PRO’S AND CON’S OF DIFFERENT BIRTH CONTROL
I have openly shared on social media about my terrible experience with my menstrual cycle, which, brought me to my biggest regret in life = use of hormonal birth control for 13 years.
Even though I fully regret that decision there was a time and place where hormonal birth control may have been my best option…. and truthfully it has brought me to the work I do today so in the end I can’t say it was all bad (but I would still 100% go off of it earlier if I could turn back time!)
While I share about the negative side of hormonal birth control, I also fully recognize the need for birth control. This is especially the case with current issues surrounding women’s health and lack of access to safe medical procedures a woman may NEED. I won’t get into that topic today. But, what I will share about are some different types of birth control with their pro’s and cons.
Before we dive into it know that this is a simple overview. There is much more that can be talked about for the three methods I’ll be talking about today so be sure to do your own research and talk with your health care provider.
Hormonal Birth Control: Hormonal birth control utilizes synthetic hormone to shut down function of natural hormones in the body, altering the communication between the brain and the ovaries, and leaving woman without a period. No, that period you have on the pill is a withdraw bleed. The placebo pills at the end of the pack were actually put in there after women became concerned that they weren’t bleeding so the creators of the Pill put that in there to ease their minds that they were not pregnant. But, it is not a period. Like any medication these forms of birth control can decrease essential nutrients. For hormonal birth control that looks like: magnesium, zinc, CoQ10, selenium, B2, B12, and Vitamin E. All essential nutrients for metabolism, immune system function, and reproductive health. HBC can also decrease bone density, so for young women who are in their prime years of bone building it should be taken with caution. Lastly hormonal birth control is known for it’s ability to alter the brain leading to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and it can even impact who you become attracted to.
Who may benefit: someone looking for a short term solution to avoid pregnancy for a couple of years. (Due to hormonal birth control masking underlying issues and altering natural hormone production I would recommend avoiding for long term use if you are looking to eventually get pregnant. It does come with a black box label signifying that there are serious risks to taking the Pill. Talk with your health care provider to see what’s best and read books like Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brigthen to gain more information)
The IUD: You can get an IUD in hormonal or non hormonal forms. With both there is an insertion process that happens that is known to be highly painful (there are tons of Tik Tok’s about this!) Another concern about the IUD is the fact that it can move. Although it’s been reported that this is “rare” I have heard plenty of stories from women who know someone who has encountered this issue. This is a big problem because it can attach to the uterine wall and lead to damage. Movement of the device can also lead to unexpected pregnancy. With non hormonal IUD there is an increased risk of periods becoming more painful and heavy. So this would not be a good option for anyone who already has that issue. The non hormonal IUD uses copper so this should not be used by anyone with allergies to metals. Be mindful of copper toxicity which can decrease zinc.
Who may benefit from this: someone who isn’t as good at remembering to take a Pill, isn’t planning on getting pregnant for a long time, and someone who trusts their doctor.
Fertility Awareness: This is a non hormonal birth control that requires you to have regular cycles and an understanding of where you are in your cycle. You track your cycle and your temperature to assess when you are ovulating. During ovulation you either make sure to avoid sex or use protection like a condom to avoid pregnancy.
Keep in mind: the body creates an environment where sperm can stay alive up to 5 days after ovulation so be careful during this window if avoiding pregnancy.
Who may benefit: those looking for a deeper connection to their body without using anything that is altering their inner hormone balance. It does take effort on your part and caution when avoiding pregnancy. However, if you are looking to get pregnant this is also a fantastic option to assess if you are ovulating and if you are having regular cycles.
Other options: condoms (that come in both male and female. These are always a great idea to avoid STD’s), spermicide, and if you are with a committed partner there is an option of a vasectomy that can be reversible.
Either way find the one that best suits YOU and your needs! There is no one size fits all for birth control methods so do your research, talk with your health care provider, and see what feels best for you!
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