Natural Alternatives To Birth Control Pills
So whats a girl to do? After all, we grew up accustomed to the pill being The Solution to our sexual freedom and family planning.
To good news is: Hormone-free birth control methods do exist. They use these to determine their fertile windows during their menstrual cycle and then use condoms for contraception during those days.
If you want to learn more about this, it is well worth reading a book like Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
Once you are familiar with the menstrual cycle and signs of fertility, you can consider different methods of fertility tracking, which include:
How To Support Your Microbiome
Sometimes, you cant control whether or not you need to use hormonal birth control. But you can make sure that youre doing everything you can to boost the health of your gut bugs during that time.
Eating a real-food diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein sources, and healthy fats is one way to keep your microbiome thriving.
The undigestible fibers in many fruits and vegetables actually serve as food for our gut bacteria. These prebiotic fibers help to increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Keeping high levels of good gut bugs helps to reduce your chances of bacterial overgrowths or imbalances that are often common with hormonal birth control.
Using a high quality probiotic is also another great way to boost the health of your microbiome. Probiotics can be especially helpful to counteract the potential negative effects of hormonal birth control on the microbiome.
So, just because youre using hormonal birth control, or have in the past, doesnt mean that youre doomed to have poor microbiome health. Focusing on eating gut health-promoting and using a probiotic can do wonders to help support healthy gut bugs.
What Should I Do If I Forget A Dose
If you miss doses of your oral contraceptive, you may not be protected from pregnancy. You may need to use a backup method of birth control for 7 to 9 days or until the end of the cycle. Every brand of oral contraceptives comes with specific directions to follow if you miss one or more doses. Carefully read the directions in the manufacturer’s information for the patient that came with your oral contraceptive. If you have any questions, call your doctor or pharmacist. Continue to take your tablets as scheduled and use a backup method of birth control until your questions are answered.
Recommended Reading: Nugenix Estro Regulator Review
Its Actually Used For Doping In Men Sometimes Belinda Pletzer
Its actually used for doping in men sometimes, says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so its popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015
The hormone used by the pill is a close relative of an androgen that male boxers have used for doping
Weve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.
Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.
The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.
Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.
But there are some side effects.
More recent types of contraceptive pill are designed to be anti-androgenic, often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth
Even small amounts of testosterone can make some parts of the female brain get smaller and others to get bigger
Clear Up Skin And Prevent Unwanted Hair Growth
Birth control pills can improve acne and hair growth in the midline of your body by reducing the levels of male hormones your ovaries make. If you have higher than normal levels of these hormones, or if youâre sensitive to them, you may start to grow hair above your lip, under your chin, between your breasts, between your belly button and pubic bone, or down your inner thigh. You should see less unwanted hair within 6 months.
The hormones in birth control pills can also help stop acne from forming, but it may take several months to see a difference.
Can Birth Control Pills Cause Severe Mood Swings
In addition to bloating, breast tenderness, and weight gain, there are other potential side effects. Furthermore, some women may experience depression or mood swings, side effects that may influence their decision to take an oral contraceptive , particularly if they have depression in the past.
Progestins In Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Estrogen is sometimes prescribed for people experiencing symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness . Estrogen causes the endometrium to grow so that it builds a thick layer . Too much estrogen can cause an overgrowth of the endometrium, which is a risk factor for endometrial cancer .
Progestins are sometimes used as part of menopausal hormone therapy because they prevent the endometrium from building up too much and becoming cancerous .
You May Like: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Testosterone Treatment
What Your Symptoms Were Like Before Going On Birth Control
Your purpose of going on birth control is important because it is different for everyone and can determine how long for your hormones to balance after stopping birth control. Some women go on birth control for hormone management to help with painful periods, some for regulating their cycle, some for contraception, but others may go on birth control to regulate their hormonal acne or other non-contraceptive reasons. When birth control use stops, these symptoms from prior can return and may become worse for a certain amount of time before hormones regulate again.
Looking For Hormone Balance The Pill Is Not The Answer
When asked to give women one single piece of hormonal advice, I say: do not take the Pill.
Why? Because hormonal birth control profoundly disrupts hormone balance. It causes weight gain, depression, bladder infections, and abnormal PAP tests. The Pill suppresses the bodys own hormones and kills libido. To state it plainly, the Pill is chemical castration.
And yet the idea that the Pill can be used to balance hormones is entrenched with many patients and doctors. The Pills hormone-like drugs are not the same as the bodys own hormones.
