uterus was too small, but apparently European doctors just shrug and get a smaller IUD to insert. Ours could learn a bit from their example.)

    2. Brigid Collins

      condoms aren’t awesome. They block the anti-depressant that the semen provides and that seeps into the vagina. Also, a woman is only fertile 1 day out of the month and can get pregnant for about 5(because sperm can live for days). So, if you’re using a condom and you aren’t fertile, which blocks the pregnancy? Answer: the lack of fertility. However, condom effectiveness is measured THROUGHOUT the month. Which HIGHLY skews it! It is such a lie! The actual condom effectiveness rate (measured while the woman is fertile) is only in the 30s! Eek!

      Check out 1flesh.org for a whole article on condoms.

      xoxo


      1. Post author
        robin

        Interesting. We use condoms quite frequently and they seemed to work. Both of my pregnancies happened fast (like within the hour of deciding we were going to try and conceive) and the rest of the time we used condoms… so they seemed effective for me.

  5. arthur

    My wife recently had the Mirena installed (is that the right word to use?); I’m interested in hearing if anyone has an opinion on it. We have two boys who are 11 months apart. She was on BC when we got pregnant with #2, so we opted for the Mirena in case we decide we want another child. We don’t know anyone who has the Mirena installed, so I would like to hear any opinions on it.

    1. Christina

      Mirena contains hormones, making it not natural, and many women have similar side effects as the pill. Getting pregnant was never a problem for us (very blessed) and we used a diaphragm for a number of years (w/spermicide jelly or strips) and it worked great!

    2. Margo

      Mirena has hormones in it. It is more effective because you don’t have to remember to take the hormones as with the pill, they are just released. I had the Mirena after baby #2. It was by far my worst experience with birth control. I suffered from the WORST headaches of my life! That resulted in taking more RX medication. Eventually the wires were no longer able to be found. Ultrasound revealed the IUD was still in place, but I began to suffer from severe cramping. I finally decided to get it removed because I just couldn’t handle it anymore. This may be TMI for you, but I did not stop bleeding for 6 months straight after having it inserted. I had it about a year, and it was the worst year as far as birth control goes. I know women that swear by it, but those women have never had a baby before. I don’t recommend it to anyone. I hope you find something that works. Paraguard was a better experience, but I did become pregnant while using it.

    3. Carrie

      I had a Mirena for 3 1/2 years before I realized how sick it was making me. It didn’t start all at once but was a slow creep. By the end, I was 70 pounds overweight, severely depressed, I had a seizure, my hair was falling out and I was always exhausted. I’ve had it out about a year and I’ve lost all the weight, I am happy and energetic.

    4. Kayla

      I currently have the Mirena IUD – having it inserted was a breeze and didn’t cause me any pain at all, but the first 6 months after insertion were HELL. I had severe cramping (so bad that it made me dizzy and nauseous) and migraines on a daily basis. I had never been on hormonal birth control before, so I think it was my body reacting to a foreign body and synthetic hormones. I considered having it removed, but after an unexpected pregnancy that my husband and I decided to terminate, I wanted to stick with something that I knew was going to keep us from having to go through that again. And I’m glad I did! After the first 6 months (I’ve had it for a year and a half now), the cramping subsided and I feel great. I’ve had ZERO weight gain (in fact, I’ve lost a bit of weight) and my skin is clear. I’ve had it checked, and IUD is still in place, and I feel my body go through something of a “normal” ghost cycle every month, but my periods are so light they’re almost non-existent. And of course, the best part is that we can have all the sex we want, worry free with no charting or tracking. :) Some people react VERY badly to the Mirena, but it’s working fantastically for me!

      1. Teresa

        I’ve had my Mirena for 4 and half years now and I have had no problems, painwise. I have PCOS so fertility is a problem for me anyway but after my IVF baby my Dr suggested it because ladies with irregular periods have a bigger chance of ovarian cancer something to do with the Mirena keeping the vaginal wall lining thinner. My downside is a lack of libido and after so many hormones from IVF, a lifetime of the pill and the Mirena, Gall Stones and an emergency Gall bladder removal. Wish I had been more aware of what could happen instead of trusting the system.


        1. Post author
          Robin Konie

          It’s hard when your “system” is working “normal” and you are desperate for answers. I’m sorry you had to deal with the the gall bladder issues. So not fun.

      2. jeannemarie

        You are married and aborted your child?!?! How incredibly selfish! I’m glad you’re trying hard to not conceive again.

        1. Kate

          Until you walk a mile in her shoes you have no right to judge. I have had 5 miscarriages and obviously have issues with fertility but I support her choice. Woman need to support each other more and judge less.

    5. stacey harrison

      I had a mirena in for 4 years. It was great. I had no side effects and didn’t have to worry about taking pills. My periods became really light and cramp free. The only down side was the initial first few months of continual bleeding while it settled in. My partner has had the snip so I had it out as I no longer needed it.

