Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Contraceptives

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Contraceptives

While I’ve primarily dedicated this website to the everyday experience of being a mama, not everyone wants a large family. Some women feel their family is complete and it’s not in their plan to become pregnant again (or at all). Here are the non-hormonal birth control options I’ve used in my own family planning.

Birth control is common these days for a variety of reasons. According to the CDC, almost 25% of women aged 15 to 49 currently use a hormonal contraceptive. These include “the pill,” a diaphragm, or intrauterine devices (IUDs). 

So it’s no surprise that I’ve gotten dozens of requests for natural birth control options. Women are constantly asking for natural alternatives to hormonal contraceptives. As an introvert, I tend to shy away from controversy. Still, I decided to tackle this head-on.

How Do Hormonal Contraceptives Work? 

I have a plethora of non-medical reasons for avoiding hormonal contraceptives. But there are some solid medical/scientific reasons to make this decision, too. Hormonal contraceptives are artificial hormone-like substances that mimic the effects of naturally-occurring hormones. According to the FDA, these contraceptives work by: 

  • Interfering with ovulation. Estrogen and progestin in the pills stop the ovaries from releasing eggs.
  • Thickening the cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from reaching the egg in the fallopian tube.
  • Disrupting the ability of the fallopian tubes to move fertilized eggs from the ovaries toward the uterus. 
  • Preventing the buildup of the uterine lining which, inhibits implantation of a fertilized egg. 

For me, the possibility that you could conceive but the fertilized egg wouldn’t implant is disturbing. It’s enough to keep me from ever wanting to use hormonal contraceptives. And there’s a long list of other reasons. But it turns out artificial hormones also damage women’s health.

(They also damage environmental health when they end up in the water supply). 

Why Avoid Hormonal Contraceptives?

There are plenty of health reasons to avoid hormonal methods of birth control. Hormonal contraceptives impact way more than your hormones. Using them can undermine your health over time or even lead to new health conditions.

May Cause Nutrient Depletion

Many medications affect how we absorb nutrients, which can cause deficiencies. Hormonal contraceptives are no different. Researchers have found these medications deplete key vitamins and minerals. This can be detrimental to reproductive health, bone health, the brain, the immune system, and more. 

A 2011 randomized controlled trial found hormonal contraceptives deplete certain nutrients. This includes vitamin B6, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These deficiencies can lead to other health problems thanks to the important role these nutrients play.

Vitamin B6 and magnesium are critical for hormone balance. The minerals zinc and selenium are crucial for the immune response. Phosphorus makes strong bones. 

Another hormonal birth control method is a transdermal patch. This method delivers synthetic estradiol directly into the bloodstream. It may cause significantly lower levels of coenzyme Q10 and alpha-tocopherol. When the body is low in these nutrients, it can lead to increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and calcification. 

Besides depleting these nutrients, the pill can also lead to an excess of copper, calcium, and iron. This can then exacerbate deficiencies in other nutrients.

May Cause Depression or Anxiety 

Depending on the type of pill and its ingredients, hormonal contraceptives can cause or worsen depression or anxiety. This seems to occur more often in those with a personal history of mood disorders or a family history of mood disorders.

May Lead to Low Libido, Sexual Dysfunction, and Infertility

While women often take hormonal contraceptives to help them enjoy sex risk-free, it doesn’t always turn out that way. The use of these pills may compromise your sexual health. A 2001 study in Human Reproduction found hormonal birth control may decrease your interest in sex.  

A 2014 study reports it may also cause issues down there that decrease pleasure. Plus, if you decide you want to have a baby down the road, it may be more difficult. 

May Cause Blood Clots

Blood clots are a significant risk of certain pills. While blood clots from taking the pill are rare, they’re a big deal because they can be fatal. Yaz and Yasmin in particular have been linked to blood clots. According to a 2011 warning by Health Canada, a woman using Yaz has a 1-½ to 3 times increased risk of blood clots compared to other birth control pills.

May Contribute to Cardiovascular Disease

Women who use low-dose oral contraceptives have double the risk of a fatal heart attack compared to those who don’t. A 1990 review found ladies who use oral contraceptives and smoke have 12 times the risk of fatal heart attacks. Their rate of fatal brain hemorrhages is three times higher.

