Today I want to talk to you guys about safer birth control options besides the pill. Now the pill is the most popular contraception method, and millions of women use it, but it’s not as innocent as you might think.There are some real risks and side effects that go along with using the pill and several of you have asked me to do a video about safer options.
So keep watching, because I’m going to be covering what these safer methods are, and also talk about their pros and cons. You might even want to take notes, because there is a lot of information in this video. ☺
Before we get in to the different contraception methods, I just want to mention that the pill can be especially bad for women with yeast overgrowth issues, women with depression, and women who smoke. It can make all of these things worse.
The pill can also make blood sugar problems worse because it depletes your body of magnesium, and we need magnesium in order to use insulin. It also depletes the important B-vitamins, and that can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
To me the scariest thing about hormonal birth control is that it increases your risk of blood clots, and that can be fatal.
Also, certain types of hormonal birth control that have more of an androgenic effect – which is basically acting like male hormones – can actually trigger hidradenitis suppurativa, hair loss, and acne in some women.
Hormonal contraception is either estrogen combined with progestin, or progestin only. And it’s the progestin part that can have the androgenic, male hormone effect.
The birth control with the highest androgen activity is NORETHINDRONE. Now I’m not going to list the name brands here because there are several, but if you just Google Norethindrone, then you can find a list of the name brands to see if it’s one that you’re using.
The next most androgenic birth controls are LEVONORGESTREL, which is found in the Merena IUD; NORGESTREL, which is in certain pills; ETONOGESTREL, which is found in the implant that goes under your skin and also in the vaginal ring; then MEDROXYPROGESTERONE ACETATE, which is the shot.
And anything that doesn’t contain one of those 5 that I just mentioned is considered low-androgen, including DROSPIRENONE and NORGESTIMATE. Drospirenone is found in Yaz and Yasmin, and Norgestimate is found in Ortho Tri-Cyclen.
However, you should know that even the hormonal birth controls with a lower androgen effect can still cause a rebound surge in androgens when you stop taking them, so just be aware of that. Especially if you have a condition that gets worse from androgen hormones, like HS, acne, PCOS or hair loss.
Okay – so we know that the pill and other types of hormonal birth controls have a lot of side effects, what are we supposed to do about birth control?
Thankfully there really are some effective non-hormonal birth control methods available. But the important thing is to know yourself well enough so that you can choose a method that you can actually use the right way consistently. Because the efficacy of birth control depends on how perfectly you follow the method.
So if you are someone who has a hard time keeping up with a routine or if you’re considering a birth control method for your teenager who might not be very responsible, then sometimes these natural methods are not ideal. You have to do what works for you.
The first birth control method that is the most natural is called the Fertility Awareness Method. Since women are only fertile for a short window each month, this method allows you to keep track of your cycle so that you can either avoid sex or use a barrier contraception like condoms during your fertile time.
The upside to this method is that it’s about as natural as you can get, and it’s about 99.3% effective when it’s used perfectly. That’s really good when you consider that the pill is about 99.7% effective when used perfectly.
But the downside to the Fertility Awareness Method is that you need to be very diligent with tracking your temperature and paying attention to other signals from your body that you’re fertile. I would not recommend this method for teenagers or for anyone who isn’t organized and responsible enough to keep track of their data on a daily basis.
Now, this video would be incredibly long if I explained everything about how to use this method, so I highly recommend reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and another great book is called the Period Repair Manual. So I will leave links to both of those in the description box.
I also want to mention that there is now an app based on the Fertility Awareness Method that’s called Natural Cycles, and it’s been approved by the FDA as a valid form of birth control. So I will also leave a link to that.
The next option for safer birth control are male condoms, which is considered a barrier method. Condoms are about 98% effective when used perfectly, but they can fail 18% of the time if they’re not used perfectly. The good thing about condoms is that they help to protect against infections, and you don’t have to use any toxic spermicides with them.
There are other barrier methods like the cervical cap and the diaphragm, and these are little domes made of thin latex or silicone that you insert before sex, so that it can block sperm from entering your uterus.
These are good options for non-hormonal birth control, but the downsides are that they aren’t as effective as condoms, and not every woman is comfortable with having to insert and remove these devices.
I wanna talk about IUD’s or Intrauterine Devices. In my opinion, these aren’t as ideal as the Fertility Awareness Method because they aren’t natural and they do have some risks, but they also aren’t as harmful as the Pill or the shot because they really don’t shut down your ovaries or your natural progesterone.
So an IUD or Intrauterine Device is a little T-shaped device that gets inserted into your uterus. The doctor can do the procedure pretty quickly in the office, and you don’t need any anesthesia.
Now I mentioned earlier that the Mirena IUD does contain hormones, and I’m honestly not a big fan of it. Because even though the hormone exposure is very low, it can suppress your ovulation some of the time, which is not healthy.
On the other hand, the copper IUD works by impairing the motility of sperm – it’s not hormonal. It’s about 99.4% effective, and you can leave it in for 10 years or more, which makes it really convenient, and you don’t need to track your fertility or remember to take a pill. You can also have it removed at any time.
Now the IUD used to be very controversial, but they’ve actually improved them quite a bit over the years and they’re now considered very safe. However, the copper IUD can cause pain, and it can also make your cycles more painful for up to a year.
The copper IUD can also make your flow more heavy, and in some cases your body can expel the device.
A lot of people wonder about copper toxicity with this type of IUD, and honestly, there’s not much evidence for it. And in fact, the pill can also cause your body to retain too much copper, so we have to look at all the pros and cons, and overall this is a pretty safe method that won’t throw your hormones out of whack.
So just to sum up, my top choice for safer birth control is the Fertility Awareness Method if you are responsible enough to use it correctly, and my next choice would be the copper IUD simply because it’s non-hormonal and it’s going to be more effective than cervical caps and diaphragms.
I know this was a really long video, so thank you for sticking with me til the end. I really hope this provided some useful information for you, and please comment below with any questions you have.
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