    6. Kate

      Since you asked the Mirena is “inserted,” not installed :). I’ve had three (one before my first pregnancy and then again after each of my two kids). The women in my family are hyper fertile so we weren’t comfortable depending on a barrier method and fertility awareness only. I loved my Miernas (obviously, since I’ve had 3). Each time I had one removed I had one heavy period and then was able to get pregnant the next cycle.

  6. Susie

    The absolute best options if you are done having children is Male Vasectomy!! Not too difficult for the hubby to endure and freedom from extra hormones and pregnancy worries!

    1. arthur

      The problem is we don’t know if we are done. It’s hard to make sense of anything with two that are 11 months apart! Right now, we wouldn’t dream of having another, but we realize that after these two get a little older, we may change our mind.

    2. Alyssa

      Great option if you want you hubby to have an increased risk of prostate cancer and other not so widely discussed side effects. It is easier to do but can wreak as much havoc on a man’s reproductive system as artificial hormones do an a woman’s.

  7. Jodi S

    I was only on the pill for 2 years of my life, and it made me gain weight and my personality “changed”. We have never had a problem getting pregnant (we have 4 children). I will never go on birth control again. When my chiropractor performed biomeridian testing on me, birth control showed up as something that still is weakening my body in some way. (Still determining all that). I was only on it for 3 years MY WHOLE LIFE and I don’t think my hormones have ever been the same. We practice FAM, although I’m still scared we will have #5, then #6…ha ha….all of them are blessings of course, but I’ll be 39 in a couple months. :)


      1. Post author
        robin

        I understand. I’m currently pregnant with just #2, but I’ll be 32 when he’s born and my body needs some healing… we’ll see if there’s a #3. I don’t want to deny life that needs to come into our home, but pregnancy and nursing have taken their toll. If only I could have found my husband when I was younger! :)

  8. Brigid Collins

    Oh my gosh, please update this post and include the creighton method to the fertility tracking! It is FAR more effective, scientific and reliable than billings or any other type of NFP. It also helps with things like acne, mood swings, weight gain… because, by consulting with your instructor and doing some blood test, you can figure out what is wrong with your hormones that is causing those things. Then, it can be corrected! 100% Organic Sex :)

    http://iusenfp.com/home/268-2/

    1. J

      We had the opposite experience: Creighton was unreliable and confusing, but Billings worked perfectly.

      That’s why they have multiple methods.

      The Marquette Method is the newest method. It uses a ClearBlueEasy fertility monitor to determine fertility. nfp.marquette.edu

      1. Megan

        Where can I find more info on the Marquette Method? I am familiar with the symptho thermo method. I wonder if insurance would cover the clear blue easy strips…they cover all the artificial methods (pill, etc)?

  9. krystal

    I’ve had the copper IUD for 7 years now(I am 27.) This is the best option as far as I am concerned. I’m not gonna lie, your periods are usually heavy and long. BUT it subsides over time. My periods went back to normal after I stopped using tampons and got into the habit of using the MoonCup, LOVE the MoonCup!! My friend, is having a terrible time with the hormonal IUD. She is ready to get it out after only 2 months. She is 31, and hasn’t given birth. Copper IUD and MoonCup are my recommendations!

  10. Mandi

    Thank you so much for posting. I am looking at the “natural family planning” method. I am recently single and had been contemplating coming off the pill. I went back and forth because now being single means there will probably be more spontenuity in my sex life? But I really wanted to get off of it because I am a hippy who is really consious of what goes in or on my body. But also because last year I changed to a progestin birth control from an estrogen based one. I broke out EVERYWHERE and became horribly depressed. It took me 4 months to figure out it was the birth control and 2 more for it to get out of my system once I switched back. I lost 6 pounds the first week I was off of it. I have been on it for about 8 years. I work out every day and eat clan, so I couldn’t figure out why I could never lose that last 10-15lbs. I think I figured it out : ) Now on day 4 of my 5 day juice cleanse to try to get as much of the toxins out as fast as I can so that my body can finally regulate itself! So excited!

  11. D

    Continuous breastfeeding.
    three weeks after I gave birth my period started even with breast feeding.
    I breast fed for six months and was as regular as ever.
    I realize you mentioned it shouldn’t be sole birth control but I have to say I was shocked.
    I haven’t come across anyone else that menstruated while breastfeeding, I’m sure they are out there.


    1. Post author
      robin

      My period came back around 6 months even though I continued to breastfeed my little girl until she was two (she weaned herself 5 days before her second birthday). Although, in my situation my little C stopped feeding from my right side around the same time and wondered if that’s why my period came back (not sure if it was a neck issue, ear problem, or just didn’t like that side… but I continued to nurse on my left side only for another year and half).

    2. Jennifer

      I have a friend who had her period return at about 7 months after her daughter was born. She still breastfeeds primarily but also pumps for when she is working so I don’t know if that can affect it. I also know my own mother got pregnant with me while still breastfeeding my sister… Others do exist!!

    3. Holly

      Mine came back like normal – after the first month. I breastfed exclusively and I still ended up with a period. I had a copper IUD inserted at my postnatal checkup. I breastfed for about 18 months and had my period the entire time. My son is now 11 and I am on my second non-hormonal IUD.