The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology conducted a clinical trial of women with a history of migraines.  They found that those who take combined oral contraceptives have 2-4 times the risk of stroke compared to those who don’t take the pill.

May Lead to Blood Sugar Issues

A 2003 journal article found oral contraceptives may aggravate insulin resistance. This is because they decrease insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. As a result, these medications may increase your long-term risk of diabetes and heart disease.

May Increase Your Risk of Cancer 

A study by the World Health Organization tied contraceptive use to cervical cancer. Women who have HPV and have taken the pill for five to nine years have a higher cervical cancer risk. They’re nearly three times more likely than non-pill users to develop cervical cancer.

HPV affects a third of all women in their twenties. And women with HPV who have taken the pill for more than ten years are four times more likely than non-users to develop the disease.

Scandinavian researchers looked at women who use the pill after age 45. They found this age group has a 144% greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who have never used the pill. That’s 144 percent! 

With all these potential problems, are hormonal contraceptives worth it? Is it worth risking cancer to regulate your cycles and improve the look of your skin? Thankfully there are much better options!

Taking The Pill For Balanced Skin and Hormones?

Many women use hormonal contraceptives to help “balance hormones,” or “regulate their cycle.” They may even use them just to prevent acne. The problem is that this treats the symptoms but doesn’t address the root cause. The body naturally moves toward balance, so if hormones are out of whack, it’s not from a contraceptive deficiency. It’s that the body isn’t producing optimal levels of natural hormones.

Treating some symptoms of hormonal imbalance with these medications fails to fix the root of the problem. It can also lead to more significant health issues in the future. The underlying imbalance can still cause other problems in the body.

I used to have horrible acne problems! Clean eating and the oil cleansing method really helped clear up my skin. If hormone balance is the goal, check out this article to learn many ways to balance hormones naturally. 

Supplements For Hormone Balance

I’ve also found some supplements that help a lot. 

  • Maca – This hormone-balancing root has a long history of use in Peru. It can help with fertility, reduction in PMS, and better skin and hair. It can also boost male fertility. Maca is a good source of minerals and essential fatty acids so I like using it in smoothies or coffee. You shouldn’t take it during pregnancy though. 
  • Magnesium – This mineral is vital for hundreds of functions within the human body. Most of us are deficient, but there are several different ways to get magnesium. I like this magnesium powder, especially for staying regular. Ionic liquid magnesium or magnesium oil are both really good.
  • Vitamin D – A pre-hormone that supports hormone function. It’s best to get it from the sun if possible, or you can take a D3 supplement. Ideally, get your serum Vitamin D levels checked to track your levels.
  • Gelatin or Collagen – A great source of minerals and necessary amino acids. These powders support hormone production and digestive health in various ways. Gelatin powder can actually “gel.” It works well in recipes like homemade jello and probiotic marshmallows. Collagen powder doesn’t gel but easily stirs into soups, smoothies, coffee, tea, or any other food.
  • Natural Progesterone Cream – Menstrual troubles are often due to hormone imbalances, like low progesterone. Progesterone cream is especially helpful for those with short cycles. It can also help if you have a short second phase of your cycle (ovulation through the start of menses). If you do use progesterone cream, do your research. Opt for soy-free and only use it during ovulation through menses. Check with a doctor or healthcare provider before using any hormone supplement.

Which Birth Control Methods I Don’t Recommend

There are some non-hormonal birth control methods I don’t recommend. This is due to their potential toxicity, effect on the body, or potential for miscarriage. 

Birth Control Sponge

The contraceptive sponge is non-hormonal but it has chemicals. It’s made of polyurethane — a squishy plastic. Then it’s doused with a chemical called Nonoxynol-9. This chemical can irritate your vagina, increasing your risk of infection. Nonoxynol-9 is considered safe for use in personal care products in the United States. But for some reason, the European Union has banned them… 

Copper IUD

Gynecologists often recommend copper IUDs as a natural type of birth control. While they’re technically non-hormonal, copper has a major effect on hormones. Copper, when it gets out of balance with zinc, can cause all kinds of health problems. Some of these include estrogen dominance, PCOS, and breast cancer.

