What you need to know about your birth control!

Are you on birth control?  If so, my guess is you’ve been on it for quite some time.  You’ve probably had a couple years off and on with family planning but chances are it’s been a staple in your life.  So much a staple, that it’s the only pill that everyone knows as “THE PILL.” According to TIME Magazine,  “It was the first medicine ever designed to be taken regularly by people who were not sick.”

Birth control has been around since ancient times.  Even before the invention of the pill, back in caveman days, both men and woman would use different herbs, barriers and timing to prevent conception.   Around 1950 the FDA approved the birth control pill causing major controversy.  Would this cause a sexual revolution, more adultery, or change the way a family worked.  Or would it provide women with some freedom, choice, and relieve the burden of unwanted children.   No doubt there are many benefits to contraception but there are many downfalls to using birth control pills.  So many that women are now asking themselves, is the convenience worth the risk?
Birth control is made up of synthetic hormones estrogen and progesterone.  They work by simulating your body’s natural hormones and basically tricking your body into either not releasing an egg, or producing conditions in your cervix and uterus where an egg cannot be fertilized.  This is all great BUT, your body’s hormonal system is extremely complex and delicate and the effects of altering this natural system can majorly  impact all processes in the body.

 

If you’ve ever opened up the little pocket size notebook that comes with your birth control pack, you will notice the warnings section is as long and as hard to read as the constitution.  The list of potential side effects is daunting.  It includes things such as fatal blot clots, stroke, heart attack, migraines, irregular bleeding and the list goes on.  I know what you are thinking though…yeah yeah, every drug has a list like that and the odds of any of that really happening are slim.  Well hold on.

I’m sure you’ve heard at some point about adverse effects of taking hormones, specifically estrogen.  The facts don’t lie about this and they are not in our favor.  Dr. Mercola states, “There’s no question that nearly all medicinal estrogen is unhealthy and can cause more problems than it prevents.  Studies have found that hormone replacement therapy increases your breast cancer risk by at least one percent per year, and hormone replacement therapy with progestin increases your risk by eight percent per year, potentially going as high as 30 percent after just four years of use.”

If that’s not enough, here’s another list courtesy of Dr. Mercola of things to look forward to:

  • Cancer: Women who take birth control pills increase their risk of cervical and breast cancers, and possibly liver cancer as well.
  • Fatal blood clots: All birth control pills increase your risk of blood clots and subsequent stroke. And if your prescription contains the synthetic hormone desogestrel, your risk of fatal blood clots nearly doubles!
  • Thinner bones: Women who take birth control pills have lower bone mineral density (BMD) than women who have never used oral contraceptives.
  • Heart disease: Long-term use of birth control pills may increase plaque artery buildups in your body that may raise your risk of heart disease.
  • Long-term sexual dysfunction: The Pill may interfere with a protein that keeps testosterone unavailable, leading to long-term sexual dysfunction including decreased desire and arousal.
  • Weight gain and mood changes

I know, not pretty.  And, you know just as well as I do that now a days it isn’t uncommon for women to be on birth control for 10-15 years.  We start around 18, maybe we get off for a while 10 years later, then go back on.  15 years of these hormones..maybe more!!

While I’m not a fan of these birth control pills, I’m also not crazy and definitely don’t want to be the next Mrs. Dugger.  So here’s what I’m suggesting.  Consider some of the more natural ways to prevent pregnancy that wont compromise your health.

  • Condoms – yes it’s a love/hate relationship, but they work and I don’t think anyone ever got cancer from using them.
  • Diaphragm – I know this sounds like something your mom would have used back in the day but it’s still available ladies, and effective!  You have to get it fitted by your doctor but when used correctly they are 92 to 98 percent effective.
  • Female Condoms, Cervical cap, Cervical sponges – I only list these because they are available, but I’m a realist and know these are probably a long shot.  I have heard of these things but never met one women who has used them.  If you have, please comment below would love to know what you think.
  • Natural Family Planning – I’m actually a big fan of this one.  When done correctly this can be 95% effective.  This includes things like:
    • The Calendar Method – This means tracking your menstral cycle and abstaining from sex when you are fertile.  This works best for women who have a regular cycle.
    • Taking you Temperature – This entails taking your temperature every morning with an accurate “Basal Thermometer” to see when your temperature is up.  When it’s up you know you are ovulating and can avoid sex a couple days before and after.
    • Birth Control Beads – This is new one I just read about and I think is pretty cool.  It involves using a string of color-coded beads to identify your fertile days.  One study done over three years showed only a 5% failure rate.  Not bad…read more here.
  • The old SNIP – a favorite of many women.  Of course, most practical for those who are finished with having children and whose partners will cooperate.  But don’t we love this ladies! Send your man to the doctor and make him be the birth control.

There are options ladies.  Do your research and really weigh the risk of that pill you are taking.  The research against it is mounting and only becoming more alarming.    If the ancient Egyptians could find a way, we can too.  It’s time to start really considering the impact of this convenience called “THE PILL.”

 

What kind of family planning do you use?  Leave us a comment below.

 

 

 

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