      My son was a surprise because I was on birth control at the time I got pregnant with him… Also, my mom got pregnant after breastfeeding me exclusively for 4 months (miscarage). So she impressed on me how important it was to use other forms of birth control beyond just breastfeeding.

  12. Amy

    Has anyone NOT noticed a difference after getting of BC? I was on a low hormonal pill for almost 8 years and just stopped a couple months ago… haven’t noticed a thing. I took it to prevent pregnancy and for my periods. I took my pill so where I would have only two a year which is the main reason I want to go back on. To be in control of periods cause they’re painful and annoying. I’m in a monogamous relationship that’s mostly abstinent until marriage (hehe!) so the protection is nice for occasional slip-ups.
    It’s weird thinking of synthetic hormones, but I’ve noticed absolutely no change since coming off low hormone BC.
    Anyone else with any similar experience?


    1. Post author
      robin

      I know there are lots of women who don’t notice a thing either going on or off the pill. If everyone had bad reactions I don’t think it would be as popular as it is. For me, personally, I’m glad I had the negative side effects as it helped me dig a little deeper as to what I was putting in my body. Even without any issues I wouldn’t feel good about using the pill anymore. But I think it’s a decision that each person needs to make. Unfortunately, most woman don’t have any information on what the pill actually does to their body before starting. I’m all about INFORMED decisions and then letting people choose what is best for them.

    2. Jennifer

      I was on BCP for almost 12 years and stopped it about 6 months before getting married to prepare for pregnancy. I had no noticeable changes when I stopped it. Over the years I changed brands and had a little trouble with bleeding in between periods but little else. I also used Nuvaring for about a year and stopped it after developing acne. I was 24!! It took years to clear up so I don’t think it was just the ring but that made it worse!

  13. Joli

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. So many woman don’t know/understand all the ins/outs of this topic…including me until too recently.

    Under the IUD section you say, ” and by changing the lining of the uterus so that it is less supportive for an embryo.” I don’t know if anyone else caught that, but I think this is HUGE. What this means is that the IUD does not always prevent fertilization, and a child is actually conceived.

    The same is true for BC pills: they don’t always prevent fertilization, they make the uterus inhospitable so that an embryo can’t implant.

    This makes these methods abortifacients.

    This information may not make a difference to some people, but it did to me when I found out (after years of being on BC).


    1. Post author
      robin

      Thank you for pointing this out, Joli. I did know this and it DOES make a huge difference to me (although I know it doesn’t to all). I should update to include this. Thank you!

      1. Joli

        Wow, Robin – I see where you updated your post…thanks for including that info! I wish everyone were fully informed about this…it makes me sick that I did use BC for years before I knew they could act as abortifacients.

  14. Lindsey August

    When I got engaged I had the non hormone IUD put in. I felt horrible about it and should have listened to my gut but I went ahead anyways because it seemed the most convinent. Aside from the ridiculous amount of pain it was to get it put in, My body rejected the thing almost immediately. I discovered it had fallen out 3 days before my wedding. We had heard condoms were uncomfortable and the pill wasn’t an option because you have to take it for at least a week to be effecitive, so I was fitted for a diaphragm.

    I would not list anything that you have to use spermicidal jellies with as “Natural” The stuff they make spermecidal jellies with isn’t anything close to natural. If we’re careful with the lotions and soaps we use and even the stuff we use on our clothes that goes on the outside of our body, why would we want to put that stuff inside our vagina?!?! Anyhow, most women don’t use this method I’m sure and for a good reason. Its messy, its slippery, and I felt it was uncomfortable. In order for it to be effective, you have to wear it for 12-24 hours after the last time you had intercourse. I would NEVER reccomend this method to anyone mostly because of the spermecide. Withoud the spermecide it wouldn’t be that bad, but I wouldn’t want spermecide anywhere near me agagin after that experiencce.

    After that disaster, I tried the pill. I had no adverse side effects for the first couple months. It cleared up my acne and lessened my PMS. But after several months on the pill, I started to be more moody. I didn’t like it and I kept feeling my body telling me I shouldn’t be on it. Eventually I listened. Now we use a combination of fertility awareness and condoms. I wish we would’ve tried this to begin with. Its worked great for us and we don’t mind the condoms at all. Hope this helps. Good luck to everyone!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Thanks for sharing your story, Lindsey! So glad you found what works for your guys… (sounds similar to what we do, too.) :)

  15. Eve

    Maybe there’s a reason trying to play God with birth control pills causes harm to your body. I respect you have your own view, but just wanted to let you know I am removing myself from your list because I strongly disagree. But it is your blog, good luck.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Sorry to see you go, Eve. But I’m not sure what your comment means. The whole point of the post is that I don’t like or use birth control pills. Nor do I think anyone here is trying to play God.