Tubal Ligation or Vasectomy 

Tubal ligation and vasectomies are both forms of sterilization. They’re 99% effective but can come with risks.

Women often refer to tubal ligations as “getting your tubes tied.” Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that blocks or removes a part of your fallopian tubes. It prevents eggs from your ovaries from meeting up with sperm in the fallopian tubes. That’s where they would otherwise be fertilized and implant themselves in the uterus.

A vasectomy is also a surgical procedure of blocking or removing tubes. In this case, the small tubes in a man’s scrotum are blocked or removed. The result is sperm cannot leave the body and cause a pregnancy.

Vasectomies can increase the risk of prostate cancer and autoimmune disease. And women with tubal ligations have a higher chance of dangerous ectopic pregnancies.

Any Form of Emergency Contraception

Copper IUDs are sometimes used as emergency contraception. Emergency contraception, whether it’s a Plan B pill or a copper IUD has abortion-inducing properties. While it is a non-hormonal birth control option, I don’t recommend copper IUDs as emergency birth control.

Why I Don’t Recommend Herbs For Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Some herbs can work as contraceptives, but I will not list them or recommend them for several reasons:

  • Many have abortifacient properties that can lead to early miscarriage.
  • Most also impact the body in the same way that hormonal contraceptives do. So, they can cause similar problems for the mother as well. Herbs are effective and potent, and should be used with care. It’s important to avoid certain herbs for these reasons.
  • None of the “contraceptive” herbs are 100% effective. They have side effects, and many can cause birth defects if conception does occur.

Natural Ways to Prevent or Delay Pregnancy 

Artificial hormones aren’t something I want to take. But what if balancing hormones isn’t the reason for taking hormonal contraceptives? Maybe you truly need to delay or prevent pregnancy. In that case, there are better birth control options.

The following methods of contraception are much better for your body.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control: Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Natural Family Planning (NFP) or Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) are natural methods of pregnancy prevention. But they can also help you get pregnant. They do this by focusing on natural hormonal cues.

These methods carry no side effects and help women get to know their bodies better. Some women discover problems (endometriosis, anovulation, etc.) from practicing these methods. A side benefit is that they help women be more in touch with their natural hormonal cues. 

While these methods get a bad rap, they have come a long way from the Rhythm Methods of the past. Many are now as effective as hormonal methods (and more effective than barrier methods) when used consistently. It’s non-hormonal birth control that can either delay or achieve pregnancy. So if you decide to get pregnant, you don’t have to worry about infertility, birth defects, or delayed fertility after discontinuing.

The basic concept is to use cues to predict ovulation and avoid sex when you’re fertile. These are things like basal body temperature (using a basal or BBT thermometer), mucus production, and cervical position. You can also use an ovulation calculator to find the fertile window in your menstrual cycle.

There are classes teaching how to practice these methods across the country. But for those who can’t find a class, there are websites like Fertility Friend. This free website allows users to chart their symptoms and pinpoint ovulation. There are even apps and mobile features for easy tracking.

High Tech NFP 

After one of my pregnancies, I decided to go high-tech. I used a computer to do the NFP tracking and calculation for me. Thanks to emerging technology, there are several excellent options available now (I might use all listed):

  • The Kegg fertility monitor relies on electrolyte level changes in cervical mucus so it’s more accurate than basal body thermometers alone. You can use their free app to look at your daily readings, trends, and fertility predictions. It only connects with the app via Bluetooth once it’s outside of your body, so there’s no EMF exposure.
  • You can do NFP without a computer. All you need is a simple Basal Thermometer. Then you follow the method manually.
  • Methods like ClearBlue monitors measure Luteinizing Hormones and estrogen to pinpoint ovulation. Though cheaper upfront, these require buying more ovulation strips, which you use daily. So, they can be more expensive in the long run.
  • Fertile Focus – This is a simple and inexpensive fertility detector. The basic idea is that this microscope shows changes in saliva before ovulation. By examining saliva each day, you can predict when ovulation occurs.

Check out my complete reviews of these different fertility monitors here.

