Although the birth control pill was lauded as a liberating breakthrough for women when it was first introduced in the 1960s, the proverbial honeymoon was quickly over as significant health risks surfaced. Because it was convenient, affordable and effective at preventing pregnancy, the pill was embraced by many women of childbearing age. But serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke risks, depression, mood swings and panic attacks have prompted millions of women to reject the pill and opt for safer, hormone-free methods of birth control. Along with natural forms of birth control, many individuals are also embracing a holistic approach to overall women's health, and traditional Chinese medicine is quickly growing in popularity.
The health risks and side effects of birth control pills stem from the fact that birth control pills are comprised of chemically-produced hormones that are specifically engineered to prevent pregnancy by disrupting the body's natural rhythms. Most birth control pills prevent ovulation by introducing certain levels of estrogen and progesterone into the body. A strong connection exists between estrogen levels and proper brain function. Progesterone is believed to lower levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that works to improve mood and relaxation. Low serotonin levels have been directly linked to depression. In most cases, mood changes associated with the pills go away after a woman quits taking them.
Decreased libido is another common complaint among women who take the pill. Birth control pills have been shown to lower the levels of testosterone circulating in the blood. Women with low testosterone are prone to certain health problems, including a reduced sex drive. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, women using the birth control pill experience markedly decreased levels of sexual desire compared to women who do not use the pill.
Fortunately, women have options for hormone-free methods of birth control such as condoms, sponges and diaphragms that don't affect mood, libido or their general health. Condoms are particularly helpful not only in pregnancy prevention, but also in providing protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Because herpes, HIV and other diseases are so prevalent, women who are not in monogamous relationships should consider abstinence.
Talk to your holistic practitioner to determine the birth control methods that are best suited to your lifestyle. It is important to maintain an open and honest dialogue with your sexual partner regarding birth control options that are mutually acceptable. Along with a healthy sex life, it's also important to maintain a healthy diet including women's health supplements that provide all the essential vitamins and minerals in the amounts women need to maintain optimum health.
"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" was the theme for an iconic television commercial which aired in the 70s. That slogan is particularly applicable to the birth control pill controversy because anything which disrupts the body's natural rhythms is likely to have negative consequences. The unpleasant side effects associated with birth control pills are the body's way of alerting us to potentially dangerous health risks. Opt for hormone-free methods of birth control that keep your body in sync with Mother Nature.