  16. Briana

    Such an interesting topic! And one I am completely stumped by right now! Well not RIGHT now because I’m pregnant. :) But I don’t know what to do for the future. I went on the pill just before getting married and did not like the first type I went on (weight gain and acne). Switched to a couple of others and finally went to NuvaRing which I really liked (felt minimal to no side effects). Then went off, had baby #1 and then went on the “nursing” pill until weaning and then went to a new pill that insurance would cover. I was on that with no problems for quite a while until baby #2. Then went back to the exact same pill after nursing. But something in my body had changed and it was HORRIBLE. I stayed on it for quite a while and was about at the end of my sanity by the time I got off it. Along with headaches and some other random side effects, I was an emotional basket case. I just did not feel like myself. And I knew it was the pill. So, I did a little research, talked to my doctor, and switched to a low dose pill. Night and day difference. And now I’m pregnant again. But I’ve always had this little nagging voice in my head about the pill. I seriously contemplated going off it for good when I was having so many problems before I switched. I love the freedom and “non-issue” it is as far as a birth control method. And it does make my periods like clockwork, super light, and minimal cramping where I used to be very heavy and long and painful before. BUT, I’ve been feeling for a while now that I don’t like putting all the crap into my body. And you bring up a good point – if I’m being so careful about the food that goes in, why would I take all the synthetic hormones with crazy side effects. But in all the reading I’ve done about non-hormonal methods, I just haven’t found what sounds like a great fit. For my husband’s and my personalities, desires, etc. And I absolutely DETEST condoms. I can’t stand the freaking things. I’ve tried several different types at different points in our marriage and I hate, hate, hate them. That is part of the reason our #2 baby came when she did. I got tired of using condoms. :) Anyways… argh! I don’t know what to do. But I’ve never tried using condoms on a more limited basis only when truly needed when tracking my fertility. If I knew it didn’t have to be an “every time” issue, maybe I could put up with them more. I think it might be that or an IUD that I’m leaning towards. But I’ll have to do some more reading. Thanks for the info! Such a tricky subject!


    1. Post author
      robin

      It is tricky. And we really are so different in what works for us and our situation. Good luck figuring it out! :)

  17. ktr

    I have been using the Marquette model of NFP for about 9 months now and have found it very easy to use and effective (thus far!). We used condoms but neither of us liked them. I tried hormone monitoring but I have an irregular cycle and my work schedule is varied and having a regular sleep schedule is important in order to properly monitor your hormones via temperature.

  18. Jessica Carney

    LOVE this!!! I haven’t been on the pill for over three years and have implemented some of the above forms of birth-control. I have ALWAYS had problems with the pill I tried so many different types of the pill and finally just felt very strongly that it was not right for my body and no other type of medical birth control would be welcome in my body. Life is SO much better since making the change and so far I have not had any surprises that were not planned…

  19. Monica

    Thank you for writing this article! I think it is so important for women to know way, way more about their options for BC. I’m 23 and I was on the pill for over 5 years and I finally had to get off it for a variety of reasons including the awful side effects – and I would never go back! I’ve started practicing FAM and I just love being able to finally better understand what my body is doing, and all these natural processes that I’d been suppressing! I’ve also learned that it can take a very long time for the effects of HBC to get out of the system, and it is still messing with my cycles three months later.

    Anyhow, I’ve also got a cervical cap (haven’t actually tried it yet), and I have a natural spermicide that I ordered with it because I was extremely wary of using chemicals in regular spermicide. Have you heard of ContraGel? I also haven’t actually used it yet, but it’s made in Germany and uses lactic acid as one of it’s main ingredients, and is supposed to be very effective. I just wanted to mention it for those who might be looking for a natural alternative to chemical spermicides! I’ve also read that some people choose to make their own with aloe and lemon juice, but I’m not sure I’d feel confident with that myself.

  20. Kelsey

    I was on hormonal birth control (nuvaring) for 2 years, and while I was on it I never really noticed any problems. However after I switched to a copper IUD it was amazing how much better I felt! I had more energy, was hungry less, was less emotional, and just felt all around better. I’ve had the copper IUD for 3 years now and love it. I previous had experienced bad cramps, so was a little worried about it, but my cramps have pretty much disappeared! So who knows what will work for you!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Awesome. And a great reminder that we are all different and different things work better for some than others. :)

  21. Leigh Barnard

    For those taking bcp’s to help ease pain, I had the typical cramps/mood swings each month until I started seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis – with both the adjustments and the supplements, Bam! No more cramps, no more mood swings, periods were never heavy, it was great! I say “was” only because I haven’t had a period for like 18 months now (pregnancy/breast feeding) and I’ve stopped taking the supplements because they’re hard to find since you can only get them through a chiropractor and very few carry them :/ Otherwise, I hate the idea of taking synthetic hormones, so my hubby and I only use condoms and an all-natural water-based lube – neither of us are bothered by them and we’ve never had one fail :)


    1. Post author
      robin

      Thanks, Leigh! I totally agree that a (GOOD) chiropractor can do wonders. I’m so excited because my favorite chiro just moved back to the state. He’s been gone for several months and I can tell a difference.

