Natural Birth Control – My Experience

This is a follow up article to “Birth Control & Broken Bones: Are You at Risk?

Conventional Birth Control: Pills & Diaphragms are not for me

I have experimented with diaphragm and birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Below you will find a brief overview of my experience with these two methods followed by a few Natural Birth Controls Methods.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped rubber disk contraceptive, available by prescription (it is fitted for you).  It’s filled with spermicide and fitted over the uterine cervix.

Effectiveness

  • Typical Use: 80%
  • Perfect Use: 91%

Why it does not work for me:

Diaphragms became for me a real pain in the …well, you know where….. Awkward insertion and removal, uncomfortable and tough to handle in the heat of the moment. I gave it an honest shot for a month…until I developed a urinary tract infection. I learned later that this is a common side effect for some diaphragm users. No thanks, bye bye diaphragms.

Birth Control Pills

A prescription method of birth control, pills continuously for a month, containing synthetic hormones, progesterone (with or without estrogen, as in the Mini Pill):

  • Prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries)
  • Thicken the cervical mucus to make it harder for the sperm and egg to meet
  • Thin uterine lining to hinder egg implantation in the uterus if egg fertilization occurs

Effectiveness

  • Typical Use: 95%
  • Perfect Use: 99.9%

Why it does not work for me:

One week after taking these pills I started feeling nauseous, bloated and depressed. The physical and emotional side effects outweighed the 95-99.9% effectiveness figures very quickly. Other side effects of birth control pills include weight gain, acne, headaches and even blood clots (Yaz pills).  I felt so lousy on these, it took me over a week to get back to my normal self.

Body Temperature Method

You have to take your body temperature (using a special basal thermometer ) first thing in the morning while still in bed. You must record your morning temperature daily to identify safe days to have sex. Your temperature will rise for about 3 days after ovulation until the next menstrual cycle. After these 3 days  you can have unprotected sex until the beginning of your next period.

Why it does not work for me:

  • The morning  is the most hectic time for me, and often I do not have the time to take and record my temperature.
  • Plus, this method becomes inaccurate  if you are ill, drink alcohol, take drugs or do not have a good night sleep.

Calendar/Rhythm Method: Theory & Practice

The calendar/rhythm method is based on three assumptions. First, that women ovulate 14 days before menstruation begins, give or take two days. Second, that sperm can survive inside a woman for up to three days. And lastly, that an egg can only be fertilized within 24 hours of being released from the ovaries. Based on these assumptions, the rhythm method requires a woman to count back 14 days from the first day of her period. This will most likely be the day on which she ovulated and will ovulate the following month. In order to avoid pregnancy, she will need to abstain from sex or use another form of birth control, like condoms, around this time.

For Example:

A woman has 28- days menstrual cycle.

Day 1 of her period is the beginning of the cycle.

She will ovulate around the 14th day of her menstrual cycle.

And because sperm can stay active inside of your body for few days, sex should be protected or avoided for at least 4 days before and 3 days after ovulation.

Effectiveness

  • Typical Use: 80%
  • Perfect Use: 98%

Condoms

A male condom is a thin sheath that covers the penis during intercourse and is made of one of the following materials: Rubber (latex) Plastic (polyurethane, for people allergic to latex) & Lambskin. My husband recommends Crown Okamoto and Durex Extra Sensitive.

Effectiveness

  • Typical Use: 86%
  • Perfect Use: 97%

Natural Birth Control Methods

I couldn’t say “no” to fulfilling sex with my husband. I needed an effective and convenient solution that didn’t wreak havoc on my physical and emotional health.After long & careful consideration we decided to use an old-fashioned natural birth control method, a combination of the Rhythm method and using condom during ovulation/fertile period.

In my experience, this combination can be a viable option for women with a history of  Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac Disease and IBS,  who are at high risk of developing osteoporosis and cannot afford to endure the side effects of synthetic prescription birth control methods.

6 Responses to “Natural Birth Control – My Experience”

  1. I’ve used an IUD for my birth control in the past. I used both the non-hormone and hormone variety. Honestly, I LOVED them. Unfortunately when I met my boyfriend, he a… ahem, is larger than normal, and the IUD caused a real problem for *him* during sex… So, out it went.

    I knew I didn’t want to go back on the pill, and I hated having to keep track of my cycles, and the temperature thing was work I couldn’t be trusted to do either. But I finally found the *perfect* solution for me. It’s called Persona – and for whatever ridiculous reason, it’s not available in the states. I ordered mine from England.

    It’s a small device with a computer. On days 6-13 of your cycle, you pee on a stick (like a pregnancy test) and then insert the stick into the device. The hormones in your urine fluctuate with your cycle and the machine keeps track of this around your ovulation time. Based on your hormone changes, it tells you when you are a few days from ovulation, and so gives you a red light, meaning no regular sex. It also tells you the day you ovulate, and so keeps the red light on for that day and a few days after. It’s basically the same kind of device women use when they want to know when they ovulate so they can *become* pregnant, but the calculations they use in the computer are different to give you a larger ‘safe’ time frame. (Oddly enough, you can buy a device for the purpose of becoming pregnant in the states, but not the one if you *don’t* want to become pregnant…) During red light days, my boyfriend and I either use a condom, or to be extra safe, just find other ways to satisfy each other.

    I’ve been using the computer for almost a year now, and I love it. Takes all the guess work out of tracking my cycle. All I have to do is remember to tell the machine when day 1 of my cycle is, then pee on a stick for 8 days. It was a small hassle to remember to pee on the stick at first, but eventually it just became routine. And, after using the computer for a few months I learned that I ovulate early, around day 11, so the rhythm method may not have been so effective for me!

    Anyhoo, just another alternative for any one out there wanting to stay away from hormones!

  2. Dear Brianne,

    Thank you for sharing! I am glad “Persona” device is working out for you, and I am pleased you brought “Persona” device to my attention. Do you know that company was sued by 63 women who got pregnant while using Persona device? Any man made device has a margin of error. Readers should be aware of pros and cons of this contraceptive device: Persona website. Therefore, I still stand behind of my original recommendation for natural birth control; however, your recommended Persona device can be used in addition to condoms and calendar/rhythm method.

    Enjoy safe and healthy sex!
    Galina

  3. how does birth controll pills make your digestive track inflammed or irritated?
    i think that is what happened to my colon.

  4. Dear Sharon,
    You instinct is right: birth control pills can trigger colon inflammation. I will answer your question in my Q & A section.

  5. What do u think of IUD I have one, was afraid at first but it’s way better than taken birth control was taken that for years

  6. Hi Joy,
    IUD can be an alternative to birth control pills. Just be aware of possible increase in menstrual bleeding and cramps. For more information, please subscribe to our Free newsletter at: http://www.knowyourgut.com
    Galina

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