Good Old Fashioned Condoms 

Male condoms are still the most popular form of non-hormonal birth control around the world. People like condoms because they’re both simple and effective and available over the counter. But they need a proper fit. To ensure a good fit, have your partner go to myONE Perfect Fit to find one that fits well. They have ten lengths, nine sizes, and 60 total options.

While condoms are a popular option based on medical information, they may not be a good option based on your faith or religious beliefs. 

Caya Diaphragm for Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Using a diaphragm is another type of hormone-free birth control to look into. It’s a reusable cup that fits inside the vagina and over the cervix. The idea is to create a barrier between the uterus and sperm.

Most diaphragms are latex, which some people have allergies to. The Caya Contoured Diaphragm is silicone. Because it’s one-size-fits-all, it doesn’t need to be fitted by your doctor. You can buy it directly online or get a prescription from your pharmacist. It’s eco-friendly and gives you the option of occasional protection. It just requires a water-based spermicide. There are natural versions like lemon juice and others.

Be aware that because diaphragms can put pressure on your urethra, they are linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

Cervical Cap

A cervical cap is similar to a diaphragm in that it fits inside the vagina and over the cervix. The one available in the United States is called FemCap® and is made of silicon. For the best performance, it should be combined with a spermicide of some kind. Again, you can use a more natural version of this non-hormonal birth control.

Withdrawal or “Pull-Out” Option

If you prefer unprotected sex, you can have your man pull out his penis before ejaculation. You have to make sure to do it correctly every time. That is likely why it has a 22% failure rate. This form of non-hormonal birth control is popular but risky. You can make it more effective by combining it with a male condom.

What do you think? Ever used natural methods for balancing hormones or delaying pregnancy? Have other suggestions? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


233 responses to “Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Contraceptives”

  1. Miri Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    Can you please do the post on using the OvaCue postpartam? I’m in the same boat as many of the woman who really lack a good option of natural bc postpartum.


  2. Lauren Avatar

    Hi, i have been on a low dose oral contraceptive for about 5 years and recently got off of them to try a more natural approach (currently trying the Natural Cycles app). Before starting the pill I used to get menstual migraines. I’ve been off of the pill for almost a month and am about to start and have been getting headaches already. Any suggestions how to deal with headaches and/or migraines due to menstration naturally? Much appreciated!

    1. Donna Avatar

      How long has it been since your last pregnancy? There is nothing like getting pregnant to give your hormones a chance to reset.

  3. Talia Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    Thanks for all this information! I wonder if you have any information about taking Maca supplements while breastfeeding?

  4. Ashley Avatar

    What about the pull out method? Do you recommend while using the methods you’ve mentioned not using pull out but allowing it to happen just avoiding intercourse during ovulation? Are there benefits of ejaculation to a woman’s body?

  5. Jodi Avatar

    I use natural progesterone since going off the pill. I was very concerned because I have endometriosis; but this has helped me a lot, and is much safer than bc pills. Progesterone doesn’t prevent pregnancy like the pill does. It really regulated my cycle and shortened it as well. Talk to your doctor, or find a medical provider who will help you switch to progesterone.

  6. Kirstin Avatar

    Great post as usual! Given the large amount of comments, I’m sure not if this was asked but I have a question. Currently I’m on the pill and am wanting to stop, however I’m very nervous about how my hormones will react to that. I’ve read the post about balancing hormones naturally and I was just wondering if those methods would help with my situation? Or if there is anything else that I could possibly do to help regulate my hormones again when I go off of it? Thank you so much for this post, once again!

  7. Erica Avatar

    Try ditching tampons first then, and wear a heavier pad. Wearing petroleum-laden products internally–as well as disrupting natural flow of blood are often implicated in cramping, infections and less-bearable periods.

    And consider more natural pad options–so many out there! Keeping ones nether regions hot and moist with plastic-coated barriers is as bad as using tampons–even those “100% cotton” rampons whose cotton is still bleached and otherwise chemically-treated.

    This would be a great initial step in improving your period experience and overall health. I was crippled by monthly pain and endometriosis until I was advised thusly, over 20 years ago. I took those steps and now use a Diva Cup with great ease–and my periods are a mere formality.

  8. Erica Avatar

    Excellent post, and a good 360 degree approach to non-hormonal BC!

