Stop Hormonal Birth Control and Improve Your Sex Life

photo courtesy of popsugar.com

photo courtesy of popsugar.com

There are two types of hormonal birth control pills.  One type contains a combination of estrogen and progestin, and one contains progestin only.  Both introduce synthetic hormones into your body in order to stop you from releasing an egg, make your uterus an inhospitable environment for a fertilized egg, and thicken your cervical mucus in an attempt to prevent sperm from reaching your uterus. Continue reading

Ditch Hormonal Birth Control and Have Better Orgasms

photo courtesy of health.com

photo courtesy of health.com

Hormonal birth control comes in two varieties: 1) the minipill, which is progestin only, and 2) combination pills, which contain estrogen and progestin.  These synthetic hormones mix with your body’s natural hormones and act to fool your body into thinking it is pregnant.  If your body believes it is pregnant, it will not release an egg each month, and thus there is no egg to be fertilized to create an actual pregnancy.  The issue here is that the result of chemically altering your body’s natural hormones is a decrease in sexual urges and responses, putting a damper on your ability to orgasm.

In a 2011 study conducted at Indiana University, research scientists at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion examined the sex lives of 1,101 women, half of which were using hormonal forms of birth control (patch, shot, ring, or pill) and half of which used condoms, the rhythm method, or other natural forms of birth control.  They discovered that while both groups had the same level of intimacy, women using hormonal birth control reported lower levels of arousal, lubrication, frequency of sex, and number of orgasms.

Hormonal forms of birth control increase the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in a woman’s body to four times its normal levels.  When SHGB increases, free testosterone, which helps power your sex drive, decreases.  Unfortunately, stopping the use of hormonal birth control does not fix this issue immediately.  In fact, studies have shown that even six months after stopping, SHBG levels remain at twice the normal levels.  For some women, the levels remain twice as high as normal for one year or more.  If you are concerned that your sex life is being impacted by your use of hormonal birth control, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately.

The Pill Can Kill Your Sex Drive

birth control pills and your sex driveApproximately thirty percent of all women in the United States suffer from a diminished sex drive, and many studies link this to the use of hormonal birth control.  A woman’s libido is largely driven by the testosterone produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands.  When testosterone is released into the bloodstream, it either remains free or binds with a protein known as serum hormone binding globulin (SHBG).  The testosterone that binds with SHBG becomes inactive, and therefore does nothing to increase libido.  When you consider the fact that hormonal birth control raises the level of SHBG in your blood, the link becomes clear. Continue reading

User Effectiveness Rates

the patch birth controlIn a recent post, we discussed the difference between the effectiveness of a birth control method versus the effectiveness of its use.  Method effectiveness is defined as the effectiveness with perfect use.  In other words, the number of unexpected pregnancies which occurred when the method was correctly and consistently used over a period of time.  On the other hand, user effectiveness, or typical use, is defined by the actual practices of the couples using the method, both correctly and incorrectly, over that same period of time, which is usually one year.

As a review, the chart below describes some common birth control methods, along with their method and user effectiveness rates, based on 2,000 users and one year of use.  For comparison, having unprotected sex with absolutely no method of birth control used results in pregnancy 85% of the time.

Birth Control Method Typical Use Failure Rate Perfect Use Failure Rate
Today contraceptive sponge 32% 20%
Diaphragm with spermicide 16% 6%
Male latex condom 15% 2%
Combined oral contraceptive pill 9% 0.3%
NuvaRing birth control ring 9% 0.3%
Birth Control Patch 8% 0.3%
Depo Provera birth control shot 3% 0.3%
Intrauterine device with copper 0.8% 0.6%

 

As you can see, the typical use failure rates for some of these methods are staggering, and much higher than the more commonly known perfect use failure rates.  The Center for Disease Control is dedicated to public awareness regarding birth control methods, and goes into great detail regarding typical use failure rates on their website.  However, many birth control users remain unaware of just how significant the difference in protection can be if you do not follow the method’s instructions to the letter.

