Although this topic may be a little TMI, this is our lives that we’re talking about and I plan to cover just about as much as I can! I started on birth control in December 2012 and stopped taking it the day after my birthday at the end of September. I primarily did it since I was in a serious relationship (but not wanting to get pregnant) and I couldn’t stand to crawl on the floor in agony for the first two days of my cycle. I literally used to have to stay home from school on the first day, because it was SO painful. I tried taking Vitamin D3 every day (advice from a pharmacist friend of our family), but it really didn’t change anything. I also would have to resort to prescription pain killers (1/2 a pill) just to make the pain bearable. I’ll be honest, I loved barely having a cycle and not being in pain and agony for 5 days every month, but what’s most important is the affect that birth control has on your body…
Birth control pills are synthetic hormones, and while most contain high levels on estrogen, I actually took the lowest one that I could find, so I didn’t have any crazy side effects. However, the pills with higher levels of estrogen basically convince your body that you are pregnant and don’t need to ovulate. Once your take your week of placebo pills, your estrogen levels drop and your body has a “normal” cycle. There is technically nothing normal about this cycle.
Some of the side effects of synthetic estrogen can be enlarged breasts, weight gain or loss, reduced or increased acne, nausea, emotional sensitivity around your cycle, mood swings, irregular spotting, breast tenderness and decreased libido. I personally didn’t have much of the effects except probably reduced acne and weight loss (although my healthy diet could attribute to both of these things). Bottom line, these synthetic hormones can really mess with your overall health.
Now, the additional serious health risks include: increased risk of cervical and breast cancers, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, migraines, higher blood pressure, gall bladder disease, infertility, benign liver tumors, decreased bone density, yeast overgrowth and infection, and increased risk of blood clotting. All of these things make taking these pills a bit more scary when you actually think about it longterm.
My largest fear, aside from the above risks, was the scare of infertility. The risk of infertility of someone who has previously been on birth control is twice as much as someone who hasn’t. Referencing my first post about this about the movie that I watched, had a case of a young healthy couple in their 20’s, and they could not conceive normally and it took SEVERAL rounds of IVF to finally achieve pregnancy. In fact, there has been a 65% INCREASE in IVF since 2003. And although it sounds like an “easy” alternative, from the research I’ve done, there is nothing fun about hormone shots daily and being inseminated.. not to mention the expense and anxiety of it all. Other risks of infertility are being overweight as well as stress, and while I am neither of those (aside from normal stresses, but I don’t feel like any overly stressed individual), the risk of everything is enough for me. Completely healthy millennials are having a harder time conceiving now than ever and birth control as well as all the other crap that we put in, on and around our bodies are sure to contribute.
SO, hence my reason for discontinuing my pills (do note that birth control comes in forms of IUDs, implants, shots, rings, patches, etc. These ALL have hormones and all share the effects that I have listed above). But let me tell you that it also slightly scared me at the effects that I had AFTER I got off the hormones. My skin broke out like a pizza (and I get a pimple like once a year), I gained weight, I was emotional and felt a little crazy in my moods (again, really ODD from someone who is such a “level” individual). PS Thanks to Brandon for putting up with me while I went back to normal.
I have not taken up abstinence, but there are other ways to protect yourself from putting a bun in the oven! Although I will probably not do a post on this, the alternative birth control method is obviously condoms. HOWEVER, you can bet your behind that there are A LOT of bad stuff in the plastic and even the lubicrant of mainstream brands. Wow, this post is becoming more intimate that originally planned! I’ll let you do your own research on that one, but I did order some “approved” condoms and lube from Thrive Market! And I’ll just tell you that they.. uh.. work just fine! They weren’t even as expensive as mainstream brands from the drug store! Check it out!
Again, TMI, but this is REAL talk! Happy Saturday, everyone!