    The current slate of pharma options are all marketed for mindlessness: Fewer periods! No pills to remember! Just have it de-installed when you’re ready to conceive! Methods like NFP, via the excellent slate of apps and a couple of devices, put one in touch with, and promote one’s natural rhythms. I found once I began tracking my cycle and symptomology, I could predict both my period and ovulation with wicked accuracy.

    But as an Old, I have one more tool in my BC arsenal, which is especially helpful if travel or other events disrupt my on-the-money lunar-aligned cycle: The Sponge.

    Yes, it’s full of spermicide, and is probably not biodegradeable–but it’s effective, easy to use on demand, and lets us enjoy sex more than once in a 24-hour period (in those rare moments when my husband has had his beauty sleep). When they came back on the market, I stocked up. As I’m flirting with 50, and not desirous of another pregnancy, this brings great peace of mind should my cycle become less trackable.

  9. Erica Avatar

    Hi there, I’m wondering if anyone can help here…I always used to be completely anti-pill…after I had both my kids, I noticed I felt really ‘off’ and didn’t feel very good most of the month. My anxiety was through the roof and I honestly didn’t feel that I could do the job of parenting my kids. After my first baby I didn’t take any birth control. I managed, but had SEVERE ups and downs for a good 2 weeks each month. During my PMS week I would find my husband completely annoying and irritating coupled with debilitating menstrual cramps and sometimes I would vomit because of the cramps and hormonal fluctuations. I married a truly amazing man and I really love him, but due to hormones I was horribly inconsistent. Then during my period I was so low….SO LOW. I felt so sad, depressed, etc…I basically could only count on feeling good about 2 weeks per month. I should mention that I am generally very healthy…. I eat mostly organic, little meat and I exercise regularly. I am very social, make sure to get outside for walks, etc…I’ve tried many natural remedies but I find I can’t stick to them because they throw me off.
    During my second pregnancy I felt AMAZING…so calm, collected, rational minded and able to function normally. I couldn’t believe how calm I felt. Then once the pregnancy hormones wore off I dropped again….very low. I was scared of experiencing debilitating post-partum since my family and I were moving out of town for my husband’s job, thus leaving me sort of isolated.
    I started taking BC pills and I find it really helps. I feel less anxious all the time and more ‘normal’ sort of like I felt while pregnant. I truly feel that I’ve always had a progesterone deficiency since puberty when I started having severe anxiety….and its been steadily getting worse as I age. I am opposed to taking anti-depressants, I would rather take hormonal BC pills.
    I am worried about the possibly effects if I take it long term, but it has only been 2 months since I started them…I’ve also read that there can be some benefits such as prevention of uterine and ovarian cancer…I would like to try a natural remedy one day, but I would literally need a month off from my life and kids to do nothing but take care of myself and manage my anxiety.

  10. Elizabeth Avatar

    Thanks for this post!
    I’m also strongly against hormonal contraceptives, I know they aren’t the best at all, but they work…
    I’m Jewish, and can’t use male controlled contraceptives (Judaism allows a woman the use of contraceptives for many reasons), so I used the diaphragm ( with Contragel) for almost two years before my twins.
    It was effective then, but now my twins are barely a year old ( also a suprise pregnancy, they were number 5 and 6 for me), and Now I got pregnant while using the diaphragm… I wasn’t planning on having anymore kids.
    I’m mentally, physically,… Worn out. Of course abortion isn’t an option for me.
    So just wanted to warn people who wouldn’t take abortion as an option.
    My doctor warned me back then that the diaphragm isn’t that effective once you stop nursing.
    Now I have not much options after this pregnancy but to take the pill. I’m done with having more kids.. Love them but 7 is quite enough for me personally:)
    Also wanted to point out that methods which requires temperature readings isn’t meant for hypothyroid patients like myself, because your body’s temperature isn’t reliable.
    Aside of that the Ladycomp is an amazing monitor for those who can use it.