    2. Lizzie

      I was on the pill for nearly a decade for crippling menstrual pain. I was so nervous to quit when we were ready to start trying for our first child. Luckily, at the same time, we finally found a chiropractor whose philosophy aligned with ours. He discovered that two of my vertebrae, which directly correlated to female reproductive organs, were completely out of whack. With regular, focused adjustments and a low-impact exercise regimen, those two vertebrae were retrained into proper alignment within a couple months and my periods have been very manageable ever since. I don’t even need ibuprofin to take the edge off anymore! It’s amazing how interconnected all the parts of our bodies are.

  22. Kas

    Hi Robin! Thanks for the info! I am getting married in about 6 months (practicing abstinence up until then) and have a couple questions. Thankfully I have 3 sisters who all convinced me to never EVER go on the pill after each one of them had different, yet horrible experiences. I am reading “taking charge of your fertility” and taking my temp every morning (yay)! But in your post you mentioned the “pre-marriage” exam. I am wondering if, even tho I’m not going on birth control, you still recommend this exam to someone before they get married?
    My second question is if you can recommend an all-natural, water-based lubricant / which type of condoms might be most natural? I do not have latex allergies, but I do have VERY sensitive skin and can only use organic, essential oil-based products on my body. I realize it might be TMI for you to talk about these things, but if you’d be willing to, I’d really appreciate the suggestions!
    p.s. I LOVE your blog! keep up the great work!!!!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hey Kas,

      Congrats on the upcoming wedding! The “pre-marriage” exam, as my then OB called it, was basically a pap smear and a prescription for the pill. Whether or not your think that’s something important for you to do… is up to you. Not sure I’d worry about it again.

      Coconut oil is a great lubricant that’s obviously all natural. Otherwise, just see what options are available at your store and read the ingredients. As far as condoms…. not sure I’ve really looked that much into it to find the most natural. There are some that are very thin (I think some are called “bare skin”) which would be a good choice if you are sensitive.

      Hope that helps!

  23. Denise

    I’m so glad I found this! I’ve had thr mirena IUD for almost 2 years. I thought about the coppe iud but was put off by the side effect. I also have a metal allergy which also kept me from wanting it. I can see where birthccontrol is useful and beneficial but Im slowly realizing I have no need for it. Sine having the mirena Ive been more prone to infections and headaches. Also at this point in my life I’d be okay with getting pregnant if natural methods did not work out.

  24. Audrey

    I like this article so very much. Something in me always knew birth control was risky, no matter the advertisements/dr suggestions. I’m glad I have never been taken it. I do have a question though…although we are excited to be expecting now, but for the future…we enjoy coconut oil as a lubricant. I see that oils and condoms are not the best. We have never had a problem, but should we use aloe vera or something else all natural? Thank you Robin,for all you do!

  25. Jen

    Interesting read. I have been on the birth control, Jolivette, for almost a year now solely for the purpose of slowly down my extreme case of endometriosis. I gained 20 pounds like it was my job, lost my libido, got cranky and feel foggy all the time. I have continued to take it just to keep the endometriosis at bay and not have to have a hysterectomy.
    Any suggestions along those lines? SOmething to slow down the estrogen so the endometriosis doesnt grow
    THanks :)


    1. Post author
      robin

      Oh Jen, I’m sorry about the enometriosis. Sounds like a lot of women struggling with this. I’ll have to do some research and see if I can find anything that might solve both issues.

  26. Débora Lemos Dal Corso

    Tomo Yaz’s been 3 years. However, I have to take it because I have endometriosis. I’ve done two videolaparoscopies and one withdrew some fibroids diminished with injections of Zoladex.
    Any suggestions for my case?


    1. Post author
      robin

      I’ve had a lot of people ask about endometriosis. I feel a future post might be best to address this… but first some research!

  27. Brittany

    This is the only medication I take and I eat/live very healthy. Not being pregnant is way more important than being 100% organic/natural. Your options are not really alternatives. In fact, I would consider them “along with” the pill. Not instead of it. Some of them have very low effectiveness rates (withdrawal aka hope for the best).

    Would I rather take synthetic slightly creepy pills or would I rather make a life-changing decision and end up with a screaming child? I am not ready for children and do not trust condoms alone. I also would not use “natural family planning” unless I was 100% okay with the possibility of probably ending up unintentionally pregnant. People who practice the “natural family planning” method tend to have large families…wonder why…

    Side effects like strokes and blood clots pretty much only affect older women who also smoke. So don’t smoke if you use the pill. And if you experience moodiness/etc on one brand, try another. Just like any medication, it can take some trial and error to get the right combo for your body.

    And by the way, the pill does not cause abortion. The only pill that causes abortion is RU-486, which is not the birth control pill and is not the morning after pill.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Obviously everyone needs to do what is best for them and their priorities. But I do think it’s important to educate women on the real risks and side effects of the pill so that they can make an educated decision. I don’t just anyone who uses the pill… especially since most of my loved friends and family do. But I do know that it did NOT “click” with my body and I’m glad I have other options. We’ve been careful and fortunate to conceive when we want to, and hold off until then. I’m almost 32 and expecting #2… so no big family here despite not using the pill. :)

  28. Laura

    It is amazing how few women know how to naturally space children while respecting their body’s natural cycles. We have used a lady comp, and were very happy with it – until I dropped it and broke it. We use now use natural family planning as taught by the Couple to Couple League. http://ccli.org/ I also use the iPeriod app. It is certainly possible to have a wonderful family and a great love life with out artificial contraception.

