Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Birth Control

I mentioned in another video that hormonal birth control is unhealthy in the long term and may result in acne after you go off it.

So when you are in a relationship and in need of a method of birth control, what are the best, natural options available to women? Watch the video and find out!

What do you (or your girlfriend) use for birth control?

Comments

  1. Maria says

    Hey Tracey,

    Check out the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler: http://www.tcoyf.com/
    In the book, she outlines the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) which similar to the method you mentioned, helps you track your cycle and fertile periods through temperature, cervix position, and cervical fluid. Unlike the method you mentioned, this one just takes buying the book and a thermometer – much less of an investment! Whether you use the FAM method or not, I think every woman should read this book. My girlfriend introduced it to me a couple years ago and I’ve been charting now for over two years- several other of my girlfriends have started charting as well. It’s empowered me to learn much more about my body and my natural rhythms. I chart additional monthly changes, too, including when my breasts are tender, when I have headaches, when I feel emotional, my energy levels, acne breakouts, my exercise, and if I’ve had unusual stress, etc… it’s great to see what’s cyclical and how things relate. I also appreciate that the method takes into account male fertility- that sperm can live 4-5 days in the right cervical environment, when helping you identify your “safe” days for unprotected sex.

    Every day I take my temperature first thing in the morning (which my husband helps me remember- we started this method a year before we got married), then I check my cervix and cervical fluid in the evening. Just before bed, I fill in my chart for the day- which I keep in a folder in my nightstand. There’s about a 10-14 day period when we avoid unprotected sex- but we enjoy each other without intercourse (Dan Savage’s sex positive savagelove podcast is a fun resource)- or occasionally use condoms. The method takes discipline, but it’s empowering! I enjoy, too, that I can tell now when my period is coming about three days before I get it.

    Two related notes, it took me about 3 months to feel “normal” coming off hormonal birth control and I charted a couple months to learn my cycles before we began having unprotected sex. The first month was especially tough for me- very emotional (like PMS). It was helpful for to read the forms on the tcoyf.com website and realize I wasn’t alone with the challenges of re-adjusting my hormones! And finally, for my period, I’ve used the Keeper menstrual cup for about 8 years. It’s something else I wish I’d learned about when I was much younger. http://www.keeper.com/

    That’s all for now. I’d be happy to share more about my experiences with FAM if you’re interested.

    I enjoy your website- thanks for the great info and your experiences!

    • Tracy says

      Hey Maria, thanks for all the info! That’s really awesome that you are so in the know about your body from charting it so closely… and that this method of birth control is working out so well for you! I will be sure to check out Toni Weschler’s site and book! I used to at least chart my periods, but since mine fluctuates by a few days each month, I would continue to freak out every month that I was pregnant, so I decided to just stop and make it a mystery. I’d be interested to start doing it again though, and obviously more in depth, especially if I were to use this as my method of BC.
      Oh and I also use a keeper for my periods, and I LOVE it… well it’s actually a diva cup, but same thing. I am definitely doing a video about them in the future, because they’re awesome.

      • L. Johnson says

        Hi Tracy! I just discovered your blog last night – I love your videos. It’s like sitting down over a cup of tea and having a chat with a close girlfriend. Anyway, I just wanted to second the above comment about Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I have learned SO much about how my body works! It is a thick book, but I blew threw it in less than a week and have re-read many portions because it’s just so fascinating. I was on the pill for 3 years, hated it, then used condoms for 3 months before trying the copper IUD (Paragard). My feelings about the IUD are very similar to your’s – it was definitely worth it compared to being on the pill, but I felt pretty uneasy about having a piece of plastic with copper wrapped around it shoved in such a sacred part of my body! It also made my periods really heavy and gave me random bloating/spotting/cramping throughout my cycle. Oh, and it made my cervix really sensitive on certain days. After 14 months of that, I ditched the IUD and am now using the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). It’s great! I have really irregular cycles, but there are so many checks and cross-checks that I was able to confirm ovulation without question for the first time last cycle and predicted when my period would start within 1 day. I actually bought the book about 6 months ago and was going to try to get used to charting and then decide if I felt comfortable enough to get rid of the IUD. Unfortunately, for me, the IUD caused me to produce so much excess cervical fluid that I wasn’t successfully able to chart my cycle until it was out (CF is the most obvious indicator of approaching ovulation – your temps only confirm ovulation after it happens). Also – it really helps to keep consistent sleep patterns or your temperatures won’t make much sense. Anyway, as someone who came from using the IUD to FAM, I highly recommend you give it a shot. I feel so much more harmony with my body now. I also highly recommend you check out the free app on fertilityfriend.com. This is what I use to input my information, and it’s so handy! I know the ladycomp would not work for me because it bases everything on temps and statistics (based on past cycles), and since my cycles are long and irregular month-to-month, I probably would have a lot more unsafe days and a higher risk for error if I weren’t monitoring cervical position and cervical fluid in addition to temps. Sorry for such a long comment on an old post but I thought I’d share my experience. :)

        • Tracy says

          Hi there!
          Thanks for all the information, that was actually really helpful! I definitely like to hear from people who have made this method work for them… you know, make it sound less ‘risky’. I’m going to stick with my IUD for now, but I figure that once it comes time to get a new one, or I have a baby or something, I just don’t see myself going to get one put back in and then I think I will definitely give FAM a try! Thank you!