  11. Jodi Avatar

    Thanks for this article! I’ve been searching for an alternative to the pill. I have endometriosis and the pill is standard treatment. I’ve been on continuous cycle ( no blank pills, no period) for over 6 years, after my son was born. If I have a period at all, lesions start to form and the pain begins. I had surgery a year and a half after he was born for the endometreosis. I just wish I could find a natural way to manage my condition, because life isn’t doable off the pill. I’ve been on it for 20 years altogether. I eat mostly whole foods, don’t smoke, and exercise regularly. I’m 41, so not looking to have more children ( we have 2).
    Has anyone else successfully managed endo naturally, long-term? My mom is still going through menopause in her early 60’s, so I have a way to go.

  12. Natasha Avatar

    I know this is an old article but I am just now seeing it. I feel so confused and lost if anyone reads these comments to help me out because I hate drugs so contraceptives in pill form is a no go. I also have read about the high risks of these surgeries so I have been practicing the Fertility Awareness Method for 2 years since my daughter has been born (actually more like 1 year and 10 months). And my temperatures and everything showed no way could I get pregnant but guess what? I am now 6 weeks pregnant so this method clearly did not work for me. I literally had sex 8 days before and 8 days after I ovulated so where did I go wrong? If the FAM does not work and everything else is “not good” for you then what is left? No sex? I am so frustrated 🙁

  13. Mary L Avatar

    As a mother of eight, I’ve used an IUD which passed with the birth of a baby (BTW the doc said that if I got pregnant the baby would be free…kept his word), had a tubaligation, then 11 years later a TLR, followed 11 months later with the birth of #8!

    In pondering my experience and those of the commenters, I ask myself “Really, what is the difference in a method besides side effects?” The end goal is all the same which is to prevent a pregnancy. In conclusion, our attitudes toward giving or preventing life are no different, only the method is.

  14. Ashley Avatar

    I bought the OvaCue to PREVENT pregnancy while breastfeeding. Katie, you mentioned that you have used it for this purpose. However, in the instructions, it says I must input my cycle days into the monitor. How can I accurately input my settings if I don’t have a cycle while breastfeeding?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’ll be writing a full post on this soon, but basically I created a “dummy cycle” based on my cycle before I got pregnant.

      1. Ashley Avatar

        I am anxious to read your article about this. Any idea when it will be posted? And, will you be sending it to the email list?

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar

          I don’t know how soon I’ll have it written, but probably within the next month or so. It should go out in my weekly newsletter once published.

          1. Ashley Avatar

            Okay, the sooner you can write it the better! I bought the Ovacue per your suggestion even though it was very expensive, but now I can’t even use it because they don’t give instructions for preventing pregnancy. I look forward to reading your post soon, or if you have the time, perhaps you could go into more detail here or email me personally. Thank you.

  15. Monica Avatar

    I just read your post and thank you for it. I am now past my childbearing years but used the NFP method to achieve 2 of my 4 pregnancies. When you are intimately aware of your body’s natural cycles you have much greater control over your fertility decisions than when using anything artificial. I used a copper 7 IUD and suffered incredible pain during my menstrual cycle. I also used BC pills. When the time came that we were ready to have children I was unable to conceive. We had begun the adoption process when our first was conceived. After that child was born we only used NFP and had 3 more beautiful babes.

  16. Jessica Avatar

    I’m curious, what would you use for medical instances when birth control is used to replace hormones that otherwise would not be created? I only have one ovary and birth control has made me a MUCH better person since my hormones are in balance again. But I do hate relying on a pill if there was a way to achieve this naturally. I’m just not sure if it’s possible for me though because I don’t have a case of imbalance. I’m actually missing a large component to hormone production. Thanks!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      That’s a good question…. and not one I’ve ever had any person experience with to be able to share. Is there a good naturopath in your area? I know that some doctors who specialize in bio-identical hormones have been able to address things like this naturally, I just don’t know any details…