  29. Tiffany

    i’m on the pill. i’ve thought of dropping it as it’s a bother to see the doctor every so often just for a prescription… i detest condoms…even bare isn’t bare enough.
    but NFP & charting methods aren’t going to work for us. i don’t have that kind of self control to only have sex at night because sex in the morning will make it harder to figure out my mucous/discharge/dry.. i was confused to as why the nfp page said not to use a barrier method for those 9-odd days while fertile (i would have thought it would be a no-brainer).. 9 days + the days of bleeding = alot of days without sex!!!!!! i suppose the pill has not had any affect on my libido, being on/off it for 10years with 3 kids. :)

  30. Jo-Anne

    I was on the pill 12 years without any problems (that I knew were from this anyway). I stopped taking it when I got married, I was just sick of taking it! I attempted to go back onto it last year, since we’re had all the kids we need. I got so incredibly sick, only tried for about a month. I really felt my body was telling me that it just wasn’t good, so I listened.

    Do you have any thoughts on PMS? I’ve had terrible PMS for at least 6 months probably a lot longer. I’m normally at a barely hanging in there level then that week hits & it’s too much to cope with!

  31. Laney

    With all due respect, this is not a very well researched article and much of the information is fabricated.
    I don’t know that you can flatly demonize the pill like that. Do you know that it cuts down on a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer by 70%? The side effects of the pill are similar to those caused by pregnancy because the pill basically mimics pregnancy– a natural state for pre-menopausal women to be in most of the time.

    I was on the pill for only a year in my early 20′s but stopped taking it because I am very cautious about only putting natural substances in my body. But after watching my mother die from ovarian cancer, I realized that I should have been taking it all along. I’m now trying to stay in an anovulatory state by constantly being pregnant or breastfeeding to cut my risk of ovarian cancer.

    Of course, the pill slightly increases risk for breast cancer. So it’s a double edge sword.

    The most “natural” state for a woman is to be pregnant or breastfeeding constantly, however, this too takes a toll on a woman’s body and in modern society is impossible. I didn’t even have my first baby until I was 37 years old as my medical career has taken precedence in my life.

    Sure there are side effects from the BCP, but there are also many benefits and it’s been one of the best advances in public health in the last 100 years. It’s not purely birth control. As many women have commented, it’s a way to manage endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, polycystic ovarian syndrome, reduce cancer risk and to regulate the menstrual cycle.

    As for the risk of stroke and blood clots, yes, that’s correct, there is a very low risk for blood clots and stroke, however, it should be noted that those who are at risk (those with thrombophilias) are also at risk (even higher) while pregnant. If a woman knows that there are blood clots and strokes in her family, she can be (and should be) tested for thrombophilias before being prescribed BCP.


    1. Post author
      robin

      We’ll just have to agree to disagree. Anything that “mimics” something natural using synthetic versions is not ideal to me. I’m not suggesting that everything about the pill is horrible… but I do think it’s important to know the real side effects. Not sure why you think this isn’t very well researched. Can you provide any better research that goes against anything I’ve written. For the most part all you have to do is read the information that comes with the pill itself to see what I’m talking about. Just want to give other options for women, like me, who had a really hard time with the pill.

  32. Ali

    Laney, from what I have read, while doing my own research on this topic, is that the risk for cancer is (breast, uterine and vaginal) while taking the pill.

    Also, you said this:
    The most “natural” state for a woman is to be pregnant or breastfeeding constantly. Really? Where did you get that information??

    I disagree with others have said too, like Brittany, but then again, I would have to go along with what robin (the person who started this whole post wrote), as she did provide sources for her information.

  33. Melissa

    I am slightly concerned about a couple of comments that lead me to believe they are not going to the gyno for regular visits. You need to see your gynocologist once a year ladies, it is a very important visit to check up on your health.

    And there is nothing wrong with condoms. I know we all want to believe our partners are 100% faithful, but you should probably consider using condoms to protect yourself just in case.

    This isn’t just about pregnancy, it is about disease. HPV is a huge problem in America. And HIV is on the rise in heterosexual women.

    The post was great and does give one a lot to consider. I have been wondering lately if the pill is still right for me. And I hate to admit one of the motivating factors for not going off is that I hate getting my period and I am on one of those pills where you only get it 3 times a year! So while I recognize I could probably see some overall improvements if I stopped, I’d have to deal with that monthly visit that I haven’t had in years. It’s lame, but not easy.