The synthetic chemicals in the Pill are molecularly similar to human hormones, but they are not identical. To an exquisitely fine-tuned hormone receptor, similar is not good enough. Even the tiniest discrepancy in hormone structure can make a big difference in the bodys response.
Think of it this way. The right hormone is like the right key for a lock. In order to get a smooth response, the fit needs to be exact. With enough force, the wrong key can be jammed into a lock, and it may even elicit a distorted response. Such a response is like the hormonal effect of the Pill. It may be enough to rattle the lock, or even break the lock, but it does not do what the proper key for the lock could do. Thats the difference between the bodys own proper hormones and the pseudo-drug-hormones in the Pill.
Don’t Miss: How Much Is Estradiol
Skin And Hair Changes
Acne. A sudden increase in acne is one easy way to identify a possible hormonal imbalance. One of the few hormones involved is androgens. Androgens, typically referred to as male hormones, but found in both males and females, regulate your skins sebum production. If your body produces androgens in excess, sebum can build up in your pores and cause a pimple to surface.
Hair loss. The quality and vitality of your hair is also directly related to your hormones. Thyroid abnormalities, for example, may cause dry hair or skin, thinning hair, or brittle nails. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and parathyroid disorder can also cause hair loss.
Why A Delayed Return To Fertility After Birth Control Matters
For a variety of reasons, women are waiting longer than ever to start their families than in the past. Case in point: in 1970, the average age at first child birth was 22 . Today, it has risen to 26.4 years old. In addition, more women are delaying their first pregnancy past age 30. The percentage of first birth to women over 30 went from just one in ten in 1970, to almost one in three in 2014 . This late start to childbearing is significant, because on average, a womans ability to get pregnant takes a sharp decline after age 35, and is practically nil by the time she reaches her mid-forties.
If a woman waits until her fertility is already in a natural state of age-related decline to try to get pregnantand especially if she has been on birth control for several years prior, possibly depleting her S crypts and chronically thinning her endometrial liningshe may face even more obstacles to conceiving. If a womans issues with fertility lie in a problem with proper cervical mucus production, and she is placed on Clomid, it could further thwart her chances of conception: a known side effect of this drug is to reduce the production of cervical fluid .
Read Also: Can Estrace Cause Weight Gain
The Best Birth Control
Were curious about a variety of topics at goop, but after a staff poll over lunch, it became pretty clear that we had a lot of questions about birth control. After some debate, we pared our list of questions down to the ones on the Pill, IUDs, etc. that could help us answer the really big question: Whats the best form of birth control for me? Below, Dr. Maggie Ney, co-director of the Womens Clinic at the Akasha Center in Santa Monica, shares her expert opinion.
How Can Birth Control Relieve Pmdd Symptoms
When a woman is not taking the pill, her body naturally produces estrogen, the female hormone, within the first half of the menstrual cycle. During this time, the uterus creates a lining for a fertilized egg to implant and form the placenta, which protects the fetus during pregnancy. When estrogen hits peak levels, one of the ovaries releases an egg, causing the body to produce progesterone hormones. This prevents the body from releasing more eggs.
If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone and estrogen levels fall. Once this decrease occurs, the uterus sheds its lining, resulting in a period. Some women are more sensitive to these changes in hormones and will experience PMS and/or PMDD symptoms.
Thankfully, oral contraceptives can help decrease the severity of symptoms. Birth control pills help to regulate hormones so that women are not subjected to sudden fluctuations that decrease their quality of life.
You May Like: Mtf Clinic
Changes During The Menopause
Changes to the vagina and vulva are common during the perimenopause , and are due to yes, you guessed it! your changing hormone levels.
Women in midlife typically experience a dramatic reduction in oestrogen levels, which can affect the vaginal and vulval tissues, making them thinner, less elastic and more prone to damage and pain.
The overall amount of vaginal discharge and natural lubrication also often decreases after the menopause. And while this change is normal, it can lead to symptoms of vulval dryness, irritation and painful sex.
The good news is, these symptoms can be successfully treated with vaginal moisturisers, lubricants or topical hormonal creams, so you don’t have to put up with them see your trusted GP to discuss your management options.