  17. Amjo Avatar

    I’m hesitant to write this, as I have never been one to comment or ask for advice on public forums and I apologize for the length!!! However, I have been a frequent visitor to your site over the past couple of years on my journey to a healthy lifestyle and family. I am probably going to sound desperate, but that’s because at this point, I guess I am! I just started “the pill” again, after swearing it off 8 years ago, out of desperation for relief from my symptoms. Prior to that I had endometriosis, and just recently had exploratory surgery to try to find/fix the root of my current issues. I have 3 young children, and was symptom free for the past 6 years between pregnancies and breastfeeding. Since just before my youngest weaned, and increasingly, my ovulation is exetemely painful. I also have increasingly heavy periods, to the point of weakness and dizziness (sorry if TMI, but I had no idea you could lose so much). This first month back on birth control (which I have hated myself for because I don’t agree with it), I had no pain for the first time in 8 months. However, now I am day two into the “placebo” pills (even though they’re not, they’re awfully compose), and I have a debilitating migraine. I’m ready to swear off pills forever again, but terrified of the ovulation pain (lasts a week and I can’t function 2-3 of those days) and heavy period. Will the Maca help? Any other suggestions Other than the info in your hormonal article ? I do get hormonal migraines as well but it’s obviously worse on the pill. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful posts!!!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      That is so tough. I do know several women who Maca was very helpful for, and other have tried things like red clover and progesterone cream for relief. What type of menstrual products do you use? I noticed a definitely lessening in menstrual symptoms when switching to a menstrual cup and reusable pads.

      1. Amjo Avatar

        Thanks for the reply! I have been having to use disposable pads AND tampons because of the amount, even so I am fairly limited for the first 3ish days on my activities outside the home :/ I’ve actually been looking into the cup idea lately for a more natural option, just don’t know a lot about it! We have super hard water so it was hard to keep the cloth diapers clean so I can’t imagine the issue of reusable pads. I don’t have cramps much during really, which is surprising I guess, and good haha I also have an autoimmune issue so I’m not sure if that’s connected, though I know most everything is! I’m discovering more and more (through finding diagnosis and a healing journey my youngest and then other kiddos with GAPS), that I was born with horrible gut dysbiosis. So I’m about to start working on healing me now!

    2. Hana Avatar

      The IUD has worked wonderfully for me. I actually don’t get periods at all anymore. I have the mirena which does have some progesterone (much less than pills though because it is localized to the uterus rather than having to travel through the digestive tract ) but there is a hormone free copper option as well that works well for some women.

  18. Mary Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    First off, I love your blog and I find it so incredibly helpful in so many areas of life! 🙂 That being said, I have a few questions that overlap with several of your posts on Oral Contraceptives, Acne, Liver Cleansing, Detoxing, Coconut Oil Cleanses .. etc. I am 25 years old, married and have been on the pil for going on 5 years. I originally got on it because I had a horrible acne breakout and when detoxes, diets and natural routes didn’t work I tried that and it cleared it up. Granted, I still have your normal pimple here and there (more so when I get my period). However, lately I have been really wanting to get off the Pil. Although I haven’t had any real apparent side effects like others have had, I had had a few yeast infections (which can be brought on by the pil), but mainly I just want to know whats going on with my body and I don’t want to continue suppressing what is going on and what my body needs! So, a few questions and concerns,

    First, I am nervous about getting off the Pil because of how it may affect my skin and that the horrible acne will come back just like that! I have just started oil cleansing with coconut oil in the last few days and I want to see how that goes– so far it seems to be great! I am also looking into getting L-Glutamine, which I have heard you say will help with not only hormones, but skin health.. etc. Calcium Bentonite Clay is another product I plan to stat using more often (not just for skin health). Cutting out more sugars and diary out of my diet is something else I have been considering and I think would be good not only for my skin, but all around health. So here is my question and also my fear– do I get off the Pil now and then start treating acne and symptoms as they come? or do I start these natural and healthy solutions, diet changes, etc. and let me body first adjust to those before getting off the pil? I know the gut and my diet has a lot to do with my health and have been reading more about our bodies Microbiome (skin especially), and want some direction on healthy life-style changes to promote skin health.. or just overall health.

    Secondly, My husband and I are not ready for kids and so without the Pil I am planning to switch birth control methods. I’d like to start doing NFP, with possibly another bearer method like condoms or a diaphragm to help the %. I was wondering if you recommend any resources to help me jump start into NFP, as I am still new to it all? My sister used the Kindara app and she loved it, so I will probably go that route and just get a normal basal thermometer.