  34. Anna

    We have used fertility awareness (NFP) and continuous breastfeeding. We were very happy with it — I was aware of my body, and my husband was in sync too. Since my period returned when my youngest was 17 month old, (and we started to be careful at 12+ months), we have been using condoms. Not ideal, but we see it as a short-term solution until I my sleep schedule is regular. Then we want to go back to NFP … or maybe, by then, have another. Good to know too that if your basal temp is low — have your thyroid checked! It is a good way to monitor your overall health.

  35. Andrea

    I use the Ortho All Flex diaphragm (latex free!). I have a natural gel I order from Europe called ContraGel. It has a PH that is doesnt make sperm happy. It works great for me and I have no irritation! I highly recommend it. We dont feel any discomfort with the diaphragm. I however was sized incorrectly at first and that was uncomfortable. But once I had the right size, it really has been the best method so far!

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  37. Taylor

    Stroke risks are NOT just for old ladies. I was on BC pills from age 18 till 25 amd had no adverse reactions. No weight gain, no mood swings, etc… I actually loved BC pills. Well, after almost 8 years of blissful ignorance I went to a new doc and after reviewing my medical history the doctor informed me that my stroke risk was 8 times greater as long as I continue taking BC pills (I was on a combo pill). The stroke risk is due to the fact that I have occuar migraines. I couldn’t believe that over the years all the gynecologists, nurse practitioners, etc that had blindly perscribed be BC pills had missed this very important risk factor
    ! I was told that after being “hormone free” for about 6 months i Could’ve try the POP (progesterone only pill) but by then I had read up on what exactly the pill actually does and researched the side effects so my convictions were already set. Once you know what horrible birth defects could be caused in the slim chance you concieve while on the pill… well let’s just say I just couldn’t do it anymore.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yikes! Scary. And yes, stroke is a risk everyone needs to consider. My poor brother suffered one at age 20. Scary.

  38. sasa

    I’ve been taking pills for 10 years with breaks, and I’m 30 years old. My only reason for taking pills is PCOS. Every time I stop taking pills one of these cysts get bigger and cause awful pain. I tried with taking kumari asava, soya products and Achillea millefolium tea with no results.
    I would be thankful if you could recommend anything helpful. I’m desperate


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I would check out naturallyknockedup.com as I know she had PCOS and was able to overcome it through diet. I wish I had better advice, but I don’t have a lot of expertise in the area. Good luck. I’m sure it’s super frustrating.

  39. cherise

    Awww, I was hoping that this post was about acne and regulating your menstrual cycle too. I believe this is much of the reason the pill is prescribed in the first place. :)


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      It’s true! That’s why I first went on birth control when I was in high school. It helped a bit, but the other side effects were not worth it. I much rather clean up my diet and heal my hormones naturally to get rid of the acne. :)

  40. Kristen

    I have never liked taking medicine if I can help it but like you when I went in for my “pre marriage” doctor appointment they gave me the pill to try out. The first one they gave me made me bleed for 3 weeks straight. It wasn’t a little bit of spotting it was horrible.. So they gave me another to try, a little more worried I asked lots of questions and was told many times that it was safe and healthy. I started getting horrible head aches day and night. I was at the point were I couldn’t drive or work because of the pain. I called my Dr. and she told me to stop taking it immediately because the pill she gave me has been know to cause blood clots…. I stopped and the head aches went away. The pill that was giving me head aches was Yaz, which has now been on recall! I will never take the pill again!


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yikes! Scary. I’m always amazed at how “safe and healthy” is based on such limited information and then often flipped around later when we know better. Glad you got off it.

  41. Celine

    Can I just say thank you so much for addressing this topic. It always puzzles me that we try so hard to avoid toxins in our food and cosmetics, but forget about this! Definitely something to think about seriously.

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  43. Stephanie

    So I know this post is a little older but I have just recently started doing research on how to better my health and my husbands. We both have low energy and feel crappy a lot. I know part of it is our diet so I’ve been trying to change that. I found this post really interesting though because I’ve been on BC for about 2 years now and where my husband and I don’t want kids right now (want to enjoy being newlyweds), I think part of the reason I’ve been so depressed lately is the pill. I just don’t quiet feel like myself. So the question is, if I go off BC how do I do it? Is it safe to just stop taking it? I’m almost done with my pack so I’m curious if I can just stop? I had taking the damn thing every day at the same time, it would be nice not to have to worry about taking it and going to a different city to get it! Thanks for the post and help!


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I would finish whatever pack you are on (although you can just skip the placebo pills if you like) and then don’t start a new one once your cycle begins.

  44. Hannah

    I’m a bit late to this post but found it after searching for natural birth control methods. My husband and I actually really want children. However, I had 4 miscarriages in one year and we have decided to pursue adoption.

    I am currently using a diaphragm but it’s annoying and I don’t like the spermicide. I may try NFP again in the future (used it to get pregnant) but right now it’s too much of pain and very emotionally draining for us.

    I have also considered the non-hormonal IUD but being pro-life I am conflicted.

