It is officially reported and scientifically proven that women have menstrual problems and contraceptive complications. I am one of those women. I can imagine some women will think it is blasphemy that I am writing this post on the “secret” problems of women. While others might feel a huge weight is finally lifted off their shoulders knowing they are not alone. Not a lot of people want to make their problems known to the public, but I am not afraid.
I want to be a voice for women around the world who have experienced reactions, sickness, severe side effects or worse with hormonal birth control. It is time I speak up about this topic and support other women with similar problems.
A little food for thought:
Why is this such a big topic of concern and controversy? Millions use hormonal contraceptive, while thousands of women experience mild to severe side effects from the pill. How do these hormones affect and react with our bodies, organs and inner systems? What are the implications on social and intimate relationships? Effects like headaches, weight gain depression, heart disease, irregular bleeding, vaginal dryness, loss of sexual desire and mood changes are some examples experienced by women. Since female sex hormones affect almost all organs and systems, some of these questions are not being discussed enough.
More effects include, but are not limited to:
I started with birth control, which were promised by doctors to help with pregnancy prevention, PMS and acne. I had severe reactions (nausea and diarrhea) a few days before my period and very irregular cycles. There’s a funny story about my period and a chili bread bowl I ate for lunch, but I’ll let your imagination run wild.
For about 13 years, I switched back and forth between different pills and the Nuva Ring, which all had about the same effects and only made things worse. Perhaps coupled with my under-functioning thyroid, the side effects of birth control in the last few years have been moderate to extreme.
Every time I switched contraceptive methods, my body, mind and spirit were out of whack. I could tell there was some foreign presence floating in my blood and veins. I did not feel like myself. I felt like I was “on” hormones.
Sometimes I was snappy, like someone else was reacting for me. Sometimes I felt down and sad for no reason. Even eating an unripe papaya from the supermarket made my day irritating and gloomy. I never felt happiness to the fullest and was simply skimming over my emotions. I felt out of my skin. Like something was inhibiting me from experiencing my true emotions. I was reactive; I wasn’t proactive in staying calm or positive. My body felt like I was going 0 to 100 on a San Francisco trolley from Union Square to the Golden Gate Bridge. Was I really that emotional? Or, was it something bigger, like the emotional effects from estrogen contraceptives?
I even tried the (in)famous Paragard Copper IUD, the hormone-free option that was promised to take all my worries away. To say the least, I had the worst reactions of my life – including severe cramps like my uterus was falling out, intense abdominal pain for a few months after the insertion and, several infections. My doctor did not ask or test for allergies, and I was too hyped up to find the “magic, hormone-free option.” I did not have as many hormonal or emotional effects like with the pill, but the physical problems made me nervous and self-conscious enough. Was all of this an allergy to copper or copper toxicity? Nobody could tell me. All I know, is that I drastically changed in every possible way after it was emplaced.
What did I do to solve this problem? Were these the best options modern science and the pharmaceutical industry had to offer in 2016?
My solution came when a dear girlfriend asked me about daysy – the Natural Family Planning (NFP) device that is used to prevent (or plan) pregnancy by measuring (basal) body temperature. Coincidentally, I had asked my gynaecologist just days before about fertility monitors as birth control. He was not convincing, but rather making me question the entire efficacy of this method due to his hesitation in answering my questions.
I was ecstatic to say the least! Had I really found a long-term solution? I went to the daysy website and fell in love with the incredible marketing advertisement. Yes, it is a bit girly and emotional, but it encompasses my entire experience of hormonal birth control in 120 seconds!
Not wanting to be immediately captivated by emotional, guerrilla marketing, I did more research on NFP and the science behind daysy. I found the daysy blog, daysy Fertility Monitor Facebook Group, as well as countless blogs and magazine articles that praised this 25-year-old technological device. From experience, they also offer intensive customer service and will answer any and all questions you have.
NFP is optimal for many women because of “religious, [medical] and philosophical ideas that shape their viewpoints on conception and family planning.” #% of sexually active women know of NFP and only 4% use it. This statistic is sad, but understandable considering “only a quarter of family medicine residency programs include NFP in their curriculum [and] medical school typically dedicates less than one hour to the education of NFP” (#1).
John Kippley makes an argument for natural birth control methods and states, “Couples should choose NFP because it is cost-effective, promotes physical health, does not have the side effects attributed to other birth control methods (pill, IUD, sterilization), and is always reversible.”
The daysy homepage perfectly explains the history and technology behind this 99.3% effective device. “Unlike competitors, daysy is not just a glorified thermometer. Daysy is a computer that learns your cycle, analyzing data over time, and using advanced statistics such as probability distribution functions and confidence intervals. Lady Comp’s algorithm is based upon data from over one million cycles and several clinical studies and has been successfully used by women globally for over 25 years to plan and prevent pregnancy. Daysy is the ‘new generation’ Lady Comp, boasting a sleeker design and the ability to sync to the daysy View app for more insight into the user’s cycles, however — the proven algorithm stays the same. ”
Using this cute, white handheld device before you get out of bed every morning is so simple. After waking up and before getting out of bed, grab the device kept on a side table. Take off the narrow cap, press the main blue button once to turn on, press it again to start and finally place the thermometer under your tongue. Within 30 seconds, your temperature is recorded and a green (infertile), yellow (device learning or cycle fluctuating) or red (fertile) light comes on. On green days, you are infertile and can have sex without a secondary physical protection. On yellow or red days, the device is learning your cycle, or you might be ovulating or fertile, so a physical barrier must be used for protection (i.e. condoms, diaphragm, etc.). Users must be very disciplined in using protection on non-green days.
To keep track and transfer of all of your data to the app on your phone, you need to connect a small cable through the headphone jack of your cell phone every few days. That’s it! Below, you can see pictures of the app.
A couple days after stopping the pill and starting to use daysy, I immediately felt free! Like many users experience, the invisible chains and handcuffs were off, colors were brighter and smells were sweeter. I finally found a solution that balances my hormones and body, improves my relationships and gives me peace. I experience every smile and every emotion. I am more happy, light and energetic. Occasionally, when I am sad, pressured or down, I can finally give a positive, constructive response with my brain, without high levels of fluctuating hormones floating in my body. I feel like a new person and, more importantly, a new woman. Taking birth control since the age of 15, I went through high school, college, graduate school and my entire soccer career not knowing my true body. Now, I feel I gained myself back and can live freely once again.
A daisy flower represents beauty, purity, new beginnings and true love. My daysy monitor is exactly that. It has allowed me to have a new beginning in my life without any external disruptions from complicated chemicals and hormones in conventional birth control methods. Through this, I have found beauty, purity and peace, and can start loving my body, mind and spirit once again.