“You have an ovarian cyst. I will schedule you for surgery, and after that, you can take the pill to prevent re-occurrences.”
This is what I was told at the age of 15, after going to the doctor complaining of intense abdominal pain. Mmm… Surgery and drugs? Talk about mainstream. There are many ways to deal with ovarian cysts, and no, going under the knife and talking hormones daily aren’t the best answer. This is a subject for another post, though! Today, I want to talk to you about contraceptive pills and their dangerous side effects. This, people, is the 21st century. We can avoid pregnancies without poisoning ourselves. True story!
There are many reasons why we should stop taking the Pill, and some of these reasons are not at all well known. I, for one, was never told about them by either my doctor or the medical insert. I bet you were not, either. But, what if we are not ready to have children? Is there a way to prevent pregnancies without relying on drugs and chemicals? Yes, there is. Both of these points will be discussed below.
The potential side effects of the Pill
The Pill, like any other pharmaceutical drug, is not without potential side effects. According to MedicineNet.com, the Pill “may cause dizziness, headache, lightheadedness, stomach upset, bloating, or nausea.” Doctors should also be notified in case of: “severe depression, groin or calf pain, sudden severe headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, lumps in the breast, weakness or tingling in the arms or legs, yellowing of the eyes or skin.”
Even if some women never experience these symptoms, they are still at risk for a number of nutrient deficiencies. The most common one is vitamin B complex deficiency, which can explain why many women on the Pill experience depression that lifts once they stop taking oral contraceptives. Selenium, thought to protect against several types of cancer, is also more difficult to absorb on the Pill. The same was found for zinc (which is already low in vegetarian diets).
These side-effects are usually well known. Unfortunately, there are more, and scarier, side-effects that few people know about, and doctors rarely reveal (if they know about them at all).
In order to get pregnant, women need to produce fertile cervical fluid from their cervical crypts. But the Pill can damage the cervical crypts quite easily, and they will then take a long time to heal, if they ever do. Since this side effect is not well known, some women find it very difficult to get pregnant once they stop the pill and go on lengthy and expensive fertility treatment when often, all they need is to use substitutes for their inexistent cervical fluid. According to Professor Erik Odeblad in the Bulletin of the Natural Family Council of Victoria, “a pregnancy rejuvenates the cervix by 2-3 years, but for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.”
The sad part is that modern medicine has convinced most women that they are not in charge of their fertility, that it is impossible for them to pinpoint when they can or cannot be pregnant, and that the only way to prevent a pregnancy is to take hormones every day. This is a blatant lie, as there are many ways a woman can learn to listen to her body’s signs, and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Alternatives to Birth Control Pills
The Fertility Awareness Method: FAM was made popular by Toni Weschler in her very comprehensive book Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. Toni Weschler recommends doing 2 things: 1) Taking your temperature first thing in the morning (also known as Basal Body Temperature, or BBT) with a special yet inexpensive thermometer, and 2) checking your cervical fluid for signs of fertility. Indeed, outside of your fertile window, sperm cannot survive and will die within a few hours. This is why women with damaged cervical crypts cannot conceive easily: sperm will not survive long enough to fertilize the egg. The advantage of this method is that it is very inexpensive, and it teaches women to understand their body better.
WebMD lists this method as the “Rhythm Method”, which is wrong. Both methods are very different, and the Rhythm Method is definitely not as reliable as the FAM.
BBT only: Women with damaged cervical crypts cannot check their cervical fluid as recommended by the FAM. As a result, they can rely on their BBT while being a bit more careful.
In order to avoid a pregnancy, they can take their BBT first thing in the morning and chart it by hand (this is very well explained in Toni Weschler’s book) or chart it using a free website such as fertilityfriend.com, which does all the work short of taking your own temperature. If you use such a method, you have to use some sort of protection before ovulation has been detected. Once it has been detected, it is impossible for you to ovulate again until you get your period (if you do ovulate again, it will be within 24 hours of your first ovulation, which does not influence your fertility pattern).
Some women still believe that they ovulate on the 14th day after the first day of their period, or that they can ovulate several times a month. This is not true at all. Some women definitely ovulate on the 14th day after the start of their period, but many ovulate earlier, or even much later, such as on the 20th day for example.
The Baby-Comp-Birth is a small computer, the size of an alarm clock, which wakes you up at the same time each day and has a built in thermometer for you to take your temperature with. It charts everything internally, and tells you which days are safe and which ones are not. Since the Lady-Comp/Baby-Comp does rely on averages to a certain extent, it is quite accurate but not 100% fail safe. If you have regular cycles however, it will be quite good at telling you when your safe days are, even before your ovulation has been detected. The device itself is quite expensive, and charting with fertilityfriend.com is still recommended, especially if, later, you decide to use it to conceive a child. You can always a Basal Digital Thermometer for about $10, and it works just as well in combination with Fertility Friend!
Preventing pregnancies does not have to involve contraceptive pills which can reduce nutrient absorption and can potentially harm your natural ability to conceive a child by destroying your cervical crypts. There are many more ways to prevent pregnancies without relying on hormones. These are the least invasive, and also the least expensive, and they give women complete control over their body.