With so much on the line, do you think that condoms and birth control medications should have the consequences of imperfect use right on the packaging in giant bold print?  Do you think more should be done to educate the public on the proper use of birth control?  We want to hear your opinion!  Please share it with us in the comments below.

Clear Skin without Hormones

photo credited to whitneysociety.com

photo credited to whitneysociety.com

In previous postings, we have discussed how doctors are very quick to prescribe birth control pills to women suffering from acne, without considering the potential for harmful side effects to the patient’s body due to the introduction of artificial hormones.  The risks of taking hormonal birth control include liver and gallbladder disease, migraines, hypertension, depression, and more.  Thankfully, clear skin can be achieved without the use of birth control pills.  Read on to learn some simple strategies for obtaining the beautiful skin you desire.

First, there are several foods which can have an impact on your skin health.  For example, Brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium, increase skin elasticity, and walnuts, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, lower skin inflammation and decrease breakouts.  Macadamia nuts contain oils and fatty acids with skin repairing properties.  Foods such as watermelon, which are rich in lycopene, reduce redness and damage caused by the sun.  Red grape skins contain a strong antioxidant known as resveratrol, which fights wrinkles, lines, and sagging caused by other environmental irritants.  On the other hand, dairy products should be avoided, as they contain cow hormones that stimulate your oil glands.

Next, make sure things that are touching your face on a regular basis are kept clean.  Makeup brushes used to apply loose powder should be washed every two to three weeks, and brushes which apply foundation should be washed once per week in a mixture of lukewarm water and gentle facial cleanser.  Additionally, you should wipe down the front of your cell phone with an antibacterial wipe a few times each day.  This will keep unwanted dirt and bacteria away from your pores.

Finally, it bears repeating that one of the most important things you can do for your skin is to wear sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection every day year-round.  This can greatly reduce your risk of a broad range of skin ailments, from wrinkles to cancer.

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/birth-control-for-acne-treatment?page=2

http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/beauty-style/skin/108/30-easy-tips-for-glowing-skin/

 

Being on the Pill Could Make You Choose a Boring Lover

Photo courtesy of FrenchTribune.com

Photo courtesy of FrenchTribune.com

It’s a common misconception that women who choose not to take hormonal birth control have boring sex lives due to the fear of pregnancy.  In actuality, with so many alternative contraceptive methods available, this is simply not the case.  However, a 2011 study revealed that things may actually be the other way around, and that taking hormonal birth control can lead women to choose boring lovers as partners.

In the study, which was published in the October 12, 2011 edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers surveyed 2,5000 heterosexual women who had one child, and asked them questions about the child’s biological father.  Approximately 1,000 participants were taking hormonal birth control, while the other 1,500 were not using hormonal contraception.  The results showed that women who were taking hormonal birth control were less sexually satisfied overall.  They found their lovers less attractive and were generally more likely to initiate a separation.

The researchers developed a theory on why this might be true.  Other studies have shown clearly that a woman’s hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, and these fluctuations actually impact the way women react to men as candidates for dating and mating.  The closer a woman is to ovulation, the more drawn she is to masculine men.  However, women on hormonal birth control do not experience these hormone fluctuations throughout the month, and are therefore more likely to be drawn to factors such a person’s financial stability, rather than to their raw physical attractiveness.

However, the results were not entirely negative.  The researchers found that women on hormonal birth control found their partner to have excellent paternal traits, such as being caring and reliable.  They also found their relationships lasted two years longer on average.

Sources:

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20111016/Women-on-birth-control-may-be-dating-sexually-boring-but-otherwise-caring-men-Study.aspx

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/10/13/8290413-women-on-the-pill-pick-boring-lovers-good-partners-study-claims

The Birth Control Pill is Impacting Your Sense of Smell

Relaxed Girl At Peace Smelling A FlowerIn previous articles, we have discussed in-depth the negative impact synthetic hormones in the birth control pill, patch, and ring can have on a woman’s body.  However, a recent study has produced a new and shocking side effect of hormonal birth control use.

