Helen Padarin

Natural Forms of Birth Control

Natural Forms of Birth Control

While The Paleo Way does not have a stance of contraception methods, we do encourage people get to know how their bodies work and how to improve their health and wellbeing. As a result this may lead some down the line of looking into their rhythms and cycles (there are many in the body — for men and women) and their hormonal health.

While The Paleo Way does not have a stance of contraception methods, we do encourage people get to know how their bodies work and how to improve their health and […]

Hormonal contraceptives are used for a myriad of purposes — other than contraception. From my perspective I am more interested in understanding why the hormone condition is present and working to resolve that, rather than masking the problem with a synthetic hormone, is essence tricking the body that it is in a perpetual state of pregnancy. When the pill is used for such conditions, often on ceasing the pill women will often find a return of the condition the contraceptive was used to manage (not treat). It’s so important to keep that differentiation in mind. The contraceptive does not “fix” the problem, but masks it. It’s management not treatment.

In terms of contraception, hormone contraceptives are often used for convenience. Our society education around menstruation has tended to promote it as being a hassle rather than something empowering. When on hormone contraception we lose the awareness of our natural rhythms and we live in resistance to them, rather than embracing them and working with them for a richer experience of life.

Hormone contraception comes with a price. Risks include mood changes (ranging from mild flat mood to severe depression and psychiatric episodes), weight gain, migraines, headaches, nausea, gall bladder disease, thyroid function problems, increased risk of some cancers and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung – increased further in those who smoke cigarettes or have a family history of stroke) to name but a few.

In a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers in Denmark report that women taking hormonal contraceptives — like birth control pills, the patch, the ring and hormonal IUDs — have up to triple the risk of suicide as women who never took hormonal birth control.

Hormone contraceptives disrupt our microbiome — the milieu of microbes that live in us and on us. We are now coming to consider this microbiome as another organ of the human body — so crucial are it’s wide ranging, far reaching functions for our health and survival. It may be this disruption in the microbiome from synthetic hormones that lead to increased risk of both chronic and recurrent thrush as well as Ulcerative colitis (an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease), mental health problems and more. Research is showing our microbiome affects our hormones, pheromones and our choice of mate. This may be one reason why hormone contraceptive is effective at preventing pregnancy — because of the resulting reduction in libido and changes in pheromones! (This may also be why women on antibiotics experience changes in their sexual appetite too!).

Changes in the microbiota of the vagina as a result of hormone contraception can disrupt the mucosal immunity leaving women more vulnerable to STI’s including herpes virus, bacterial vaginosis and HIV.

So there’s a big risk: benefit ration for a woman to be using synthetic hormones every single day just to prevent pregnancy on the limited 6 days per month she is fertile.

While transitioning to natural fertility methods may involve an initial steep learning curve, doing so tends to be very empowering for women and their partners. Birth control involves two people, and creating awareness around fertility in a couple helps to build intimacy in the relationship and a greater understanding for the ebbs and flows, the cycles of life. Women can learn to track their cycles, note symptoms particularly temperature and cervical mucous, and use other signs too to determine when her 6 day fertile window for the month is. Once there is confidence in tracking fertile days, there’s the choice to use barrier methods during those times (or abstinence, however that can be tricky as when a woman is fertile is usually when she is most frisky too!).

If a woman has irregular periods then it is best to get the support of a health care practitioner who can help her understand why and resolve the underlying cause to then better be able to use natural fertility methods.

 


 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26658991 — contraceptives and inflammaotry bowel disease

http://www.microbiomeinstitute.org/blog/2015/9/15/hormonal-contraceptives-are-associated-with-altered-cervical-immunity

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13669-016-0142-6

https://www.ejog.org/article/S0301-2115(16)30449-3/fulltext — contraception and candida

http://kellybroganmd.com/that-naughty-little-pill-birth-control/

By Helen Padarin

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