  2. Taylor says

    Another great video! Seems us women can’t really win where this is concerned! I’ve been on Birth Control for a month now, and I’ve had zero side effects. Maybe a bit hungrier, but that’s it. I hate the idea of altering my hormones, but mine were SO out of whack it was hard to not give it a try. When I do go off of it, I hope to be really settled into a healthy diet and lifestyle. Hopefully I can avoid the mega breakout. Or at least heal from it quickly.

    I’ve finally, FINALLY taken your full advice! My husband (and now me) are both convinced I have a pretty serious sensitivity to wheat. He noticed my face was just beet red after eating some whole grain pasta. So, I’m going on the Paleo diet. I’m pretty excited about it, because even if the acne doesn’t go away I’ll be so, so much healthier in general!

    Both you AND Fran can’t be wrong.. the diet is the backbone of curing yourself from acne. Now I’m finally convinced. I’ve eaten only fruit, veggies, and meat for just a couple of days and my face hasn’t been nearly as red. I can’t wait to see the results in three months!

    • Tracy says

      Hey congratulations Taylor! I hope everything goes great with the paleo and you finally find some relief! It does sound like its a good idea for you to maybe stay on the birth control pills while you figure out what is going wrong in your body, while the BCPs take the pressure off… if you suspect wheat is causing you problems, you should try to get a full allergy test done and see if there are other things too!

  3. Stephanie says

    Great video. I was very interested in this topic. I am not happy about being on hormonal birth control either. I have been on the pill for about 6 years and have experimented with different ones. I don’t think my acne is better because I am on it either. But I have finally found one that I like and plan to stay on it for the time being. Especially until I can get my acne under control by diet and exercise and then I can deal with the side effects of going off it.
    About 4 years ago I decided I would try and go off the pill and use a temperature method but decided against it. At the time I didn’t look at these devices but wish I had. I also was paying $35 /month for my pill then which would pay for the $500 device fairly quickly. luckily my pill much cheaper now.
    I think eventually I would like to buy something like that but I am afraid of the other health effects. Before birth control as a teenager was extremely anemic. I know that the pill has helped me to get my anemia under control because I saw the change. I also know that I didn’t have the best diet as a teenager although I did eat considerable amount of iron knowing of the deficiency. My diet is much better now but I’m still afraid of what will happen if I were to go off the pill. Copper IUD is not an option for me for this reason either.
    Thank you for the tip because long term I can definately see myself using this.

    • Tracy says

      Interesting! The pill is one of those things that has benefits and drawbacks, like any pharmaceutical! I wish you luck when you do come off of it … when I can afford it, I am also going to look into picking myself up one of these devices

  4. Sampson says

    Congrats on going Paleo, Taylor and cutting out wheat! Not only will your skin thank you but so will your body.

    Trust me, the benefits of improving your diet and lifestyle become apparent much quicker than you would think. Many people who simply cut out gluten see a substantial improvement in their skin in a few weeks.

    This Lady Computer thing seems pretty interesting. Is it a relatively new technology? My guess is that if it costs a few hundred dollars now, in a few years it will be cheaper once they better develop the technology and whatnot.

  5. Isadora says

    My mother had a one of these Lady Computers (although I don’t know which brand – she got pregnant faster than she could say “birth control”. ;)

  6. Ruby says

    I would not trust that computer at all…I would only use that in conjunction with something else. Be aware that companies can make up as many reviews as they want. There are even some websites that hire people to write reviews, which is illegal, but it still happens, so some of those reviews might not be truthful.
    I mean, I’m sure it works for some people, but I just wouldn’t trust that at all personally. I mean it’s your choice, just be careful is all i’m saying!! :) Birth control is totally tricky though. But I’d rather be prepared and deal with condoms and spermicide right now. (I don’t do the pill, but i’m interested in the copper thing, but I live in the US and it is expensive…) The have the consequence of getting pregnant is just something I’m not gonna leave up to a computer.
    I have heard some interesting news about male birth control before. It seems that it will be coming out in a few years, but the testing has seemed to go very well from what I have read.

    Peace :)

    • Tracy says

      Haha yeah… I admit the idea is kind of scary and you do have to have faith to trust the family planning method, whether you’re doing it yourself with a thermometer or using one of these computers!

  7. Chelsea says

    Hey there Tracy! I wanted to revisit this article because after ten years of being on the birth control pill I’ve decided to finally come off of it. I’m going to my gyno in two weeks to get fitted for either a diaphragm or a cervical cap and I was wondering what your thoughts were on these two methods of birth control. Thanks so much!

    -Chelsea

    • Tracy says

      Good luck with going off the BC! To be honest… I don’t know much about the diaphragm or cervical cap as a method…. I’m not really sure the effectiveness percent, or how it actually holds up in the real world!

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