In the study, researcher Salvatore Caruso, a professor in the Department of Gynecological Science at the Ospedale S. Bambino in Italy, tested the sense of smell of 60 women who were not taking the birth control pill at a variety of points in their menstrual cycles.  He found that the women’s sense of smell was most sensitive at the exact time they were most fertile, which was when they were ovulating.  The same women were then put on birth control pills for three months and retested.  Caruso discovered that the increased sense of smell previously seen during ovulation was gone.

While it is already unpleasant to know that hormonal birth control can change a natural process inherent to our enjoyment of life, the impact extends far greater than the basic results when you consider the scientific tie between smell and libido.  The areas of the brain that control ovaries and sense of smell are in close proximity to each other in the brain.  Researchers have found that some women born without a sense of smell actually experience no activity at all in their ovaries.

Furthermore, science has proven that human beings choose their partners based on pheromones.  While you might not know you are drawn to someone due to their smell, your nose is picking up receptors that tell you if the person you are with will make a good mate for conceiving, which is typically someone genetically dissimilar to yourself.  Craig Roberts, a lecturer of Psychology at the University of Newcastle, conducted a study of odor preferences across 100 women, and found those who were taking hormonal birth control were actually drawn to genetically similar mates instead.  The devastating results of this are infertility issues and a feeling of being less attracted to your mate when you stop taking the pill.  Therefore, it seems that if you have hopes of conceiving someday, hormonal birth control is not the optimal choice for you today.

 

Sources: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117158, http://www.viewzone.com/estrogen.html

Birth Control Expenses

Cost-Cutting-Pig-300x1972014 has ushered in a new era of health care for women with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which requires health plans to provide contraceptives and related services to women without a copay.  Unfortunately, this does not apply to all women, as exceptions have been made to certain grandfathered health plans, as well as group health insurance coverage sponsored by certain religious employers.  Considering the fact that 36% percent of sexually active Catholic women in America use birth control, we know that there are a vast number of U.S. women who are paying completely out of pocket to do so.  Unfortunately, the expense is overwhelming.  The chart below shows what an uninsured woman can expect to pay for birth control over her lifetime, assuming she starts usage at age 18 and discontinues usage at age 51.

Method What’s Included Lifetime Cost
IUD Doctor’s visit, device, insertion, and follow up care, every 7.5 years $8,178
Implanon Doctor’s visit, device, insertion, and removal, every 3 years $19,601
Injections Doctor’s visit, follow-up care, and four injections, every year $32, 496
Birth Control Patch Doctor’s visit and an annual supply of patches, every year $66,644
Vaginal Ring Doctor’s visit and an annual supply of rings, every year $66,644
Surgical Sterilization Doctor’s visits, surgery, and follow up care; one time cost $6,000

If you are one of the many women who do not have their birth control covered under the Affordable Care Act, you will be pleased to know a birth control method exists that is both less expensive and more natural than those mentioned above.  Lady-Comp is an intelligent fertility monitor that learns, analyzes, and indicates your fertile days with 99.3% accuracy based on your daily body temperature and data you provide.  At just $485, it is an investment that will save you thousands of dollars over time.

 

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/calculator-birth-control-expensive-really-cost

A life changed by Lady Comp…what it feels like to be natural

“I just want to say how much Lady Comp has changed my life.  Approaching my wedding back in 2011 I spent months trying pill after pill, side effect after side effect with no luck.  I felt stuck, stuck with going to have to deal with the side effects.  Like a lot of girls I didn’t know much about natural birth control methods.  I had always been fed the “you have to go on the pill” line.

