Are you looking for effective, natural birth control methods?
Want some options and alternatives to the pill?
Although the birth control pill has advantages, we’re learning more about the real impact the pill has on our bodies.
Natural birth control and natural family planning can be better for our health.
Some problems with the birth control pill include:
- Hormone or menstrual cycle disruption
- Female sexual dysfunction
- Mood swings
- Masking of the symptoms of serious reproductive health problems.
The pill can be prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, such as acne, PMS, PMDD, and painful menstrual cramps.
Of course, it’s also used as birth control to prevent pregnancy.
The pill is the easiest course of action in many cases.
There are, however, other natural and effective alternatives available.
Natural birth control methods
Used correctly, the birth control pill has 91-99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.
This range is due to typical use (how most consumers actually use the pill) and clinical use (prescribed use).
The birth control pill is effective and simple, but unfortunately, it also has some side effects.
Luckily, there are several non-hormonal options.
Let’s take a look at 5 natural birth control methods and their benefits.
#1: Natural family planning (NFP)
Natural family planning can take a bit of time to master, but can be an effective form of birth control and free of side effects.
It aims to raise fertility awareness by tracking the menstrual cycle.
Books or even classes about natural family planning are available to help couples learn the methods.
These methods are based on fertility awareness.
The main ones are:
- Creighton Model System (98% effective in clinical use)
- TwoDay Method (96% effective in clinical use)
- Billings Method (99% effective in clinical use)
The natural family planning method means that, during your fertile periods, you have to abstain from having sex, or use barrier contraception.
An advantage of using any type of natural family planning is you learn more about your menstrual cycle and become very fertility aware.
If you want to conceive, this will help you to be aware of which days it’s most likely to happen.
If you want to:
- Learn more about natural birth control methods
- Learn about natural family planning
- Learn more about the menstrual cycle
- Raise your fertility awareness, then
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an excellent read.
#2: Barrier methods
Many committed couples don’t like the idea of using barrier methods of birth control.
However, unlike some other types of birth control, they don’t interfere with your hormones and reproductive system.
Some couples use NFP methods for most of the month, then use barrier birth control rather than abstain during the fertile period.
The two most common barrier methods:
- Condoms (about 97% effective)
- Diaphragms (in combination with spermicide, about 94% effective).
For anyone not in a monogamous, committed relationship, condoms play a major role in reducing the risk of contracting STDs and STIs.
#3: Non-hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
Because they’re used internally, IUDs have some potential risks.
Non-hormonal copper IUDs, however, have less impact on hormones.
Some other advantages of this type of birth control:
- IUDs can be used for 5-10 years
- They offer 99% protection against pregnancy
- They can also be removed at any time, should you wish to conceive
- There is low risk of user error
Although the IUD is a good method for avoiding pregnancy, a barrier method is still important for preventing STDs if you’re not in a monogamous relationship.
#4: Pull out method – ‘pull and pray’
This method of natural birth control is often considered a very risky choice.
However, its effectiveness is comparable to other forms of birth control.
The risk comes into play because of human error.
For effectiveness, this method requires the man to be committed to pulling out in time (before ejaculation).
A 2009 study published in Contraception claims the effectiveness level is similar to condoms.
If you’re using other methods of natural birth control, such as natural family planning, this practice might reduce the risk of pregnancy even further.
It helps if you’ve learned some fertility awareness.
However, if a couple isn’t open to the possibility of a pregnancy, this might not be the best form, given the higher risk of user error.
#5: Permanent sterilisation
If you’re looking for a permanent form of birth control, permanent sterilisation is an option.
The two most common types of permanent sterilisation are:
- Vasectomy (98-99% effective)
- Tubal Ligation (95-99% effective)
Vasectomy and tubal ligation offer a highly effective form of birth control.
They shouldn’t be considered if:
- You’re not certain you’ve finished having biological children
- There’s a medical contraindication to having a pregnancy.
Unlike the methods described above, these options have side effects related to surgery, as well as ongoing effects.
However, they don’t have an impact on hormones in the same way that hormonal birth control does.
These methods should only be used when you want permanent birth control.
Although they are potentially reversible, there’s no guarantee of success.
Alternatives to hormonal birth control for health problems
Alternatives to the birth control pill can be good for natural family planning, but what about other health issues?
Do you suffer from endometriosis, PCOS, acne, or other hormonal problems?
It’s important for women to know that painful period cramps aren’t normal.
Have you been told hormonal birth control is your only option for managing these conditions?
The birth control pill, hormonal IUDs, and other hormonal forms of birth control have been pushed as the most effective treatment for hormonal problems.
In fact, they simply mask symptoms and don’t treat the underlying causes.
They also come with significant possible side effects.
Here are 4 common hormonal conditions:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Chronic acne.
For help with these conditions, there are alternatives to the pill:
- Charting your cycle can help you pinpoint cycle irregularities
- Working with a women’s health specialist or a chronic pelvic pain specialist can help you reach a proper diagnosis for painful menstrual cramps. Your local doctor or GP is usually not specialised enough to diagnose and treat these gynaecological conditions.
Some treatments for PMS are:
- The Creighton Model or other methods and treatments that help regulate your cycle
- A healthy whole foods diet
- Food allergy testing
- Working with a therapist
- Yoga, journalling and meditation to help reduce stress levels
- A full evaluation with your healthcare provider, to rule out or treat any underlying mental health concerns.
Other ways to treat acne:
- Eat a diet aimed at reducing overall inflammation in the body
- Use a food diary, an elimination diet or a re-challenge diet.
- Tests for food allergies or sensitivities might help you pinpoint a trigger for your acne
- Address any sources of stress in your life. Find a good therapist, take up yoga, meditation or mindfulness, to help reduce stress
- Use natural hygiene products, or soaps designed for sensitive skin. Avoid using oil based products on the skin.
Some find these tips helpful for dealing with adult acne.
The pill might seem like a ‘cure all’ for female related health concerns.
Unfortunately, it isn’t without risk and, in many cases, it simply masks the real symptoms of health problems and doesn’t actually cure them.
It’s important for women to be aware of their options, so they can make informed decisions about their family planning, healthcare, and mental wellness.