    Sorry that was so much information and so many questions– I have lots to learn and although I have always been quite healthy and healthy minded, I want to do more! Thanks again!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Personally, I’d start the health changes (going off sugar, supplements, etc) as soon as you can and then stop the pill as quickly as possible too. It would make sense that there could be an adjustment period, but it sounds like you are heading a lot of that off by being proactive with taking care of your skin and digestion. You may (hopefully) not experience any problems if you are already doing so many proactive things for your health. For NFP, I use the Ovacue and really like it, but I also charted for years using just a basal thermometer and liked that too. Good luck!

  19. Jennifer Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    Have you come up with the Post partum protocol tutorial you use for the OvaCue? I really want to be able to use this but am getting a little worried based on some feedback from Marquette users who’ve tried it.
    My suspicion is that they aren’t resetting for their pre-pregnancy cycle length like you did, but some detail on how you use it PP would be awesome!
    Thanks so much for all the wonderful info!

  20. Lin Avatar

    Ever heard of the Caya diaphragm? This option is amazing and has been a godsend to me for being able to have sex with peace of mind during the fertile window of my cycle. I was fitted for a diaphragm after making an appointment to get an IUD. I asked all the questions no “normal” woman ever knows to ask and the answers convinced me not to get the IUD inserted after all. The clinician was beside herself… telling me that I was trading one extremely effective method for a far inferior and far less effective method (5% less effective whoopdeedoo). I’ll get back to that later…
    Anyway, I didn’t like the possible side affects…. not to mention I knew a girl that got pregnant with twins after getting a Mirena IUD inserted, but most of all I didn’t like the antifactant nature of the IUD. I am not a militant Pro-lifer by any means, but I don’t like abortion, never have, and I absolutely could not live with the idea of how ever many of my precious little eggs being fertilized and then taken out with the trash instead of becoming my beautiful little babes… SO I quickly changed my mind and opted for the diaphragm. I was fitted (the clinician tried to talk me out of it several times and she looked at me like I had 2 heads), but she did her job and I walked out with a piece of paper that would allow me to go to the pharmacy and fill the prescription for my brand new natural cervical barrier device. Only to be extremely disappointed to find when I went to said pharmacy… That diaphragms are mythical creatures in this world that no longer exist. I was searching far and wide for a unicorn. After calling every pharmacy in the greater area of my city and surrounding cities, I had no choice but to give up and search for plan B. And by plan B, I do not mean the awful ginormous dose of hormones for when you have a mishap that ruins your day week month after taking it. I mean I was looking for a cervical cap. Now, apparently diaphragms are actually quite a but more effective than cervical caps, so this was a downgrade in my opinion, but thankfully my research brought me to the Caya diaphragm. This is a brand new version of the diaphragm that is now made with silicone and ergonomically shaped to prevent the old unsavory side effect of UTI’s that diaphragms used to cause. SO this handy little device has undergone much scrutiny and testing and is approved in Europe as a LEGIT barrier contraceptive device! YAY!!! Something beside condoms that works! The best part is that it is very flexible and its special design makes it a one size fits most. They even have a special spermicide/lubricant to use with it that doesn’t make your parts blow up like a forest fire just happened in there and even has the perfect pH to prevent vaginal infections. The spermicide which is called Caya gel or the more easily found Contragel green is also the equivalent of FDA approved in Europe and Canada, so no weird home remedies like aloe and lemon that you really just can’t be too confident it. This stuff has actually undergone clinical testing. PRAISE BE.

    So anyway, all that to say. The way it works… In my fertile window I use the Caya with the gel (I use the Contragel green) or a condom… For extra reassurance, my partner and I also use the pull out method when I am fertile and the Caya is the back-up. I feel very comfortable with this and have successfully avoided pregnancy thus far.

    My favorite part of using the diaphragm was the reaction I got from my Gyno when I told her. She gasped and laughed hysterically… She told me that when she teaches her patients about the options, she simply glazes over the diaphragm picture and says, “Nobody ever uses that anymore…” only to find that her 26-year old patient is trying to bring them back into style! LOL. She basically got a big kick out of me. I’m hoping it encourages her to check out what more is available out there outside of the unsavory options available to us from the mainstream medical community.

    So anyway, that’s my story!

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