I am not a doctor, or a professional in this area. I am sharing based from my own experience and research. Please find out all the information you need to know before making a decision that feels right for you and your body.
Back in November 2010, I had just finished year 12 at high school and I was heading off to Bali with two of my closest friends for 2 weeks of partying, celebrating and drinking wayyyy too much alcohol.
Being young and carefree, I did have unprotected sex while in Bali and upon returning home my thoughts went a little crazy, I think I convinced myself I was definitely pregnant… I remember thinking that if you had sex with no contraception then the chances were pretty good you would get pregnant. Obviously, I was a just a bit naïve and I had very little understanding about how it all worked! Thankfully I was NOT pregnant to the random tourist from Adelaide! – Halleluljah!
However, the experience freaked me out enough that I made myself an appointment to see a doctor. Of course, I was ashamed so I didn’t tell my mum about any of it and turned up scared shitless as a 17 year old to “confess” to the doctor. Her response was simply “CONDOMS CONDOMS CONDOMS and here’s a prescription for the pill. Take the pill, use condoms and you’ll be sweet.” – I wish I could go back now and thank her for her very informed advice :/
Her response was simply;
CONDOMS CONDOMS CONDOMS
and here’s a prescription for the pill.
Take the pill, use condoms and you’ll be sweet.
Of course, I followed her advice – Because she was a doctor and obviously she was right because she had a piece of paper that said so. And I started using the pill without giving it a second thought. She had given me no information about it, no explanation about how my cycle worked, no warnings and she didn’t tell me about any possible side effects and long term harm that could come from using the pill.
In 2014, I had been taking the pill everyday for 3 and a half years. I had changed a lot in that time and had started to look at things a lot differently. I couldn’t help but to start questioning the pill and what it could be doing to my body. The compounding effect of having something synthetic every single day in my body started to weigh on my mind. But it wasn’t until I came across an article that explained that the pill could effect your chances of getting pregnant once you stop having it, that I decided to stop having it straight away. I think I literally threw the suckers in the bin that day! I am super lucky I have a very supportive boyfriend, who despite being very scared at the idea of me stopping the pill, was incredibly understanding and allowed me to do what was right for my body.
Since then I have done a lot more research and have a lot more information about the harm that can be caused by the pill. So often when I tell someone my age that I haven’t been on the pill for 3 years they are so surprised and want to know why.
So I thought I would share what the possible side effects of having the pill are, some things you might not know about the pill & your cycle and some safe, natural alternatives to the pill that can be even more effective!
Possible side effects from using the Contraceptive pill
Takes hormones offline. Believe it or not your body is VERY smart and has a natural balance of hormones working in synchronicity to allow your body to function. BUT when we disrupt that with toxins, stress, processed food, medications etc it throws all of that out of whack and sends your hormones out of balance. When we have the pill everyday it essentially turns your hormones offline and they become lazy and don’t function how they naturally would. Instead the pill tells your hormones what to do and when to do it. This can work to cover certain symptoms that you might be experiencing (period pain, heavy flow, irregular cycles) or to stop you from conceiving. However, have you ever stopped to think about why you had those symptoms in the first place? And why, if you stop having the pill they all come flooding back? Its simple – The pill is not fixing anything! It’s masking something deeper that needs your attention! – Your body is NOT stupid, when you experience a symptom, it is your bodies way of communicating with you that something is not right. When you cover it up and forget about it, it will more than likely become worse over time.
Don’t stress, here are a few of ways to balance your hormones naturally if you do decide to stop having the pill.
Your body is NOT stupid, when you experience a symptom,
it is your bodies way of communicating with
you that something is not right.
Disrupts gut health. Taking the pill throws your gut health wayyyy out of balance. Having a healthy gut is one of the most important things to your overall health. When you take the pill it devastates beneficial bacteria flora in the gut and leaves it susceptible to many bacterial strains, especially candida albicans. So if you’re experiencing thrush often, then please invest in a good probiotic ASAP!