Increased Risk Of Sleep Apnea
The risk of obstructive sleep apnea increases in women during and after menopause. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. OSA occurs when muscles in the throat relax and block the airway during sleep. People who have this type of sleep apnea often snore. Researchers who performed one study found that perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who had lower estrogen levels were more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea than women who had higher estrogen levels. More studies are needed, but women who feel tired or who have unrefreshing sleep should see their doctors to assess hormone levels and discuss risk factors and testing for sleep apnea.
Recommended Reading: Does Melatonin Affect Birth Control Nexplanon
Are You Ready To Stop Taking Birth Control Pills
Going off the pill isnt necessarily a quick-fix solution. Some women experience a rash of symptomsincluding mood swings, anxiety, and depressionin the months following cessation of hormonal birth control. Some hormonal experts have started calling this effect post-birth control syndrome.
In addition, its important to remember that if you started taking the pill because you were experiencing irregular periods, bad cramping, or other symptoms, the pill doesnt actually address those issues. It only masks the problem. When you stop taking oral contraceptives, that original issue may return with a vengeance.
If you were experiencing menstrual Irregularities, take note that taking natural progesterone can be quite effective for some womenwithout any of the side effects of synthetic progestin in hormonal contraceptives. If youre concerned about pregnancy, there are other non-synthetic, non-hormonal birth control options available that you can discuss with an integrative physician.
Can Birth Control Cause Anxiety
This will of course cover the next most common query ventured on this subject, that being can birth control cause anxiety? It can, and for much of the same hormonal imbalance and genetic response predispositions were highlighting here.
The synthetic hormones in depression and anti-anxiety medication increase thyroid and sex hormone binding globulin, and this lowers the levels of testosterone and thyroid hormone available for circulation.
Estrogen and progesterone are sex hormones incorporated into birth control medications, and they do impact the way the person processes emotional impulses. These risks appear to be more pronounced for younger women, and especially so for those taking progestin-only birth control pills.
Also Check: Estradiol Pill Cost
Progesterone Helps You Sleep Better
If you can’t sleep or you don’t get good quality sleep, hormone balance may be to blame. Progesterone is one compound released by the ovaries that helps you sleep. Low levels may make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. A small study in postmenopausal women found that 300 milligrams of progesterone restored normal sleep when sleep was disturbed. Estrogen levels decrease in perimenopause and after menopause. This may contribute to night sweats and hot flashes, which often disrupt a woman’s ability to sleep. See your doctor if you believe an imbalance in hormones is contributing to sleep problems.
Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome Treatments
As with all treatments for hormonal imbalance, there are a variety of options a woman can choose from, ranging from safe lifestyle changes and alternative medicine to more invasive, potentially risky pharmaceutical and surgical approaches.
The best post tubal ligation syndrome treatments aimed at lowering estrogen levels include the following:2
You May Like: Cost Of Estradiol
Pms And Low Sex Drive
Low testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are all associated with a decreased in both men and women. This is especially common after age 50 when estrogen and testosterone production declines. Since estrogen is one of the main hormones regulating a womans menstrual cycle a decrease in production can also lead to irregular periods that are too long, too short, unpredictable, heavy, or painful, infertility, hot flashes, mood swings, or painful intercourse.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones have to work together in balance to help your body thrive. However, hormone ups and downs in women are very common, so if you feel that you have a hormonal imbalance, you are not alone.
Doctors from WebMD say that some of the common causes of an imbalance in hormone production in women are pre-menstrual syndrome, pregnancy, and the menopause. However, other lifestyle factors can cause hormones to fluctuate. Being overweight, not getting enough exercise, or a lack of sleep can all throw your hormones off balance.3
Other reasons for hormone fluctuations are an underactive thyroid that doesnt produce enough thyroxine . Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that hypothyroidism can leave you feeling lethargic, cause changes in your menstrual system, or make it difficult to lose weight.4
Also, diabetes is a common cause of hormonal imbalances and can affect, not just the insulin hormone, but also other blood sugar-related hormones, sex hormones, and growth hormones.5
Low Sex Drive Could Be Low Testosterone
Testosterone is typically thought of as a male hormone, but both men and women have it. Low testosterone levels may cause low libido. In one study of more than 800 postmenopausal women reporting low sex drive, those who received 150 or 300 micrograms per day of testosterone in the form of a topical patch reported more sexual desire and less distress than women who received a placebo. Women receiving extra testosterone also reported more satisfying sexual experiences compared to women who took a placebo. However, women who took 300 micrograms of testosterone per day had more unwanted hair growth than women who took the placebo. Men can get low testosterone, too. The condition has been referred to as andropause in males.