I’m going to start this article by saying, I know contraception can be a heated topic and I understand that in some cases it can be the best and safest option. I honour that choice. It is up to each woman to decide what goes into her body. And it is her choice alone.
This information is to educate and empower those choices. My research into the effects of hormonal contraception, especially the pill, is something I wish I had been taught growing up and something I feel deeply called to share.
The pill and hormonal contraception has been an amazing tool to support the liberation of women's sexuality. It is a contraception method YOU as a women are completely in control of. However, it comes with a lot of drawbacks.
The pill takes away our menstrual cycle. And while this may seem like a convenience, our cycles are one of our most sacred gifts. They act as a direct line of communication to the body and hold the energies of death and rebirth with each bleed.
For this article I am going to focus on the pill, as it is the type of contraception most women use.
So what does the pill do?
The pill suppresses ovulation by delivering synthetic oestrogen and progesterone to the body.
Around 100 million women take a form of the pill today, with 1 in 3 taking it to regulate their cycles. However, the pill does NOT regulate hormones. It simply switches them off. Our natural hormones are replaced with synthetic versions to keep our cycles ‘frozen’ in place and stop the release of an egg. The movement of energy in our wombs becomes stagnant. Good to stop pregnancy but bad to support the essential functions of the body.
While the pill does suppress the symptoms of hormonal imbalances it does nothing to heal the underlying root causes. If you were to come off of the pill, the same symptoms would likely return.
What happens when you bleed while on the pill?
The pill prevents ovulation in the body. And since ovulation does not occur, true menstruation cannot happen. The blood released in the week the placebo pills are taken is known as a ‘withdrawal bleed’ referring to the withdrawal of the hormones in the pill. This was actually only incorporated into the pills as a sales tactic. It was decided women would think it was too unnatural not to have a bleed so would therefore be less likely to buy the product.
When on the pill, you do not have a cycle of a period.
Risks and side effects
- Increased risk of depression and suicide.
- A study group by the University of Copenhagen tracked one million women over thirteen years old and found that those who use hormonal birth control were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression. In fact, those between the ages of 15 and 19 were 80% more likely to become depressed. A follow up study from the same group of researchers found that women taking hormonal contraceptives had triple the risk of suicide.
- The excess oestrogen in the body is toxic to the liver, whose job is to detoxify and eliminate oestrogen. Excess amounts can over burden the organ and lead to liver problems.
- Reduced or loss of Libido. Ironic that a drug used to help have sex without conception could remove our desire to have sex at all.
- Taking the pill slightly increases the risk of breast cancer.
- There is some research to suggest it alters the structure of the female brain.
- It can alter our pheromones, which has been suggested to result in choosing the wrong partner for us.
We have cycles for a reason
Our hormonal cycle regulates 150 essential functions in the body. There are not only medical reasons to bleed, but emotional and spiritual reasons too. It is our sacred right.
The womb and our cycles are our source of feminine power, and so it makes sense the patriarchal mentality of our society has layered it with shame, and irrelevance. Anything that is this charged and has a strong opposition against it is reflective of the power it holds.
Every human being is alive because of this fundamental process. Every human being has spent 9 months being grown inside the womb of their mother. And for women, we were present as eggs inside the womb of our mother while she was in the womb of hers.
Non hormonal contraceptive methods
The fertility awareness method
We are only fertile 6 days out of every month. The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) tracks basal body temperature, changes in cervical fluid and cervix position to pinpoint ovulation and our fertile window. This is equally as effective as taking the pill.
The book The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson Jack is a great resource for learning the FAM method, but there are also trained professionals that can help you with this method should you wish.
Many of the condoms currently available use harsh spermicides and unnecessary chemicals which aren’t good for the health of your vulva or body. Not to mention the chemicals change the condom's ability to decompose naturally (latex is a natural material). So, most condoms go to landfill.
Luckily there are companies such as Hanx UK that sell all natural biodegradable condoms that are better for you and the planet!
I hope you feel more empowered to make the choice that works for you. It also goes without saying that I am not a healthcare specialist, for more information please contact a gyno, naturopath, herbalist, holistic or medical professional.
- E x