Having an imbalanced gut also means you are unable to absorb as many nutrients form the food your eating. So even if you eat incredibly well you will most likely be missing out on a lot of those nutrients. And if you’re pregnant your baby will be missing out too!
Having poor gut health will also effect your health in A LOT of other ways. Read more about the pill and it’s impact on gut health.
Increases your chances of getting breast cancer. Sam Epstein, MD, writes in the cancer prevention program;
more than 20 well-controlled studies have demonstrated the clear risk of premenopausal breast cancer with the use of oral contraceptives. These estimates indicate that a young woman who uses oral contraceptives has up to ten times the risk for developing breast cancer as does a non-user, particularly if she uses the Pill during her teens or early twenties; if she uses the Pill for two years or more; if she uses the Pill before her first full-term pregnancy; if she has a family history of breast cancer.” (Source)
Before I started doing my own research deeper into this area I had never heard of some of these very serious consequences of having the pill. And I’m sure a lot of other girls wouldn’t have any knowledge of how much the contraceptive pill can impact your health. It is so common to be on the pill, and it is so often assumed that it is safe because every one else uses it too.
Here are some less severe, but still super scary, side effects of taking the pill;
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Missed periods
- Decreased Libido
- Breast tenderness
- Intermenstrual spotting
- Vaginal discharge
Oh and did I mention the contraceptive pill also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots – which can be fatal!!! I don’t know about you, but for me and my body I would prefer to track my cycle and use natural forms of contraception that are not going to lead to a whole host of health issues for me in the future.
Some things you might not know about the pill and your cycle
- The pill is wayyyy over prescribed in my opinion. It is called the contraceptive pill, but it is so often prescribed for a whole host of other conditions like; Menorrhagia (heavy periods), Dysmenorrhea (painful periods), Irregular periods, Endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, acne, hirsutism (excess hair growth), alopecia (hair loss), decreasing the chance of breast cysts, ovarian cysts and the list goes on. The pill is covering all of these things up, the symptom may go away short term, but the underlying cause will still be there, simmering away under the surface and potentially getting worse.
- In every cycle (28 days on average) there is only a small window (6 days on average) that you can actually conceive and fall pregnant! How crazy is that? When you think about it, your putting something unnatural and synthetic into your body EVERY SINGLE DAY to stop you from getting pregnant when there is only a few days your body can actually possibly fall pregnant. Tracking your cycle and becoming aware of when your ovulating can be such an amazing experience of getting to know your body better and the signs it is telling you. And it can also save you from having to rely on the pill as a contraceptive, when the pill is only 92% effective anyway and potentially causing you a lot of issues.
Safe and natural alternative to the pill
Fertility Awareness methods (FAM) Like I said, tracking your cycle and watching out for cues and signs from your body is an amazing way to prevent or achieve pregnancy. It’s completely free from side effects and allows you to become more in tune with your body. And when it’s used consistently it can be just as effective as the pill as a contraceptive. Once you decide you do want to conceive there are no negative consequences, so you don’t have to worry about the risk of infertility, birth defects or delayed fertility after coming off of contraceptives.
This method involves using signs from your body like Basal body temperature (BBT) – Which is basically measuring your body temperature as there is a noticeable change when you are ovulating, mucus production and cervical position to predict when your body is ovulating and when to avoid having intercourse (or if you want to conceive, when is the best time to go for it :p). The website fertility friend is a website that will help you track these symptoms and pinpoint ovulation. There are also lots of Apps out now which are super helpful to track your cycle and get to know what the common ovulation signs are. I use flo to track my cycle and I have become much more aware of my body, moods and what it all means. It’s exciting for a health freak like me! HAHA.
Like I mentioned before, I am in no way an expert in this area. I am however, very interested in natural health. Therefore, I have spent a lot of time researching this topic and I am very passionate about sharing my journey with my own health and I hope, that by sharing it, I will inspire other girls to take their health into their own hands, find out more information about the things they are doing to their body blindly, without giving much thought into the long term consequences and be able to experience better health and vitality!
I dare you to take a closer look and see what you find out. I would love to hear about your experience in the comments!
Love Bell x