Why I Switched To Natural Birth Control
Have you ever wondered if there’s a healthier, less invasive birth control method that doesn’t involve pumping your body full of synthetic hormones or having a T-shaped device painfully inserted into your uterus? Around the age of 21, after several nightmare-ish years on hormonal birth control, I began to ask myself the same questions. There’s got to be a better way. I thought. There have got to be more options than a swallowing hormone-filled pills and harboring foreign objects in my uterus for upwards of 10 years at a time.
The good news is that there are many non-hormonal birth control options available and one of them is both incredibly accurate and involves nothing more than noticing how your body changes throughout the course of a month. It’s wildly effective, liberating, and empowering. How do I know? Because it’s the method I’ve been using for nearly a decade without getting pregnant.
Switching to natural birth control has transformed my life in powerful ways. It may have been one of the most significant changes I have ever made for myself, which is why I want to share with you today the reasons why I finally made the switch.
Before I dive into my nightmarish experience using hormonal birth control, I want to note that I honor and respect each woman's right to decide which birth control methods best fits her lifestyle. I will never shame a woman who has decided that hormonal birth control is the best fit for her. My hope is that by sharing my experience I can introduce women to this effective, and nearly unheard of, method of birth control - one that is a life-saver for women, such as myself, whose bodies don't tolerate hormonal birth control methods.
Okay, here goes...
Three months after my first sexual experience I decided to go on the birth control pill. I was equal parts fiercely independent and mortified by the thought of having to talk to my mom about sex so I scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist and drove myself to the appointment without telling anyone. At that time most of my friends were already on the birth control pill (IUDs weren’t even talked about yet), so I was ready to catch up, fit in, and have that same daily alarm go off on my cell phone that signified I was one of them now. After what felt like a shockingly short amount of time talking to the doctor, I left with whatever birth control pill prescription was recommended and began taking it without giving it much thought or research.
So, why, if I went through such lengths to get on the pill, did I decide to ditch hormonal birth control forever and never look back? I thought you’d never ask.
Why I Switched To Natural Birth Control
1. I had nearly 50 vaginal yeast infections in 3 years. YIKES.
Within a month of being on the birth control pill, I had my first ever vaginal yeast infection. It was excruciating. I remember feeling confused, gross, embarrassed, and overcome with the most intense physical discomfort I had ever experienced. Not only did the yeast infection not improve, it got a whole lot worse.
For the three and a half year span that I was on the birth control pill I had monthly, sometimes twice monthly, vaginal yeast infections. I don't know if you did the math on that, but that's upwards of 50 yeast infections in three and a half years. That's an unbelievable amount of yeast infections.
Traditional doctors were wildly unhelpful. I heard everything from "stop wearing leggings" to "make sure to blow dry your vagina." From one disgustingly patronizing male gynecologist I even heard "Well if you were my daughter, I'd tell you to stop having so much sex with different guys." Not that I need to defend myself against that one, but up until that point I had only had sex with three men - one of which was my long-time boyfriend. #youcanfuckoffdoctormisogyny
Eventually, I took to the internet and discovered that hormonal birth control is a leading cause of chronic, recurrent yeast infections. I've more recently learned that this is because hormonal birth control can cause estrogen dominance which leads to increased risk of yeast infections, among other things.
2. Swollen, Painful Breasts
You know that feeling your boobs get right before your period? Swollen, tender, and painful to touch - that’s what mine felt like every single day that I was on birth control. My nipples were constantly hard, and not in a fun way. They were hard in the glass-cutting, tiny-daggers kind of way. Once, at a gynecologist appointment, a doctor pointed out that this was normal on birth control hormones as was the LEAKING that happened when she squeezed my boob. It suddenly hit me that doctors have a skewed perception of what is normal. I did not want swollen, painful, leaking boobs to be my norm.
3. Panic Attacks
Within months of going on the birth control pill I also had my first ever panic attack. Overwhelming emotions, swirling out-of-control became my new normal, as well. This went on for years. My hormones were so out-of-whack that I struggled to maintain a stable emotional state which often sent me on a tailspin into terrifying panic attacks
4. Uncontrollable Mood Swings
I felt like I had raging pms all of the time. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said there.
5. Painful Bloating and Stomach Pains
On a daily basis I was so bloated, it was as if I had swallowed a balloon. My stomach would stretch to its max, visible to everyone around me, as I doubled over in excruciating pain. I went to specialist of all kinds and the best diagnosis I could receive was irritable bowel syndrome. After lots of research I discovered that my bowels were certainly irritable and constipated from the excess estrogen in my body due to hormonal birth control pills. Excess estrogen can cause excess yeast which had found its way to my digestive tract and wreaked havoc.
With chronic vaginal yeast infections, painfully swollen breasts, terrifying anxiety, wild mood swings, and excruciating stomach pains it’s a wonder I was even able to have sex at all while on the birth control pill.
If you are on hormonal birth control methods and experiencing any of these issues, know that you have options - scientifically-tested and accuracy-proven options of natural birth control that can help you feel like yourself again.
Interested in learning more? Check out the next post in this series about the natural birth control method I use, what it is, and how it works!
Disclaimer: Brandy Oswald is not a medical provider and cannot give medical advice or provide any information concerning the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. The information provided by Brandy Oswald is of a general nature and is intended only for educational purposes to help with your personal health improvement goals and should not be relied on as medical advice. Always consult a physician prior to changing your diet, lifestyle, supplement, or prescription medicine routine. Should you choose to use the information provided by Brandy Oswald it is of your own volition and you recognize that Brandy is not held liable for any intended or unintended outcomes.