    Also, I am bothered by the comments stating that people should not use birth control and just let God decide. We do not want to repeat the cycle of pregnancy/loss while in the adoption process (in fact, our agency makes you place your adoption on hold if you get pregnant). I don’t believe I am defying God by preventing a pregnancy here.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Thanks, Hannah. I personally agree with you that preventing isn’t defying God, but I know that not everyone feels the same way and that’s okay. I’m so sorry for your recent losses… I’m sure it’s been very hard. I’m sending virtual hugs your way and am excited that you guys are on the road to adoption. How wonderful! Best wishes and prayers that the right child will be placed in your home. He or she will be very lucky.

      1. Hannah

        Thanks Robin! We have decided after all to use fertility awareness (natural family planning). At first we were feeling overwhelmed with it but as we came to more of a peace with our situation I think we are okay with it. I like knowing what my body is up to anyway, even if I am not trying to get pregnant. I talked to my Dr. about the non-hormonal IUD but I was not comfortable with the risks.

        I’ll admit to feeling a little defensive lately, and I tend to bristle a little when people disagree with our decisions. Hopefully my comment didn’t come off as too bitter.

        Love this blog!

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  46. Alicia

    I’m posting for the girl considering something a little less prescribed. Because the pill made me crazy–crazy enough that my poor husband was going crazy–I finally gave up.

    After several months using only condoms, I started to research birth control methods again. I found a blog about Natural Family Planning. That lead me to the Fertility Awareness Method. Within two months I was a pro…and here’s what I really wanted to say:

    Fertility Awareness is really easy! I spend maybe a minute a day charting my temps and cervical fluid. I love understanding my body better; besides my body telling me when I’m fertile and when my period is going to start, it sends me hints about if I’m getting sick…seriously. There are many reasons why FAM may not be for you, but ease should not be one of them.
    So, young lady*, even if your mother thinks you’re crazy, here is one girl that will support you if this is what you want to try.

    *Just don’t go with FAM if you’re not in a committed relationship and/or don’t know how to use a barrier method. One thing I read in Taking Charge of Your Fertility (FAM bible) is that FAM has a lower pregnancy prevention rate because there are only two ways for it to fail: having unprotected sex while in your fertile window, or having sex with an ineffective barrier method during your fertile window. Either way, if you slip up even once, that means thousands of sperm trying to make you a baby.

  47. Amanda Jordan

    Thank you for mentioning the fertilzation part about the IUD. Like you said i dont think a lot of women realize and it was one of the reasons i took mine out morally i just couldn’t deal with it..I wanted a non hormone form of birth control but nothing worked for me both hormone and hormone free (3 children all girls :-) from 3 different BC forms)..i had my tubes tied after the birth of my youngest..may not be very natural but at least no hormones

  48. Lizzie

    I discovered a wonderful natural method to detect ovulation when I was at the end of my rope with trying to conceive (almost one and a half years), that I think would also be a wonderful natural birth control method. It is a saliva test! The one I have is called Maybe Mom. Just put a dab of your first morning saliva on the lens, let it dry, then look through the microscope. When you are not fertile, it just dries to random dots and looks kind of gross. When you are ovulating, it dries into a beautiful foliage pattern. Within a couple months I could discern slight foliage patterns emerging in the days leading up to ovulation and after, but only on the day I ovulated did the whole lens explode in foliage. The third month with this test we finally conceived. :) Anyway, it’s super easy, super inexpensive, and fool proof. I could definitely be used to prevent pregnancy as well as make it happen.

  49. Brittany Thomas

    Like you, I’ve switched from birth control pills (contributed or caused my PPD) and switched to NFP. I just wanted to mention a few things…first off.. Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is different from Natural Family Planning (NFP) in that with FAM you do not avoid sex during fertile times but instead just use a barrier method (such as condoms) whereas NFP you abstain during fertile times completely. Secondly, I’ve never heard of a method that makes you abstain for 7 days prior and then 3 days after ovulation. All the methods I known you only need to abstain 3-4 days after ovulation. Prior to ovulation, it’s suggested to have sex as often as every other day but that’s so you don’t confuse seaman with EWCM. :) I just don’t want anyone thinking that you have to give up so many days in order to use NFP/FAM.

  50. Lindsay Greene

    Thank you for posting this hubby and I want a more natural birth control and neither of us want to have the “snip n clip” and having used the IUD before and the terrible things it put me through tracking and condoms are our best option for us.

  51. Jill

    Hey there! I really enjoyed your article. I was on a progesterone pill that made me feel psychotic! I constantly as moody, ANGRY and NOT myself. I have come off of it however my concern is not the prevention of pregnancy but the inability to ovulate. Being on the pill regulates me so that as soon as I come off my body will be “tricked” into ovulating, since I have PCOS. Any thoughts on natural period regulation and preventing horrible cysts from forming on the ovaries?

  52. whisper

    I am, if anything,too fertile. I know this might sound like a good thing, but it has caused me a share of trouble. My body rejects all kinds of pills. Adapts to the hormones. And, after expelling an IUD, I was warned not to try again, or my uterus could be perforated. Be careful of this contraceptive. And, getting pregnant too soon after stopping the pill aided in a tubal.

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