As I mentioned in my previous post, I went off birth control this spring. I found many personal reasons for doing so: I didn’t like the side effects, I didn’t want to put chemicals into my body, and I wanted to live a more natural life. Birth control pills produced waste and cost a lot of money in the long term. While these reasons would be enough, in my research, I have encountered many more reasons why avoiding artificial hormones in general is the best choice for any woman. But don’t take my word for it! Check out my sources, and their sources, and, if you are on birth control, read the information insert that comes with your pill pack.
There is a risk for blood clots. This is the one everyone knows about. If you are over 35 or a smoker, don’t take birth control because of clotting risk. If you are low risk, you are fine. Not true. I know young, non-smoking women who have had blood clots while taking hormonal birth control. Yes, the risk is small, smaller than when pregnant, but it is still a risk to consider. (source)
Birth control pills increasing the risk of certain cancers. Although the pill reduces the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers, there is an increase risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancers. If you believe you are at risk for either of these cancers, you may want to rethink the pill. Luckily, studies have shown that once discontinuing birth control pills, breast and ovarian cancer risk begins to decrease back to normal. (source)
Birth control pills are classified as a carcinogen. Oh, yeah. Carcinogen, the word that is always associated with cigarettes. Because of the increased cancer risks, that means that birth control pills are a carcinogen. (source)
There is an increased risk of bone loss. Women who use Depo-Provera (the shot) have been found to lose bone mineral density (BMD) in long term use. Luckily, provided the woman has not reached menopause, BMD begins to increase again after discontinuing Depo-Provera. Despite these findings and evidence gaps (such as whether women using Depo-Provera are able to achieve peak potential BMD after discontinuing), The World Health Organization unfortunately does not recommend any restriction of this form of contraception. (source)
As a note, while for simplicity’s sake, I just talk about birth control pills (except on bone loss, which is Depo-Provera specific), these concerns apply to all methods of hormonal birth control, and even more so for the long-term ones. The hormonal IUD has the added concern of being a foreign object implanted in your uterus, and the risks that come with that.
Overall, the take away is that, as with all chemicals, women should be fully educated about not only the risks of what they are putting into their body, but also that there are alternatives available. Most health problems “treated” by birth control are just being covered up. When the woman goes off the pill, the condition will still be there and frequently will result in trouble with conceiving. If the woman instead pursues treatment for the cause of the issue, not the symptoms, she can preserve her fertility and truly be free from whatever is causing her distress, be it PCOS, endometriosis, or simply irregular cycles. NaPro Technology can be a particularly useful tool for this.
For birth control, stay tuned. Next time I will discuss a natural and effective method of avoiding pregnancy. Update: You can read that post here.