After trying pill after pill I ended up on the mini pill because I couldn’t take estrogen.  The mini pill wasn’t as bad but over time I continued with side effects and they seemed to get worse every month.  I was on the mini pill for almost 2 years and frankly tired of it.  My body couldn’t handle the hormones anymore.  I had so many side effects including spotting all the time, headaches, exhaustion, complete loss of libido, anxiety, and constant dizziness.  I even got to the point where I would get sick and feel completely weird if I ate too much sugar or salty foods.  I felt like I couldn’t eat anything anymore.  I also started having random reactions that got pretty scary and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  At that point I felt like this was going to be my life forever or until I decided to have kids.

So I started searching.  I knew there had to be something else.  I wasn’t about to try anything like the nuva ring or IUD’s.  I wanted a natural option.  That’s when a friend of mine recommended the Lady Comp.  She said one of her cousins used it and loved it.  At first I was pretty skeptical and thought how could that work…  I debated it for months trying to figure out if I wanted to chance it and pay the expense to try it.

After a lot of debate I broke down and decided to get one, and it was great to have the option of making payments to pay it off!   I have to say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life!  Going off the pill was like getting back to who I was.  I lost myself being on all those hormones and being so depressed from being sick all the time.  It took a few months to get back to a normal cycle and for the Lady Comp to start being able to tell me about my cycle but once it did it worked great!

My cycle isn’t a normal cycle like most girls.  I seem to have longer cycles like 35-40 days and ovulate later than most.  I was afraid the Lady Comp wasn’t going to work for me.  But boy was I wrong!  It has been amazing to know when I ovulate and I can almost pinpoint to the day when I’m going to get my period.  Which was a huge change from being on the mini pill, I never knew when I was going to get my period and sometimes didn’t get it for 3-4 months!

Taking my temperature at the same time every day isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I keep a chart along with the Lady Comp, which is optional, but for me it’s been a great learning process.  I’ve learned more about my cycle in the last 8 months then I ever knew.  I think so many girls are led to believe that you have to be taking hormones to prevent pregnancy, but it’s just not true.

This method isn’t for everyone understandably but for many like me it’s wonderful!  If you’re trying to find a natural method and learn more about your cycle Lady Comp is the way to go.  Even though the price is a bit high it’s worth every penny.  Lady Comp gave me my life back. I was never myself on the pill and I was so glad to be rid of it.

I’ve now been using the Lady Comp for about 8 months and I absolutely love it!  I also love knowing when I ovulate so one day when my husband and I do decide to have kids it can be a big help and we have the option of switching to the Baby Comp.  The Lady Comp customer service is some of the best out there!  They are so helpful and caring!

Thank you Lady Comp for letting me get back to a healthy natural life!”

~ Brittany

Achieve Clear Skin without Hormonal Birth Control

The birth control pill is frequently prescribed to young women to control acne.  In fact, 3 brands of birth control pills- Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrosep, and YAZ- have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as acne treatments.  They work by lowering the usable testosterone in your body, which in turn decreases your skin’s ability to produce pore-clogging sebum.  While taking a pill to cure acne sounds like an easy fix, you are actually introducing synthetic hormones into your body which can have negative effects as well.  These include nausea, headaches, gallstones, breast tenderness, depression, high blood pressure, and many more.

woman washing her faceIf you are seeking a natural way to achieve clear skin, below you will find some helpful tips.

  • Wash your face in the morning, evening, and after you exercise with a cleanser that contains up to 2 percent salicylic acid.
  • Resist the urge to squeeze or pop whiteheads and blackheads.  This can cause scarring and inflammation.  Worse, the pus coming in contact with your skin can actually create more acne.  If you do pop a zit, be sure to disinfect your skin with a cleanser containing 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide afterward.
  • Acne treatments containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are considered to be the best.  However, you should understand they won’t work immediately.  Use a product for a full six weeks before deciding it is not the correct one for you.
  • Consider using a retinoid cream before you go to sleep at night.  While these formulations are commonly used for wrinkles, they can also plump up skin that is pitted from acne and help fade acne scarring.
  • Acne treatments can dry out your skin.  At least once per day, you should use an oil-free moisturizer that will hydrate the skin without clogging your pores.